‘Punk Kid’ Bubba Wallace once revealed what he thought of his public persona: ‘It doesn’t really matter…’

Perhaps no other NASCAR number has divided and captivated fans as much as the 29-year-old from Mobile, Alabama. Bubba Wallace has always attracted strong derision from certain sections of the fan while he has had a passionate and dedicated fan base on the other side.

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Bubba joined NASCAR as a development driver for Toyota and, later, Ford. He slowly made his way up, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, and Richard Petty Motorsports at various times.

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In 2020 he switched to Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s new 23XI Racing team to great fanfare. However, since the move, things have turned out in a way that has alienated certain sections of the fan.

The hatred was due in part to his anti-apartheid drives. For example, Bubba rallied the top officials of NASCAR against allowing Confederate flags in NASCAR races. He succeeded in stopping them.

Other similar actions have painted him in an unpleasant light, but for Bubba this is not so important. With that in mind, it makes sense to go back to his interview back in 2016. Speaking to Jeff Gluck, he asked, “What do you think of your reputation – and is that reputation accurate?”

Uninterested Bubba replied, Who do you know? (Laughs) Hell, some people think I’m a punk kid. I get respect from other people. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what other people think. You’re out there running your own race and want to run everyone as cleanly as possible. I’m sarcastic. , So maybe some people will think I’m (an idiot). But I try to be friendly with everyone.”

Bubba has weathered a fair amount of criticism, both deserved and undeserved, in his meteoric career. To see him respond with such maturity, even when he was only 23 years old, indicates the potential for a great future for him in NASCAR.

Bubba Wallace desperately needs support from other drivers

Since that interview in 2016, Bubba’s problems with fans have only worsened. Part of that is due to his support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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legend and close friend of Bubba’s, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in an interview in 2020 “…he makes himself heard and he says so many powerful things. I am so grateful to Bubba because without him we might not have that leadership, we might not have that direction and the opportunity to understand and the opportunity to listen…”

“Everywhere I’ve seen Bubba in the media talking about what’s going on in our country. He’s also had a lot of conversations with others in our industry which I think has really helped Bubba and the other drivers.”

“To understand what Bubba is and what his life really is like. I feel so grateful to Bubba for being so strong to be able to carry this burden on his own strength that he shouldn’t have to. He’s the only black driver in the Cup Series… carrying an incredibly heavy load.” Believe “.

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WATCH THIS STORY: A NASCAR World in Disbelief Over Race Brawl Amid Bubba Wallace-Kyle Larson’s The Cloud Over Driver Behavior

If NASCAR is to aim for its inclusive goals, it needs to listen to stakeholders like Bubba; And he needs to listen closely.

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