Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace has always shown promise on the demanding circuit. On Monday, Oct. 4 he fulfilled that promise by winning the first race of his career.
The victory came in the rain shortened YellaWood 500 Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama, and Wallace sent a message out to youths around America and the world.
“This is for all those kids out there that want to have an opportunity in whatever they want to achieve, be the best at what they do,” he said.
“You’re going to go through a lot of (things). But you always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you, stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry.
“Been plenty of times where I wanted to give up. You surround yourself with the right people, it’s moments like this that you appreciate.”
Wallace became c, at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida.
NBA Hall of Famer and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan co-owns the 23XI Racing team with driver Denny Hamlin. After establishing the team, they immediately tabbed Wallace as its lead driver.
“I'm so happy for Bubba and our entire 23XI Racing team," Jordan wrote on Twitter.
"This is a huge milestone and a historic win for us. From the day we signed him, I knew Bubba had the talent to win and Denny and I could not be more proud of him. Let's go!"
Wallace said he appreciated Jordan and Hamlin giving him the opportunity and “just so proud of everybody at 23XI.”
“I know a lot of history was made today I believe, which is really cool. But it’s about my guys, about our team, what we’ve done.”
Wallace called it “pretty damn cool” to become the first Black racer to triumph on the circuit since Scott achieved the feat 58 years ago.
“Yeah, I never think about those things. When you say it like that, it obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, friends,” he said.
Talladega also holds more than racing history for Wallace. In June 2020, a NASCAR official found a noose in the garage that Wallace was supposed to use at the track. The incident occurred shortly after NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its events, which Wallace strongly encouraged.
The FBI investigated and later determined it was not a hate crime because the noose had been there for months.
HBCU Lawsuit moves forward
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young recently denied the NCAA’s motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed by HBCU students Troyce Manassa and Austin Dasent that alleges the NCAA’s Academic Performance Program is racially discriminatory. The program was created to help improve academic performance among student-athletes and the NCAA rewards schools with high scores.
The plaintiffs argue that the APP ignores the fact that HBCUs enroll low-income, at-risk students who are disadvantaged academically because of historic discrimination.
This “perpetuates a system that punishes Black student-athletes at HBCUs,” according to the lawsuit.
The Reid Roundup
St. Louis native Howard Richards has been inducted into the University of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Richards was a second-team offensive lineman All-American in 1980 and was the 26th overall selection in the 1981 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He played six seasons with Dallas and was a part of two NFC East titles. A business owner, Richards also serves as an analyst on Mizzou Radio Network football broadcasts…Jordan-Samuels Thomas, an African American, has been named to the 2021-22 NHL and the American Hockey League officiating roster. He was hired part-time as an AHL referee in March and received an NHL contract for this season. While the 31-year-old Samuels-Thomas, 31, won’t start the season in the NHL, he is now on a path that could lead to him being a full-time NHL official…Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will likely play for another team in 2022, and he is not bashful about his respect for Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. The two had a playful exchange of smile during last week’s game, and Rodgers later tweeted, “It’s a lot of respect. I’ve had some friends play over there and the stories are very consistent with the kind of day-to-day coach that he is. I like his demeanor.”