Bubba Wallace finished 14th in the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday night, after the NASCAR community showed their support for the driver of the No. 43 following an incident with a noose found in his garage. Wallace is the only Black driver in the Cup Series and has been speaking out against racism and for a positive change in the sport and in the country.
Prior to Monday's Geico 500 race, the entire garage pushed Wallace's Chevrolet Camaro to the start line in solidarity with the driver and what he stands for.
The drivers took to social media in a show of support for Wallace with messages of unity and togetherness. The drivers said even though they compete on the track, they stand with Bubba always.
During the race, Wallace led for one lap with 27 to go.
As the race hit the last 20 laps, Wallace was in a good position and was looking like a contender, but lost steam, landing in 14th, only three-tenths of a second behind the winner.
Wallace's best friend on the track, Ryan Blaney, ended up taking home the win, his first of the season.
After the race, Wallace was all smiles as he held his fist in the air and made his way to the fans, many of who responded with cheers and their fists in the air as well.
Some fans were seen wearing an "I can't breathe" shirt similar to the one Wallace wore to acknowledge and raise awareness for victims of racism and police brutality.
Wallace was celebrating his best finish at Talladega but was also reflecting on the outpouring of love NASCAR and the rest of the sports world has shown him since the incident.
Wallace explained the mishaps of the race, while also discussing the off the track news that has occurred in the last two days.
With chants of "Bubba" echoing behind him he said:
"This is probably the most badass moment right here ... Man, I know I should've won that damn race. We ran out of gas. Just the stars didn't align for us completely but all in all we won today. The pre-race deal was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to witness in my life. From all the supporters, from drivers, from crew members, from everybody here, the badass fan base, thank you guys for coming out here. This is truly incredible and I'm proud to be a part of this sport."
He explained how the last few days have been for him saying, "It's been tough, it's been hell, well I shouldn't say hell, it's been hectic, carrying this weight, carrying this burden, I wouldn't really say burden either I'm proud to stand where I'm at."
"The sport is changing, the deal that happened yesterday, sorry I'm not wearing my mask, but I wanted to show whoever it was that you're not going to take away my smile and I'm gonna keep on going," he said, looking directly into the camera.
Wallace motioned to the fans saying he was proud to bring new faces to the sport, noting that those behind him were first-timers.
Looking towards the future the No. 43 driver said, "I'm still smiling, long week ahead of me, probably a couple weeks, probably a couple months ... I'll be ready for Pocono though."