Photo by Jared C. Tilton/23XI Racing via Getty Images

Bubba Wallace: Along the Road

Taking stock of the star NASCAR driver’s story so far ahead of ESPN’s new E:60 special airing Dec. 14. entitled Fistful of Steel: The Rise of Bubba Wallace

“I am the only one, so embrace that I am Black, accept it and enjoy the journey because you are not going to stop hearing about the Black driver.”

Those are the words at the beginning of the trailer for the upcoming E:60 special about NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. Fistful of Steel: The Rise of Bubba Wallace is set to debut Dec. 14 on ESPN and will give fans a candid look inside his life that goes far beyond all the headlines simply acknowledging him as a Black NASCAR driver.

By being the sole Black driver currently competing in the NASCAR Cup series, his profile is naturally amplified. Wallace has been an outspoken advocate for racial equality and for banning the Confederate flag at NASCAR events, which the racing organization supported. The special will highlight that and the 2020 incident in which a noose was found hanging on the door of his garage at Talladega — a touchstone moment in the sport’s history.

“Treating everyone equal is not political, but when the Black guy says it’s political, oh well,” Wallace adds at the end of the trailer.

Bubba By the Numbers

Career Accomplishments

2008: UARA-Stars Rookie of the Year
2010: K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year
2018: Daytona 500 runner-up
2019: Third place at Brickyard 400
2021: Became second Black driver to win Cup series race and first in 58 years

The Personal Brand

Team: 23XI Racing (owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin)
Estimated net worth: $3 million
Clothing brand: Bubba’s Speed Shop
Endorsements: McDonalds, Beats by Dre, DoorDash, Dr. Pepper, Columbia sportswear
Charitable Foundation: Live to be Different

Wallace, 28, joined the Cup Series in 2017 and has a handful of top-five finishes. But his biggest accomplishment came this year after winning at Talladega. By finishing first in the 2021 Yellawood 500, Wallace became the first Black driver to win a Cup series race since Wendell Scott all the way back in 1963.

Wallace’s contract with 23XI is for $2.2 million, and Wallace ranks 31st in earnings among NASCAR drivers. Driving for two of the most famous men in their respective sports will most assuredly raise his profile as an athlete. 2021 was 23XI Racing’s debut in the NASCAR Cup series. Earlier this year, 23XI Racing announced five major sponsors as “founding partners” for its inaugural NASCAR Cup Series campaign in 2021. 

DoorDash, McDonald’s, Columbia Sportswear, Dr. Pepper, and Root Insurance will support Bubba Wallace and the No. 23 Toyota for 2021 and beyond.

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