DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA — This NASCAR driver just made history for the Black community, and the press room is full of tears for it.
According to Sporting News, after 60 years of watching the Daytona 500 race, the No. 3 and No. 43 cars have constantly finished first and second in what’s known as the “Great American Race.” It’s a race with a lot of “heritage.”
Austin Dillon comes in first at Daytona, but bigger moment for NASCAR might be emergence of Bubba Wallace Jr. Comes in second. First real fruits of NASCAR’s much needed diversity program. pic.twitter.com/QpKv8QH8y7
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 18, 2018
The source reports that Austin Dillon took Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s famed No. 3 car back to victory lane with a last-lap pass Sunday.
Everyone was taken by surprise when Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. crossed the finish line in Richard Petty’s No. 43 car, via photo finish.
Sporting News states that Wallace is the first African-American driver in the Daytona 500 field since 1969. With this in mind, he was assuredly overcome with emotion after his second-place finish.
Long embrace between Bubba Wallace Jr and his mom pic.twitter.com/nL8AAZumeL
— Matt Baker (@MBakerTBTimes) February 19, 2018
Wallace’s finish was the highest for a Black driver in Daytona since 1966. During that time, the record was Wendell Scott’s 13th place finish.
The source notes that, before the race, Darren Wallace, Jr. received a phone call from both Hank Aaron and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.
During the press conference, Wallace mentioned as follows.
“That makes you feel good. It definitely pulls on your heartstrings a little bit, just to know that you’re being watched by so many greats. They’re the ones you’re looking up to and they reach out to you and that’s really cool. So, I kind of feel like that little kid that looks up to me and I respond back to them.”
History was made on Saturday as Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr won 2nd place in the Nascar Daytona 500.
Our young men love to race stolen cars in the hood and just need a positive alternative. pic.twitter.com/W1POwjAtN9
— Uncle Sal (@UncleSal07) February 20, 2018
“Thank you to the King (Petty) for giving me this opportunity putting them second-place, putting Click N’ Close in second place,” Wallace continued.
“We know how much stress this team has been through in the last three or four months just trying to get this program together.”
During #BlackHistoryMonth let’s give a shoutout to Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. He is the first black full-time NASCAR driver since Wendell Scott in 1971 and he just came in 2nd place in the company’s biggest race of the year The Daytona 500 last night. pic.twitter.com/KPWk5q4IHF
— Mr. Lee (@StephMcNasty) February 19, 2018
He’s looking forward to having several more victories under his belt in the coming races.
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[Featured Photo via Twitter]