Bubba Wallace

Bubba Wallace (American race car driver) Bio, Facts. 

Bubba Wallace

Born/Date of Birth: October 8, 1993
Place of Birth: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Nationality: American
Car no., team: No. 43 (Richard Petty Motorsports)
First win: 2013 Kroger 200 (Martinsville)
Parents: Darrell Wallace, Sr., Desiree Wallace

Achievements: Highest finishing African-American in the Daytona 500 (2nd, 2018)
Highest finishing African-American in the Brickyard 400 (3rd, 2019)
2017 U.S. Short Track Nationals Super Late Model 100 Winner (inaugural race)
First African-American to win in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (Martinsville, 2014)
Youngest driver to ever win at Franklin County Speedway (15 in 2008)
Awards: 2010 K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year
2008 UARA-Stars Rookie of the Year

Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. (born October 8, 1993) is an American professional stock car racing driver. He currently 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 African American drivers in the history of NASCAR.

Racing career
Early career
Darrell Wallace Jr. started racing in the Bandolero and Legends car racing series, as well as 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.

K&N Pro Series/Drive for Diversity
In 2010, Wallace began competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, a regional and developmental series. Wallace drove for Rev Racing as part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, and was signed as a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. He won his very first race in the series, at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, becoming the youngest driver ever to win at the track, he was also the youngest, which began as the Busch North Series in 1987. He also won later in the year at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire, on his way to finishing third in series points and winning the series' Rookie of the Year award. He was the first African American to win the Rookie of the Year award in a NASCAR series. Wallace's 2011 season would see him winning three times, at Richmond International Raceway, Columbus Motor Speedway, and Dover International Speedway, and he finished second in points to Max Gresham.

Wallace moved to race directly for Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2012 season. Racing the entire K&N East Series season along with four to six selected races in the Nationwide Series, Wallace won the second East event of the year at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, his first win with JGR.

In 2018, Bubba made his return to the K&N East Series at Watkins Glen driving the No. 27 for Jefferson-Pitts Racing to prepare him for the cup race later that weekend.

Xfinity Series
Wallace made his national series debut in the Xfinity Series in late May, driving the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota for JGR at Iowa Speedway; he ran in the top ten for most of the event, finishing 9th. After posting further top ten finishes in his next two starts in the series, Wallace won his first career Nationwide Series pole at Dover International Speedway in late September.

In 2014 he returned to the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 20, starting in May at Talladega Superspeedway where he would finish 34th after being involved in The Big One while running 13th. He ran only one more Nationwide race that year, at Daytona in July with Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign sponsoring where he would finish a strong 7th.

Following the 2014 season, it was expected that Wallace would move up to the Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing in a full-time ride, with owner Joe Gibbs claiming they would have "a big program" for the young driver. After the team struggled to find sponsorship for more than 15 races, on December 8, 2014, Wallace announced he had been granted his request to leave JGR and seek other opportunities. Later, it was reported he had signed a deal to compete in the Xfinity Series for Roush Fenway Racing for 2015 with Chad Norris as his crew chief. On December 18, 2014, RFR officially announced that they had signed Wallace to compete full-time in the No. 6 Ford Mustang in 2015, with sponsors and crew members to be announced at a later date. On January 28, 2015, at NASCAR Media Day, it was announced that Wallace would drive the No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Mustang. Wallace started the season with a 12th-place finish at Daytona and earned 14 top-tens to finish 7th in the final point standings. He was beat by Daniel Suárez for Rookie of the Year by a single top-ten finish.

Wallace finished 6th in the season opener at Daytona. He dropped to 11th in points but earned his best career finish at Dover International Speedway finishing 2nd to the dominant Erik Jones and made the inaugural Xfinity chase. He made it to the round of 8 before being eliminated after the penultimate race at Phoenix.

After finishing 33rd in the season-opening race at Daytona, Wallace finished in sixth place five consecutive times. However, at Bristol, Wallace struggled. After starting from last, Wallace was trapped a lap down throughout the race, eventually getting caught up in a late crash. Wallace would finish the race in 33rd. At Charlotte, Wallace would run up front for a majority of the race, even leading for 3 laps, but a late race pit stop relegated him behind the top ten. Wallace got loose and hit the wall with a few laps to go costing him a top ten and finishing 28th. However, despite being fourth in the Drivers' Championship standings, Roush Fenway announced that they would be suspending operations of Wallace's Xfinity Series team following the Pocono race weekend due to sponsorship issues.

Wallace signed with Biagi-DenBeste Racing to drive the No. 98 Ford at Chicagoland Speedway where he would score a 10th-place finish.

Gander Outdoors Truck Series
In February 2013, it was announced that Wallace would run a full season in the Camping World Truck Series in the No. 54 Toyota owned by Kyle Busch Motorsports. At Rockingham Speedway in April Wallace, following accidental contact with Ron Hornaday Jr., was turned by Hornaday under a caution flag, his truck hitting the outside wall. Hornaday was penalized for the contact by being sent to the rear of the field; after the race Hornaday was penalized 25 championship points and assessed a $25,000 fine, in addition to being placed on probation for the remainder of the season. The situation was compared to an incident at the 2011 WinStar World Casino 350K where Kyle Busch deliberately wrecked Hornaday at Texas Motor Speedway.

