DARRELL WALLACE JR.
Bill Lester returning to a more welcoming, diverse NASCAR
Bill Lester, one of the first Black drivers to compete in NASCAR's Truck Series, will return to competition 14 years after his last start. Lester will drive for David Gilliland Racing on Saturday, March 20, 2021, in the Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It will be the first NASCAR start for the 60-year-old since 2007. Lester will drive for David Gilliland Racing on Saturday in the Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It will be the first NASCAR start for the 60-year-old since 2007.
One year later, NASCAR reflects on a COVID-changed sport
Larson wasn't sure he'd race in NASCAR again until Rick Hendrick took a chance on a him. Last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson raced to his first NASCAR victory since he was reinstated from a nearly yearlong suspension. He was hired by Hendrick Motorsports when NASCAR said the suspension would lift at the start of this year. KEEP IT COOLLast year's spring race in Phoenix was a hot one, with temperatures pushing close to 90 degrees. ... Jason Biggs, host of “Cherries Wild” on NASCAR broadcast partner Fox, is the grand marshal.
Kyle Larson celebrates return with 1st win since suspension
LAS VEGAS – Kyle Larson wasn't sure he'd ever race again in NASCAR, and if he could, he didn't know who would even hire him. On Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson raced to his first NASCAR victory since he was reinstated from a nearly yearlong suspension. “Thanks Mr. H. for believing in me,” Larson radioed to boss Rick Hendrick after crossing the finish line. Larson is considered one of the top talents in NASCAR but won just six times in six seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing. “He got in a great car, he's a great driver and he's going to make things happen,” runner-up Brad Keselowski said.
Wallace becomes 1st Black driver to lead lap at Daytona 500
Bubba Wallace checks his helmet before the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bubba Wallace ran into trouble early and late in his first Daytona 500 driving for Michael Jordan. He still came out of NASCAR's marquee race with another milestone, becoming the first Black driver to lead a lap in the Daytona 500. Wallace dipped to the low line late in the second stage to grab the lead on lap 129 in the No. Wallace got caught up in a fiery, chaotic last lap and finished 17th in a race won by Michael McDowell. Wallace had a solid first two-thirds of the rain-delayed race at Daytona International Speedway after a tumultuous start in Jordan's debut race.
The Latest: Keselowski has no regrets about Daytona 500 end
Racers crash during the last lap in the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Latest on the Daytona 500 (all times local):12:35 a.m.Brad Keselowski has no regrets about the way he handled the final lap of the Daytona 500. ___12:15 a.m.Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 after Penske Racing teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski wrecked on the final lap. ___3:25 p.m.Derrike Cope was knocked out after only three laps, an ignominious end for the 62-year-old driver who won the 1990 Daytona 500. ___2 p.m.Bubba Wallace’s car failed inspection twice for the Daytona 500 and will have to start at the back of the field. AdWallace drives a new entry owned by NBA great Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.
Social justice at NASCAR's forefront as new season begins
Fans said they didn't want to hear about social justice, and banning the Confederate flag at racetracks would drive them from the sport forever. As a new season begins Sunday with the Daytona 500, a new era of social consciousness has enveloped the sport and NASCAR is committed for the long haul. There's not a Confederate flag to be found at the speedway. Born in Alabama but raised in North Carolina, Wallace no longer wanted to see the Confederate flag at his workplace. “There was a question at the time: Social justice, is that something a sport should do, NASCAR should do?
Wallace sends Jordan to top of scoring pylon at Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bubba Wallace sent Michael Jordan to the top of scoring pylon in the first Daytona 500 practice session for their new team and the first overall for NASCAR in more than 300 days. Wallace was selected as the driver in the first season of a new team that brought Jordan into NASCAR as a team owner. 23 Toyota for 23XI Racing, perhaps a promising sign he could be a force in the Daytona 500. NASCAR sets the front row for the Daytona 500 in Wednesday night’s qualifying session. His runner-up finish in the 2018 Daytona 500 was the best finish by a Black driver in the race.
Larson grateful for 2nd chance in NASCAR after racial slur
Larson was banished from NASCAR for all but the first month of his last season, his punishment for using a racial slur while racing online. NASCAR reinstated Larson late last year and he found a soft landing with Hendrick Motorsports, one of the top teams in motorsports. Larson made amends with fellow driver Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only Black full-time driver. When asked about his relationship with Wallace, Larson chuckled and said the two had been texting earlier Monday about gaming consoles and golf. Like Larson, Wallace has moved into better cars in 2021, and Larson believes they each have platforms to help NASCAR's diversity push.
2020 sports quiz: Brady to Bundesliga, Big Ten to Brooklyn
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, the Olympic Symbol is reinstalled after it was taken down for maintenance ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in the Odaiba section in Tokyo. Your 2020 year-end sports quiz awaits. Like much else these days, quizzes will be graded on the curve:JanuaryThe IOC sets conduct guidelines for athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. JulyThe renamed Washington Football Team might get another rebrand. ___Answers: January (b); February (a); March (b); April (a); May (c); June (b); July (c); August (a); September (a); October (b); November (b); December (c).
