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Bubba Wallace's winning YellaWood 500 car is now at Charlotte's NASCAR Hall of Fame

Bubba Wallace's winning car, currently on display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Gracyn Doctor
Bubba Wallace's winning car is currently on display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is displaying Bubba Wallace’s most recent winning race car until the beginning of August.

Last October, days before his 28th birthday, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. won the YellaWood 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. But this was more than just a first-time win at the elite level for the race car driver.

“It's the first time that an African American has won at the cup level since December of 1963, when 2015 inductee Wendell Scott won a race in Jacksonville, Florida,” said Winston Kelley, the executive director of the Hall of Fame.

Wallace is only the second Black driver to ever win in the Cup Series. He’s also currently NASCAR’s only full-time Black Cup Series driver. Wallace is known for starting a conversation within the sport around racial and social injustice and getting the Confederate flag banned at races. But he’s got a number of other serious accolades under his belt, including six NASCAR Truck Series wins.

Kelley says they were able to get Wallace’s car thanks to the extensive knowledge of their industry relations manager, Wendy Belk, who knew this would be the car’s last run because the next generation models are set to release this year.

“That would have been the last race that this superspeedway car would have been run in this generation car,” Kelley said. “Wendy knew that it would not be going back out onto the track and 23XI Racing, co-owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin, they were certainly willing to let us have it for a bit of time before it goes back into their’s and Bubba's possession.”

Wallace is the second Black driver to have memorabilia displayed at the Hall of Fame. The first was Wendell Scott. After being inducted in 2015, the Hall of Fame displayed a replica of the car Scott drove in the 1960s, along with his tools.

They might seem insignificant, but Scott’s tools were crucial to his career.

“Wendell was a master mechanic,” Kelley said. “We had a lot of his tools that (the Wendell family) loaned to us because he built his own race cars. He worked on his own race cars.”

Scott lived in a segregated South in the ’60s, meaning he wasn’t allowed to stay in hotels or eat at restaurants like his fellow drivers. Buying and rebuilding used cars with help from his two sons was his only option for competing.

A replica of Wendell Scott's race car, currently on display on Glory Road at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Gracyn Doctor
A replica of Wendell Scott's race car, currently on display on Glory Road at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Some of Scott’s equipment is still being displayed at the Hall of Fame, along with Wallace’s winning Talladega car and fire suit. This will be the second of Wallace’s winning vehicles to be showcased at the Hall of Fame, the first being his winning truck from the 2013 Camping World Truck Series in Martinsville, Virginia, his first of six Truck Series wins.

Here's more information about Wallace's exhibit, which is open through Aug. 1.

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Gracyn Doctor is a Report for America corps member who covers race and equity for WFAE.