Bubba Wallace emotional after Daytona 500 runner-up finish

Bubba Wallace emotional after Daytona 500 runner-up finish

For Danica Patrick, it was her final NASCAR race of her career. "The first thing he said, 'what's the first thing I told you, ' with a very stern attitude and look, and I'm like um, and he says, 'I told you not to wreck the auto", and I was like, I didn't do it.

Darrell Wallace Jr. finished second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Chris Buescher.

"You're acting like we just won the race", he said, laughing.

The driver didn't feel like a victor, but he felt like he did something he never knew he would get an opportunity to do: competing in the NASCAR Cup Series. After verbally telling himself to pull it together, Bubba continued, "I just try so hard to be successful at everything I do and my family pushes me each and every day, and they might not even know it, but I just want to make them proud, and second isn't frightful".

"They were checking his blood pressure, and I walked in and said, "What was the last thing I told you?'" Petty recalled".

Despite all the pressure for his first race on NASCAR's biggest stage, the man known as Bubba rose to the occasion, running in the front of the pack all day and eventually finishing second.

Though Confederate flags still dot the infield, Wallace said racism in all forms was nonexistent in NASCAR's developmental series. "I look up to him. I just love my family and having everybody here from my mom, my sister, my uncle, everybody here just means a lot". Wallace had a competitive vehicle and ran hard throughout Sunday's event, even contending for the race lead during the first stage. Hamlin and Wallace were side-by-side battling for second, and Hamlin ran into Wallace after the race.

Hamlin later said he was joking about the Adderall statement, but the damage was already done.

"The 3 (Dillon) knew it and the 10 (likely victor Aric Almirola until Dillon hit him) knew it, and they wanted to be up there with us. It's awesome", Wallace said during his press conference. "It just all comes with time". "It's a new team for me but we worked together for my debut for my first four races in the 43 auto". We feel that Bubba can immediately come in and compete.

"I've never done it at this level".

The only NASCAR finish by a black driver better than Wallace's second-place finish was Scott's victory in the Jacksonville 200 in 1963.

But another symbolic moment came just before the race started, when Wallace got a surprise phone call from another African-American ground breaker, baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. He ran well enough to earn the full-time ride in the No. 43 auto this year after Almirola left for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Andy Murstein, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, believed in Wallace, 24, from the start. We battled through a lot of adversity there (but) the auto was fast all day. He was in the race all day long. Then, on Lap 199, Truex was unable to avoid another multicar incident and the resulting damage required extensive time on pit road during overtime which dropped him two laps to the leaders. "This is for Dale Earnhardt Sr. and all those Senior fans".

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