Take it from a southerner from rural Alabama, of all the culturally accepted oppressive norms of the South, there are few things more unapologetically exclusionary than NASCAR culture. Drive by the Talladega Superspeedway on any given race day, and you'll find all the trimmings of your standard Trump rally, complete with an abundance of Confederate flags to rival a Civil War reenactment.
This weekend Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. will be breaking barriers and defying norms of the sport as the first black driver in a NASCAR Cup series in more than a decade. The 23-year-old Ford driver will be filling in for Aric Almirola, who was badly injured in a fiery crash in May. A fellow driver with Roush Fenway Racing, Wallace's showing on Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway will make him the first black driver to compete in NASCAR's Cup Series since Bill Lester competed in 2006.
In a statement released by Roush Fenway Racing, president Steve Newmark said, "We are very proud of Bubba and his development at Roush Fenway Racing." He went on to state, "We believe that Bubba has tremendous potential and will continue to excel in NASCAR's top series. He has been a great representative of our organization both on and off the track and we've enjoyed being part of his growth as a driver."
Congratulations, Bubba. We hope you show well this weekend!