You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.

Bubba Wallace after his 'Dega milestone victory: 'To me, it's about winning races'

bubba wins 09bc.jpg

Bubba Wallace celebrates in victory lane.

Bubba Wallace said he's a bit tired from the victory tour after Monday's win at Talladega Superspeedway, his first in the Cup Series.

"Just enjoying it all," he said in a video conference with reporters Thursday afternoon. "It's a lot of work, but it's all part of it. … If we win on Sunday, I'll be glad to do it all over again."

Wallace said it's always been about winning for him.

After Monday's win, he said that not having won in four years driving in NASCAR got to him. It bothered him that his last trip to Victory Lane was a 2017 Truck Series race.

"It's not about money or anything to me," he said. "It's all about being successful, and it's as simple as that."

He never aimed to be known for off-the-track opinions and incidents. Last year in a CNN interview, he said he supported banning the Confederate Flag at NASCAR events. That made Wallace, the Cup Series' only Black driver, an unpopular figure with a segment of the racing crowd.

Shortly after the interview aired, the Cup circuit went to Talladega Superspeedway, and there were protests outside the track against the flag ban, including a plane flying overhead trailing a banner that read, "Defund NASCAR."

Then a noose was found in Wallace's garage at the superspeedway, although an FBI investigation concluded that the garage pull-down had been fashioned into a noose months earlier and was not intended for Wallace.

Still, as Wallace said, that made him a "household name."

"To me, it's about winning races and running up front and becoming a household name," he said. "I became a household name off the race track last year. With everything that went on last year, I became the biggest name in the sport."

Then with his left hand held high, he showed where his name was after the noose incident. With his right hand held low, he pointed out where he was known as a racecar driver.

Pulling his left hand up a little higher, he said, "With Monday, I brought it up to here. I'll take that. It's a big jump. But I've still got some room to go."

He added, "Just trying to be successful on the race track. It'll carry over to off the track stuff, and I'm taking it day by day."

Monday's win in the YellaWood 500 has made it easier for him.

During the video call, he said that his biggest advice for children is, "Push through the tough times because it makes moments like this much more sweet. It's super cool to be where I'm at right now, and I'm enjoying every minute of it."

He said he's been busy since the win, especially with media obligations.

"I talk so much I'm starting to lose my voice," he said. "Getting a little hoarse."

He has had some fun, however, including participating in fellow driver Corey Lajoie's Kickball Klassic on Wednesday in Kannapolis, N.C.

"I've been too busy to get on Cloud 9. I've had some humbling moments. My team lost the kickball deal yesterday," he said, pretending to be shamed. "I was brought back down very quick."

As always, it's about winning.

"I won a Cup race, so I can go be happy because I've got that on my resume," he said. "So, I'm good."

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.