NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace inked a new multi-year extension with 23XI Racing a week after he finished second at Michigan International Speedway and saying “I failed everybody” in a post-race interview.
Upon exiting his car, Wallace was asked by former NASCAR Cup Series driver and NBC reporter Parker Kligerman what he was thinking before he exited the car.
Wallace responded, “Replaying everything I could have done. Took the top there on the restart. Thought I could hang with the 4. And just got to racing the 5 and the 22. The 22 did a good job of getting another Ford contract; helping a Ford win.”
Wallace continued, “All in all incredible weekend. Appreciate my team. Wish we could have got Toyota in Victory Lane. Wish we could’ve got McDonald’s back in Victory Lane. She was fast all week, man. I’ll wear this one on my heart for awhile. I failed everybody.”
Kligerman then asked what Wallace would have done anything different, “Get clear of the 5 sooner. He was doing his part putting it on my quarter there, keeping me tight, and just the side by side here allows the 4 to get away.”
“Could’ve taken the top, pushed the 4 and then it could — I could’ve been the 5 in that scenario,” he elaborated. “Just hate it. Hate it for our team. Sucks.”
He was then asked what his crew chief and car owner had to say to him, “Just great job all weekend. I mean it is a hell of a job for our team so there’s a lot of positives in this, but I’m a person that looks at the negatives more than positives. I need to change that, but I want to win so bad. And this was the best opportunity.”
In a press release, 23XI Racing announced that Wallace signed a new deal to remain the team and highlighted his importance to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in NASCAR.
First, they detailed, “23XI Racing announced today that Bubba Wallace has signed a multi-year extension to remain with the team.”
After listing his accomplishments in the NASCAR Cup Series, which includes a win at Talladega Superspeedway and winning the pole at Michigan International Speedway in 2022, they highlighted his importance to NASCAR’s diversity, equity, inclusion efforts.
The press release states, “In addition to his on-track accomplishments, Wallace has also been involved in various diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts to expand the NASCAR industry and fan base.”
“Wallace has worked on initiatives such as the Dr Pepper 23XI Speed Institute Tuition Program, Embrace Home Loans’ Wider Path Home/23XI Racing Down Payment Assistance Grant and Bubba’s Block Party, which aims to bring the excitement of NASCAR to a younger, more diverse audience,” it adds.
What 23XI Racing leaves out is Wallace’s role in promoting the noose hoax at Talladega Superspeedway back in 2020. The FBI concluded, “after a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.”
They also detailed, “The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019.”
“Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week,” they noted.
The noose was anything but a noose, it was a door pull. FBI spokesman Paul Daymond told CNN, “It’s my understanding that the rope was fashioned into a noose knot and used as a door pull.”
After the FBI concluded no crime was committed, Wallace embraced the hoax telling CNN’s Don Lemon, “I’m pissed. I’m mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity. They’re not stealing that away from me, but they’re just trying to test it.”
He later told Lemon, “It was a noose. Whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. So, it wasn’t directed at me but somebody tied a noose. That’s what I’m saying.”
Wallace also called the door pull a “despicable act of racism and hatred.” He posted to Twitter, “Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism.”
“Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone. Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate,” he said.
He concluded, “As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”
He clearly believed in a lie, promoted it, and even when it was proven false he has not apologized for it. Ironically, the lie he promulgated led to the spread of hate that he denounces.
Nevertheless, he’s been rewarded with a contract extension and 23XI Racing co-owner Hamlin commented on the contract extension saying, “Bubba was a key part of the early stages of 23XI, and I am thrilled that he will continue with the team.”
Hamlin added, “When we announced Bubba as our first driver the goal was to help him take his career to a higher level, and we have done just that. Bubba and the No. 23 team earned the organization our first win and first pole award, and with a career-best four consecutive top-10 finishes heading into Richmond this weekend, Bubba is continuing to get more competitive each week. We’re excited to see his growth as he and the team work toward achieving our goals.”
Wallace also commented saying, “It feels great to get this renewal done and to know I have a home at 23XI Racing.”
“Thanks to M.J. and Denny for continuing to believe in me. We’ve come a long way together in less than two years and we’ve checked off some major goals along the way – including the team’s first win and first pole. We know we still have work to do, both on and off the race track, but I feel good about our team and the direction we’re heading,” he added.
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