Bubba Wallace: One Race In, and the Fans Come in Droves

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace finished second in the Daytona 500 on Sunday, inching by Denny Hamlin. It’s his best career Cup Series finish in five starts. Bubba experienced a gamut of emotions, which he wore on his sleeve, post race.

When Wallace entered the media center right after the race, the focus was on his second-place finish. His mother and his sister showed up there and hugged him. After that, he could hardly keep it together as he thanked everyone involved in his journey to the top, including the family he’d just seen. It was a show of emotion rarely seen in NASCAR.

However, he and Denny Hamlin had a bit of a confrontation post-race, seconds after Wallace left the media center.

Hamlin can be heard dropping the f-bomb, and Wallace clearly didn’t appreciate it. It’s hard to say who confronted who to start the conflict. It’s likely that Denny Hamlin was mad that Wallace bumped him in turn three, which cut Hamlin’s tire down. The two got locked together after they crossed the line. After the race, Bubba was clearly a bit upset with Hamlin, taking a jab at Hamlin’s comment that 70% of drivers took Adderall.

Because of all this, plus his friendship with Ryan Blaney, a twenty-four-year-old who is in his third full-time season in the Cup Series, and his first with Penske, and Wallace’s outgoing personality, he has quickly become a fan favorite in NASCAR’s premier series.

While it’s hard to say how Wallace will do on a week-to-week basis driving for the previously fledgling Richard Petty Motorsports organization, it’s a sure bet that he’ll be a fan favorite for years to come. Success on the track would certainly cement that popularity.

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