Black excellence has invaded NASCAR racing.

Darrell ” Bubba” Wallace Jr  carved a slice of NASCAR history Sunday night in only his fifth career start when he posted the best finish by a black driver in the Daytona 500.

Wallace was the first black driver to start the Daytona 500 since Wendell Scott in 1969. Scott was 13th in the 1966 race, the previous best finish for a black driver at Daytona.

While Austin Dillon was the winner, driving the No. 3 car on the 17th anniversary of the death of legendary Dale Earnhardt and the 20th anniversary of Dale’s only Daytona 500 victory, Wallace was clearly the star of the show.

Wallace, the son of a white father and black mother, was feted by sports royalty on his big day, and not just from his team owner, Richard Petty. Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron wished him luck on a phone call and four-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton tweeted his support.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s riding on this weekend. I know it. I pay attention to it,” Wallace said. “I follow a lot of people on social media, and it’s being put out there. But I’m doing my best at managing it, keeping it behind me, and that’s the best thing I can do.”
Not too many folks expected Wallace to come so close to winning the event. Most hoped that he would at least be competitive and find a respectable place in this inaugural 2018 NASCAR extravaganza. Wallace not only exceeded expectations, he almost won the whole thing.
Bubba will be a rock star and bring many new fans to NASCAR racing going forward in 2018.