Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. has made quite the name for himself in the world of NASCAR since his debut in 2012. The North Carolina native is one of the few Black stock car racers in auto racing. In fact, Wallace is the only Black male driver in his division, the NASCAR Cup series, per the San Francisco Chronicle. The lack of diversity in NASCAR meant that there was opportunity for Wallace to educate others about his race within the sport. He called on NASCAR to remove and ban Confederate flags in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in June 2020 and has become an activist in his own right (via ESPN).
Seeing Wallace’s success on and off the track has prompted many fans to find out more about him — with some even wondering if he’s connected to racing Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace in any way. Scroll down to find out if the two racers are related.
Bubba Wallace has fun with the Rusty Wallace connections
Although Bubba Wallace Jr. and Rusty Wallace share the same last name, there’s no relation between the No. 23 driver and the former NASCAR legend. In fact, Bubba finds the fan speculation funny, even sporting t-shirts that read: “Darrell not Waltrip, Wallace not Rusty, Junior not Earnhardt,” in his Instagram posts (via The Undefeated).
Bubba does not seem to mind being linked to the elder Wallace, though, because it means that people are taking note of his success and he is happy to represent a new generation of NASCAR drivers. “I’m the only one that’s here. NASCAR is, I wouldn’t say desperate, but they’re looking for a new face,” Bubba told The Undefeated in 2018. “”They’re getting a new face behind the wheel, but it’s the same face in the stands. We have a great fan base, and they want to continue to grow that. They’re not trying to change that fan base. They want to just bring a bigger impact to the outsiders that are looking in. Because it is a fun sport.”
Bubba will keep the fun in mind when he takes another shot at getting a Cup series on Feb. 14, 2021. He was hired onto 23XI Racing — a team owned by three time Daytona 500 champion Danny Hamlin — and basketball great Michael Jordan. Bubba appreciates that there is diversity in ownership and hopes that the sport will continue to grow alongside fans, Sporting News reported.
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