Athletes act: Stars rise up against racial injustice in 2020
The NBA painted “Black Lives Matter” on the courts inside their Orlando, Florida, “bubble" and social justice messages were emblazoned on the backs of jerseys. Paul met with NBA players, and they decided awareness wasn’t enough anymore. “Black Lives Matter” also was featured prominently on the league’s courts. Wallace, the only full-time Black driver at the NASCAR national level, first began speaking out against racial injustice in America in the spring. His car featured a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme.
Lamentation for sports in 2020: A year of living virally
File-This Jan. 28, 2020, file photo shows a remembrance board at a memorial for Kobe Bryant near Staples Center in Los Angeles. LeBron, on court, gives heartfelt shout,A declaration: “Mamba out.”Sports still reeling by Super Bowl,Where Patrick Mahomes takes control. Defying odds, even reason,Baseball makes it through its season,Leaving summer and into fall --Bob Gibson ’s time, October ball. Through it all, a truth emerges:Games go on while COVID surgesAnd records fall, that much is clear --Consider Tara VanDerveer. But we’ll toast, of course, don’t think twice --Take a deep breath and roll the dice.
NASCAR claims victory in finishing season during pandemic
(AP Photo/Jason Minto, File)AVONDALE, Ariz. – NASCAR will take the checkered flag on its season, one of the longest in professional sports, celebrating its ability to work through the pandemic and close its year. The season was suspended March 13 after just four of 36 races had been completed. Nobody makes any money unless NASCAR runs its races and the sport was desperate to get back to work. When the Cup champion is crowned at Phoenix Raceway, all three of NASCAR's national series will have completed their full season. “What we have done during this global pandemic is I think nothing short of remarkable,” Phelps added.
Denny Hamlin faces tough field for elusive 1st NASCAR title
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)AVONDALE, Ariz. – Denny Hamlin is 0-for-3 in championship chances, his shot at an elusive first NASCAR crown ending just short each time. Hamlin on Sunday will try to close his own career-defining season with the Cup title in NASCAR's season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Chase Elliott last week drove Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports back into the championship race for the first time since 2016. The 24-year-old is statistically enjoying his best Cup season and advanced to the final four after three previous failures. The last two times I’ve raced for championships I’ve had no regrets.”Hamlin turns 40 exactly 10 days after Sunday's title race and has matured greatly the last several seasons.
Bubba Wallace, who urged Confederate flag ban, honored
NASCAR’s only Black full-time driver didn't watch the news before this summer, one of national unrest over politics and racial justice. Wallace successfully called on NASCAR to ban the display of the Confederate Flag at races, ran a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme and became the central figure in a sport facing its own racial reckoning. He joined Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell and Matt Kaulig, owner of Xfinity Series team Kaulig Racing. Some fans railed against Wallace, who was assigned security at tracks because of threats NASCAR received against the driver. Jordan becomes the first Black majority NASCAR team owner with a Black driver.
Voting, activism replace practice, games in US sports world
“But I don’t have to agree with it.”And that’s absolutely fine, said Ish Smith, the Wizards guard who signed Pittman’s cap. “When I played, players and coaches were never — maybe not never; rarely — asked about politics and voting,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. It’s an environment that led Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, Tennessee Titans linebacker Will Compton, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace and others to proudly note they were voting for the first time. And led WNBA players Tamika Catchings and Chiney Ogwumike to sign up to be poll workers. And led Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul to join nearly 2,500 people on a march to a voting site in North Carolina.
Michael Jordan's NASCAR team partners with Gibbs, Toyota
The car will be driven by Bubba Wallace and will be a Toyota in an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. (Toyota Racing via AP)CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Michael Jordan expects to field a winning team when 23XI Racing begins NASCAR competition next season. The first move toward victory lane came Friday in a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. “My main goal for 23XI Racing is to be competitive for a championship as soon as possible,” said Jordan. “Our partnership with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing gives us the equipment, resources and expertise to do it.”JGR is the flagship Toyota team and considered one of NASCAR's top organizations.
NASCAR playoffs rained out for 3rd consecutive day at Texas
Drying trucks continue to prepare the track for a possible NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)FORT WORTH, Texas – NASCAR will make a fourth attempt to complete its playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday after persistent mist and cold temperatures continued the long delay. The resumption of the race was set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT at the Texas track. The Truck Series and Xfinity Series are scheduled for Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and both series completed racing in Texas. The bigger concern is likely the NBC production crews that must complete the Texas broadcast and then prepare Martinsville for Friday night's Truck Series race.
Slam Dunk: Jordan picks 23 for car number of new NASCAR team
Picking the car number for Michael Jordan's new NASCAR team was a slam dunk: Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 23 car when the team makes its debut next season. Jordan and Denny Hamlin announced last month they had formed a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Picking the car number for Michael Jordan's new NASCAR team was a slam dunk: Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 23 car when the team makes its debut next season.
Jones lands iconic No. 43 with Richard Petty Motorsports
43 next season for Richard Petty Motorsports, a pairing of a driver and a team both in need of fresh starts. 43 next season for Richard Petty Motorsports, a pairing of a driver and a team both in need of fresh starts. The loss of Wallace could have crippled RPM, the cash-strapped team co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty. Jones won rookie of the year in the Truck, Xfinity and Cup Series, as well as the Truck Series championship. Richard Petty took on a series of different investors beginning in 2009 for re-branded Richard Petty Motorsports, which last put the No.
