The Root 100 - The Most Influential African Americans in 2020 - 4: Bubba Wallace

Oleg Dyachenko
·1 min read

His pinned tweet is an allow-me-to-introduce-myself moment: "There is only 1 driver from an African American background at the top level of our sport…I am the 1." Bubba Wallace's three-year rise to the NASCAR elite thrust him into the public eye, and the public's interest only escalated when he came in second at the 2018 Daytona 500, making him the highest-finishing freshman driver and Black competitor in the race's history. He wasn't looking to be an activist, but during the national outcry against police brutality this year, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate was inspired to stand against the organization's use of the Confederate flag and the hate it represents. He asked NASCAR's president to ban displays of the flag. Two days later, the announcement was made that symbols of old Dixie were no longer welcome in any form at racing events. Wallace's request drew the ire of Old South sympathizers, but he became a hero for making an overwhelmingly white sport a lot more welcoming for new fans of color.