NASCAR is back, if not back to normal.
A rain-delayed Daytona 500 was held on Sunday with 30,000 fans in attendance.
Going into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, one driver’s story keeps rising to the top. Bubba Wallace, the 27-year-old driver behind the wheel of a new No. 23 car that is owned by fellow Cup driver Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan.
Jordan called himself a lifetime NASCAR fan in a statement announcing the formation and said that his parents routinely took his family to races during his childhood in North Carolina.
“The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more,” Jordan said in the statement, adding: “I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”
This new team has got game and they’re here to win.@23XIRacing‘s Michael Jordan, @dennyhamlin and @BubbaWallace sit down with @michaelstrahan to talk about their hunt for NASCAR success.@Jumpman23 | #DAYTONA500 pic.twitter.com/diKZvsoBxp
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 14, 2021
Toyota Racing Is the Right Team
After driving for Richard Petty Motorsports the last few seasons in Fords and Chevrolets, Wallace is back in a Toyota.
To be back with Toyota this season and be a part of the Toyota Racing family means a lot to me. What they do on the track is top notch, but it goes beyond the track too. It’s really cool to be a part of things like ‘The Dream’ and their initiatives off the track that align with my own beliefs and how I want to influence the next generation.
Bubba Has No Apologies To Give
Bubba Wallace has yet to win a big race. Nevertheless, he’s stacking up dollars, thanks to his growing list of endorsement deals.
Created by Tool of North America and director Wesley Walker, this commercial for Root Insurance is a dark portrait of Wallace, punctuated by a cacophony of media questions, flashes of a noose and a Confederate flag, references to former President Trump’s tweet about him, and a raging crowd holding up “apologize” signs to express their displeasure with him and his willingness to fight their racism.
Walker says working with Wallace was a blessing, not only as a director and creative but as a fellow Black man in America today. “The brief was incredibly collaborative, and in partnering with Bubba Wallace, I was tasked with honoring the power of his story and bringing to light the grit and determination it takes to be a change agent in these uncertain times,” says Walker.
Flag It. Tag It.
An official NASCAR sign outside of the Daytona International Speedway yesterday read:
“The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors, and our industry. The display of the Confederate flag is prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”