Bubba Wallace earns maiden NASCAR win

Jenna FryerAP
Bubba Wallace has won the weather-shortened NASCAR Cup series race in Talladega.
Camera IconBubba Wallace has won the weather-shortened NASCAR Cup series race in Talladega. Credit: AP

Bubba Wallace has become just the second African American driver to win at NASCAR's top Cup Series level, cashing in on a storm that ended the race early at Talladega Superspeedway.

Wallace had driven through a crash and to the front of the field five laps before the second rain stoppage of the race.

NASCAR tried to dry the track for nearly 45 minutes, but up against sundown and the rain not showing any signs of ceasing, the race was called off after 117 of a scheduled 188 laps.

Wallace had been waiting atop his pit stand for NASCAR to make a decision and exploded in celebration with his crew when the race was called.

He is in his first season driving for 23X1 Racing - a team owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and current Cup driver Denny Hamlin.

Wallace is the first African American driver to win at NASCAR's elite Cup level since Wendell Scott in 1963 - a race where he wasn't declared the victor for several months.

NASCAR at last presented Scott's family with his trophy from that race two months ago.

Wallace broke down in tears after he'd returned to his parked No. 23 Toyota.

The car number was picked for co-owner Jordan, who wore 23 in the NBA.

"This is for all the kids out there that want to have an opportunity and whatever they want to achieve, and be the best at what they want to do," Wallace said as he choked back tears.

"You're going to go through a lot of (BS). 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 when I wanted to give up."

Brad Keselowski finished second while his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano was third.

The race was originally scheduled to be run on Sunday afternoon but heavy rain forced it to be rescheduled for 24 hours later.

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