The winner of Monday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway joined an exclusive club — and helped to scramble the playoff standings.
Bubba Wallace claimed the rain-delayed (and then rain-shortened) YellaWood 500 for his first Cup win. He also became the second Black driver to win in NASCAR’s top series, 58 years after Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott won in December 1963. Wallace is the only Black driver active in the Cup Series.
Wallace began receiving congratulations from fellow drivers on pit road after the race was red-flagged for rain with three laps to go in Stage 2. The weather — and the fact that Talladega has no lights — made a resumption unlikely. The race was already official, as it had gone past the halfway point; NASCAR tried to dry the track during the red flag, but another downpour forced it to call the race.
Below is more about Wallace’s win Monday, plus the complete results of the race:
Who won the NASCAR race today?
Bubba Wallace drove from the back of the pack to take the lead late in Stage 2, and was ahead with three laps remaining in the stage (71 laps to go overall) under caution when rain stopped the race.
Wallace created a lane on the high side of Talladega’s 2.66-mile oval to get a run on the leaders. He was leading Brad Keselowski when the yellow came out for a wreck with five to go in the stage. The red for weather followed two laps later.
Wallace last won in NASCAR in 2017, when he won his only Truck Series race that year. He gave 23XI Racing, a team co-owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan that debuted this year, its first win. Interestingly, Kurt Busch, who will be a teammate of Wallace’s in 2022 when the team expands to two cars, helped to give him a push in the draft before the stoppage.
“There’s a lot of firsts today, within our team, within our organization, and so this is really a huge team effort. I’m so proud of everybody for continuing to stick with it,” Wallace said. “It’s been a lot of up-and-down races, a lot of frustration, a lot of shouting matches, but we always regroup and come back and rally for when the green flag falls on Sunday or whether it’s a Monday like today. We go out and compete and we put everything else aside and we know what we’ve got to focus on.
“We continue to build this organization up. I’ve got Kurt coming over next year. He’s one of the drivers that came up during the rain delay. I appreciate him and his optimism, his wisdom. But we’ve just got to keep going. I’ve got to go out to the Roval — my best track? not — next week, but just go out and have some fun.
“This win didn’t put us into the playoffs or anything, but there was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I (said) earlier, if I’m taken out walking out of this room, hey, I went out as a winner, so I’m good.”
NASCAR Cup playoff standings
The Talladega playoff race is known as a wild card in which anything can happen. Monday was no exception. Not only did a non-playoff driver win (Wallace), but playoff drivers Kyle Larson, William Byron and Alex Bowman finished in the bottom five because of wrecks. Those results left Byron and Bowman at the bottom of the standings. Larson is still in good shape to advance, but his advantage over ninth-place driver Kevin Harvick is now just 22 points.
Harvick, meanwhile, is just nine points behind Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch, who are tied for seventh.
No driver advanced to the Round of 8 on Monday. Only Denny Hamlin is locked into the round heading into Sunday’s elimination race on Charlotte’s road course. He earned the berth with a win at Las Vegas in the first race of the Round of 12. The other playoff drivers would automatically advance Sunday with a win.
|5||Martin Truex Jr.||3095|
x-Clinched spot in Round of 8.
NASCAR results from Talladega
Bubba Wallace earned his first Cup Series win and the first win for 23XI Racing in its inaugural season. Wallace was holding off Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano when the race was halted for a wreck and then rain.
Kurt Busch, who will be Wallace’s teammate next year at 23XI when the team expands to two cars, finished fourth. Christopher Bell completed the top five.
The final race in the Round of 12 is the Bank of America ROVAL 400, which will be run on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course Sunday, Oct. 10 (2 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN, PRN).
|12||P-Martin Truex Jr.|
|16||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|