(MRN.com) An opportune caution and a sudden rain shower helped make Bubba Wallace the second Black driver ever to win a NASCAR Cup Series race.
Wallace held the lead in Monday’s rain-delayed YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway when Ryan Preece turned into the outside wall off the bumper of Chris Buescher’s Ford to cause the fifth caution of the event.
As the cars circled under the yellow, rain drenched the 2.66-mile-long race track. NASCAR brought the cars to pit road on Lap 118 of a scheduled 188. After another shower thwarted track-drying attempts, NASCAR called the race and declared Wallace the winner.
Wallace is the first Black driver to win a race in NASCAR’s premier series since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott took the checkered flag at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 1, 1963.
It was the first victory for 23XI Racing, a team that debuted this year with driver Denny Hamlin and Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan as co-owners. Drivers outside the respective Playoffs won all three Talladega races in NASCAR’s top three divisions this week. All were first-time winners, a historic first.
Wallace’s victory came at the same track where the sport came together to support him after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and after a noose — later found not to be directed at Wallace — was discovered in his garage stall.
Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano improved their chances of transferring into the Round of 8 in the Playoffs with second-and third-place finishes. Kurt Busch was fourth, followed by Christopher Bell, Chris Buescher, Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.
For more on Bubba’s historic day, follow this link.