Bubba Wallace shares with Dale Jr. behind scene stories from Talladega
Bubba Wallace spoke to Dale Earnhardt Jr., an analyst at NBC Sports, about some of the events of the past few days on the Talladega Superspeedway on Tuesday.
Wallace reveals his emotions before the race. Richard Petty told him to help calm his emotions before getting in the car and celebrating with the fans in his first race after the event.
Here is part of the conversation Wallace and Earnhardt had for NASCAR America at home:
Dale Jr .: What did you think when the drivers pushed you into the pit lane before the race?
Bubba Wallace: I went out with headphones to suppress the noise and the flight. Music is my escape, Dale. I forgot who came and tapped me, maybe it was (Corey) LaJoie or someone said, "Are you ready to roll?" I think some kind of emotion came through ... (This morning) I woke up and jumped up (the driver group chat) and Jimmie Johnson said 'I'll be standing next to Bubba during the anthem' and I lost it, I lost it right there. It is not the hatred that breaks me, it is the support, knowing that people support me, that you feel good, it is sure to attract your hearts.
I think that's the emotion I've been through all the time. When I got out of the car, I had a lot of emotions there and just went through everything. It's a shame to carry all that weight, but it's part of the journey. Being able to turn around and see all the drivers standing there was really cool. I don't know why I checked to see if the whole garage was there. Jimmie had spoken to me about it. He called me a few hours before the race and said that people tried and wanted to be part of it. So I got up at the door and basically looked and saw the entire garage and I lost it. I got up and almost collapsed. It looked like Atlanta again (laughs).
But man, it was really incredible to be a witness and to be part of it. It makes me proud to have a voice in NASCAR and also to be a driver and to be part of this sport, a family sport, and we all know that it is a family. As much as we fuck each other on the racetrack, I'll say word for word that I got out of the car and said I don't like half of you, but I appreciate it all (laughs). It was true proof of how big this family sport is. "
Dale Jr .: Tell me about NASCAR President Steve Phelps. Who is he for you
Bubba Wallace: He's becoming a bigger friend than he ... the president of the sanctions agency. I texted him a few weeks ago. One of the first things I said, "Hey, I see you as a friend. So if I say something that offends you, we are friends." ... I told him we have to take a big position. We had to take a big position and work for what is right. He called me right after that and we had a really good conversation about where he was and where the sport should go and where we should all go as a whole. That was pretty powerful there.
"He was very transparent with me. ... The conversation I had about what happened on Sunday was one that freaked me out because he called me and one of those where you just did something wrong, how, my mind was racing, what interview did I do the wrong thing? It was like we had to have a personal chat. He comes to the bus and comes in and he somehow has that really soft, soft voice. I said, " Hey Steve, how are you? "(He said)" Not good. "
"When he finally looked at me, he had tears in his eyes. I don't know what's going on, what he's going to say, what I'm going to do is show how much Sunday meant to him and insulted and hurt him, showed the character he is and the passion he has behind sport , but also his drivers and friends. He felt threatened that he was not respected, injured. He wouldn't let this get away and blow under the carpet. He would do everything in his power to find justice for it, and he continues to do so today and beyond. "
Dale Jr .: What is your personal support system like? Who will help you with this?
Bubba Wallace: One, Amanda, my girlfriend. She gave us great support. ... She knew how much pressure and how much I went through on Sunday during the race, everything that happened during the entire race, just the whole few days and weeks that I went through. ... She was a great support, so I love her for it. My mother, my sister and my father. They were all there. ...
"I talked to (Ryan) Blaney a lot. He was here last week and we had a good chat and talked about everything that is going on in sport and in the world, how crazy it is and what we could do to get better. I think this little little support group is above everyone, including yourself. ... It's cool to see this support. "
Dale Jr .: What was it like getting new fans into the sport?
Bubba Wallace: Man, that was really cool. I think that was a powerful moment even after the race. I was pumped for Blaney. I thought about going to the finish line and I thought this was a long way. I will wait for him to drive past. I heard the Bubba chants and looked over and saw a decent number of African Americans sitting in the stands. I thought dude, that's bad, that's great. I guarantee that this was your first race. I felt obliged to go over there, I wanted to go over there. I wanted to share this moment with you.
“They said, 'We're all the way from Atlanta, we drove here to see our first NASCAR race. 'And they were all so proud of me and proud to be there and happy to be there and it was great It was super cool to be a witness and have the interview with them in the background. It was super cool to scream and yell for support.
"I've said it in the past few weeks and I've always stood by it. I want everyone to feel welcome." When I go to a sporting event, when I go to a (Charlotte) Hornets game or a (Carolina) Panthers game, I don't feel unwelcome because I look that way. I want the same feeling for everyone who comes to a NASCAR event, who comes to a race and ... the Confederate flag was one thing that held people back, and maybe some fans' actions towards other people held people back. I'm trying to change this story and show it, hey, come out. You don't have to cheer me on. You can cheer on Ryan Blaney, whatever. … Learn more about the sport. Learn more about the strategy. Know that we just don't go in circles because we ride on ovals. We go a little straight ahead. Learn the pit stops, what it takes, the choreography of them. Learn the peculiarities of sport. Here you become addicted. "
Dale Jr .: Is racing a necessary market for you in these times?
Bubba Wallace: Definitely. I said Jimmie (Johnson) after the race, we went back to our buses. I told him man, I wish the race wouldn't end, it would be a lot of fun. Now the work begins. Races are not a job and you know that.
"(Richard Petty) The King, just before I got in, said," Well, this is your chance to hit that switch on the back of your head where we shut our brains off and go out. "He said this is the little switch you can pull off. We had been talking about it when he got on the track with him a few hours earlier. I and Brian Moffitt (CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports) were sitting there talking to each other "Drivers have this switch. Once you put the helmet on, he presses that switch and you turn it off. He said you can turn the switch off now, so have fun."
Bubba Wallace shares with Dale Jr. stories behind the scenes at Talladega that originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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