It might not have been how he expected it to go down but as the rain descended upon Talladega Superspeedway, Bubba Wallace held off Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski and caught the rain at the right time to capture his first career NASCAR Cup Series win.

Wallace’s win caps off a weekend where all three series had first-time winners for the first time ever (Tate Fogelman in Trucks and Brandon Brown in Xfinity) and Wallace is the second African-American to win a premier NASCAR series race (Wendell Scott in 1963).

After rain pushed the Yellawood 500 to Monday, drivers knew throughout the day that with scattered showers in the area that the race could be called after halfway. When the cars entered Lap 94, things ratcheted up and everyone was putting themselves in position just in case it became the last lap.

That became apparent four laps after halfway when on Lap 98, the cars of Alex Bowman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Chase Elliott all got to pushing each other at the same time. That typically isn’t a good idea and Bowman got the worst of it as he was sent nose first into the wall.

In replays, Wallace came close to being collected in this wreck. Bowman was coming down on the track and was hit by Ross Chastain. Bubba was behind Chastain and Ross’ hit cleared Bowman for Wallace to slip through.

As the laps wound down on Stage Two, drivers were told that rain was coming and there was a good chance they wouldn’t finish the stage. Wallace was leading and was trying to hold off the field, which included Logano, Keselowski, and future 23XI Racing teammate Kurt Busch. With five laps to go in the stage, Ryan Preece got spun into the wall and amazingly only collected two other cars given Preece was near the front.

Wallace was leading when the caution came out and shortly after the rain came. There was a faint hope that NASCAR could dry the track but when more rain came, and the fact that it takes nearly two-and-a-half hours to dry the biggest oval in the series, NASCAR called the race and not only does Bubba have his first Cup win, it gives Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan their first Cup win as car owners.

Wallace hasn’t had the best season in 23XI’s first year as a team. After struggling for the bulk of the first half of the season, the team got a 5th place at the second Pocono race and a runner-up finish at Daytona over the summer. This time, Bubba did one spot better and he and his best friends Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott will be celebrating tonight.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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