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Fri, 01.08.1993

Bubba Wallace Jr., NASCAR Driver born

Bubba Wallace Jr.

*"Bubba" Wallace was born on this date in 1993.  He is a Black professional stock car racing driver.  

The son of Darrell Wallace Sr. and Desiree Wallace, he was born in Mobile, Alabama, and grew up in Concord, North Carolina. His father is the owner of an industrial cleaning company. His mother is a social worker who ran track at the University of Tennessee.   

Wallace Jr. started racing in the Bandolero and Legends car racing series and local late model events at the age of nine. In 2005, he won 35 of the Bandolero Series' 48 races held that year; in 2008, he became the youngest driver to win at Franklin County Speedway in Virginia. He competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Richard Petty Motorsports. Previously, Wallace was signed as a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, where Wallace competed in the Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 54 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

He also raced in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 6 Ford Mustang of Roush Fenway Racing from 2015 to mid-2017. Wallace is noted for being one of the most successful Black drivers in the history of NASCAR.  In 2019, Wallace revealed that he dealt with and continues to deal with depression for most of his racing career. After others reached out to him to thank him for bringing awareness to depression, Wallace said he did not know it was such a widespread issue; for him, being depressed was an honest answer to a media question.  

On July 23, 2019, Wallace posted photos of Richard Petty autographing his left forearm. He vowed to tattoo Petty's signature if the photos were retweeted 43,000 times. The goal was made by the morning of July 25. Less than a month later, Wallace had Petty's signature tattooed on the back of his right thigh.

After the death of George Floyd in May 2020 at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Wallace began to speak up about the issue of abuse of Blacks by the police, becoming the face of stock car racing's involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement. On that following June 8, he called on NASCAR to mandate banning displays of the Confederate flag, which it had tried unsuccessfully in 2015 at the request of its fans. On June 10, such a ban was announced by the association. For the 2020 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville, Wallace ran a special paint scheme to honor Black Lives Matter. The car featured an illustration of black and white hands interlocking together on the hood, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on the side, and the phrase "Compassion, Love, Understanding" on both the hood and the back bumper.

Richard Petty, the owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, contributed to the livery by adding a peace symbol on the car's rear quarter panel that features hands of all colors circling inside the peace symbol. The livery was made after Richard Petty Motorsports failed to secure a primary sponsorship for the race, with the team later suggesting the idea to run an all-Black car to honor the movement to Wallace. Wallace finished 11th after securing top-ten finishes in both stages, his career-best at Martinsville in the Cup Series.

On October 4, 2021, Wallace made history, becoming just the second Black driver to win NASCAR's Cup Series race, the association's top series. This was at Talladega, where a hangman's noose was found in his pit garage a year earlier. "It should come here in Talladega," he said. After the race, Wallace thanked his team and the owners, Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin, for the opportunity.

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