On October 26, 2013, Wallace became the first African-American driver to win in one of NASCAR's national series since 1963, winning the Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The only previous win by an African-American driver was by Wendell Scott in the Grand National Division on December 1, 1963. Wallace finished 8th in points in his rookie season.

In 2014, Wallace returned to the Camping World Truck Series full-time in the No. 54. In June, Wallace won the Drivin' for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park. Three weeks later, he battled Kyle Larson and Ron Hornaday Jr. for the win at Eldora Speedway. Wallace held off a hard charging Larson, who wrecked his car trying to catch him, and beat Hornaday by a 5.489-second margin to win the second annual Mudsummer Classic. Wallace switched to the No. 34 for the Kroger 200 at Martinsville in tribute to Wendell Scott, and led the most laps en route to his second straight victory in the race. Wallace won his final race with KBM, the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway, beating Larson again to earn his first non-short track victory. Wallace's four wins along with nine top fives and 14 top tens led to a third-place finish in points.

Wallace returned to the Camping World Truck Series at Michigan in August, driving the No. 99 Truck for MDM Motorsports, and ended up winning the race, holding off Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch who rounded out the top three. However, Wallace's truck was discovered to have had illegal vent holes, resulting in an L1-level penalty that suspended crew chief Shane Huffman for one race and penalized the No. 99 team ten points.

In May, Wallace once again returned to the Truck Series, driving the No. 20 for Young's Motorsports at Kansas. He finished 14th after running out of fuel from 5th with 4 laps to go.

In March, Wallace returned to the Truck Series for the TruNorth Global 250 at Martinsville and Vankor 350 at Texas, driving the No. 22 for AM Racing filling in for the presumably suspended Austin Wayne Self where he would finish 10th and 20th respectively.

Cup Series
On June 5, 2017, Richard Petty Motorsports announced plans to have Wallace drive the team's No. 43 Ford in place of injured Aric Almirola, making Wallace the first African-American to race in the Cup Series since Bill Lester in 2006. In qualifying for his Cup debut at the Pocono 400, he was able to advance to the second round and start 16th. During the race, Wallace suffered from speeding penalties on pit road, including one while he was serving an earlier pass-through penalty; at one point, he nearly missed his pit stall because he looked for his Xfinity pit sign instead of the No. 43. He went on to finish 26th and one lap down. After congratulating Ryan Blaney in Victory Lane, Wallace passed out and required medical attention. He later stated, "This is the third time this is happened. I get so pissed off at myself that I just pass out."

Wallace earned a career best finish of 11th at Kentucky after being involved in a last lap big one which would also be his last start in the No. 43.

After Aric Almirola announced his departure from Richard Petty Motorsports, team owner Richard Petty announced in an interview that he and the team were working on hiring Wallace as the new driver of the No. 43 in 2018. Wallace was officially introduced to the team as their new driver on October 25, 2017. He is the first African-American driver to have a full-time Cup ride since Wendell Scott in 1971.

Prior to the season-opening Daytona 500, Wallace received support from National Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton. He drove the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro to finish second behind Austin Dillon, the highest finish by a full-time rookie driver in race history, after beating Denny Hamlin to the start/finish line by .002 seconds. Wallace, however, scored only two additional top-10 finishes at the spring Texas race and the fall Phoenix race. He finished 28th place in the final point standings.

In October 2018, Wallace was named in Ebony magazine's Power 100 list, joining the ranks of Stephen Curry, Antonio Brown, Venus Williams and former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama.

Despite continuing to have mediocre finishes in the 2019 season, Wallace displayed his full potential with RPM at the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race by winning the second stage of the Monster Energy Open and finishing fifth in the All-Star Race. His other highlight of the early-to-mid summer was at Watkins Glen, when he spun Kyle Busch off the track on lap 61.

At the Brickyard 400, Wallace had one of the best runs of his career by finishing third after running top 10 all day long. He continued to show improvements to his finishes during the season, notably at Richmond, where he started 37th and finished 12th.

At the Charlotte Roval, Wallace finished 24th after Alex Bowman spun him out on lap 42 after Wallace gave Bowman the middle finger gesture on several laps. Wallace retaliated after the race by splashing water on Bowman's face. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio that officials plan to have a conversation with Wallace about the altercation. On October 5, Wallace apologized to Jeff Gordon, AMR NASCAR Safety medical director Dr. Angela, Fiege, and Hendrick Motorsports executive Jeff Andrews for getting them splashed during the incident, but stated that he does not regret what he did to Bowman.

On November 9, Wallace was fined $50,000 and docked 50 points for intentionally manipulating competition at Texas when he spun his car on the track after experiencing a tire failure. He once again finished 28th in the final points standings.

iRacing Pro Series
Wallace made headlines during the 2020 Cup Series season stoppage by quitting a nationally televised iRacing event for Cup drivers early by choice. The main sponsor on the car for that race terminated its deal with Wallace due to the voluntary exit. Wallace responded to sponsor's and fans' negative response by criticizing how easily they got offended over a video game.

In media
In 2017, Wallace voiced the character Bubba Wheelhouse in the 2017 Pixar film Cars 3.

Leading up to the 2018 Daytona 500, Wallace starred in the Facebook Watch series Behind the Wall: Bubba Wallace.

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

Wallace is best friends with fellow driver and competitor Ryan Blaney.

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 didn't know it was such a widespread problem; 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 have Petty's signature tattooed 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.

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