Hamlin, Michael Jordan partner on NASCAR team for Wallace
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Denny Hamlin has joined Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan to form a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver, a high-profile pairing of a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level. The partnership was announced Monday night in coordinated social media posts by Jordan and Hamlin, with Wallace adding his own comment. “Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners," Jordan said in his statement. Scott's 1964 victory at the Jacksonville 200 is the only win by a Black driver in Cup history. Jordan has twice traveled to the NASCAR season finale to watch Hamlin race for the championship.
Chastain snags Ganassi Cup ride in busy NASCAR free agency
"Racing in the Cup Series with a serious contender has always been my goal, and I’m looking forward to joining what is a very strong team. Chase Briscoe began the year chasing eight victories, the number he believes will earn him a Cup ride, and he won his seventh race last weekend. Carpoff in November 2018 named Chastain the driver of a full Xfinity Series ride at Ganassi that would be sponsored by DC Solar. The sponsorship money evaporated, Ganassi shuttered the Xfinity Series team and Chastain was out of a job about six weeks before the 2019 season opener. He ran 35 Cup races, made 19 starts in the Xfinity Series and raced for the Truck Series championship for Niece Motorsports.
Suarez on the move again after parting with Gaunt Brothers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Daniel Suarez, who landed a ride two weeks before the season-opening Daytona 500, will not return to Gaunt Brothers Racing next season and is seeking a new team for the third time in three years. Gaunt Brothers said Tuesday it was a mutual decision for the Mexican driver to leave the team. “I’m extremely thankful to my entire Toyota family for everything they have done for me, especially this year," Suarez said. “I will always be grateful to them for having my back.”Suarez has struggled with Gaunt Brothers, which is in its first full season of Cup competition. His long relationship with Toyota helped Suarez get the job with Gaunt Brothers, a team that began in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2010 and the Canada-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
Wallace leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at season's end
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Bubba Wallace is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the season. NASCAR's only full-time Black driver informed RPM of his decision Thursday. This was not an easy decision as I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Petty and his family, but I believe it's time for someone else to take over the reins of the No. He has a career-best five top-10 finishes this season and is ranked a career-best 23rd in the Cup standings. He parlayed that into several sponsorship deals that have been negotiated in a way that Wallace could take them with him if he left RPM.
Jimmie Johnson proud of ending NASCAR career with 7 titles
The crash meant his racing career would end without a record-setting eighth Cup Series championship. Johnson looked like he might escape the carnage, but Logano spun into Matt Kenseth, who made a hard right into Johnsons driver-side door. Johnson and Knaus were together for all seven titles in the 48. Cliff Daniels and these guys on my team, they pour their guts out for me, Johnson said. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer with a racing career that will be hard to match, let alone top, for anyone moving forward.
Higher stakes at Daytona mean 'crazy things will happen'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Racing at Daytona International Speedway always comes with a hefty dose of drama. Nearly half the field is looking to clinch a postseason berth with a victory, including seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson. Crazy things will happen.Thats exactly what NASCAR envisioned when it moved Daytonas summertime extravaganza to the regular-season finale. Cup races at Daytona already were considered wild-card events in which just about anyone could end up in victory lane. Throw in the raised stakes, and it's sure to create an ultra-intense couple of hours on the track.
NASCAR races, Wallace says fight for racial equality goes on
NASCAR drivers don't plan to boycott Saturday night's, Aug. 29 race at Daytona International Speedway to raise awareness of social and racial injustices. NASCAR drivers do not plan to skip Saturday night's race at Daytona International Speedway to raise awareness of social and racial injustices. I can assure all of you that myself and many of my competitors are continuing to work hard with @NASCAR to continue the efforts and the fight for racial equality. "I certainly think we need to continue our discussions about social and racial injustice, and we continue to educate ourselves. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson on Friday agreed with Wallace that athletes have a right to share our opinion on social matters.
NASCAR's Kyle Larson to AP on slur: 'I was just ignorant'
Kyle Larson packed his things and left North Carolina, returning to his native California too embarrassed to show his face in public. I didn't understand the negativity and hurt that comes with that word, Larson told The Associated Press. Sanneh connected Larson with former Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Larson visited her foundation in East St. Louis. Larson also continued work he'd already been doing with the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia. He said he isn't doing what he's doing in a desperate attempt to get his job back.
Bubba Wallace, Columbia Sportswear sign sponsorship deal
Columbia Sportswear Co. on Wednesday announced a multiyear sponsorship with Wallace as a brand ambassador that will also put the company on the No. As discussions on sponsorship began, Wallace sent the company photographs of himself wearing a prized bright yellow ski jacket that was his first Columbia apparel purchase. It plans to use the deal with Wallace its first NASCAR driver and team sponsorship agreement to promote its product lines. Wallace, a six-time winner in NASCAR's Truck Series, liked the deal with Columbia because it is an authentic partnership that represents his interests. We're trying to find ways to incorporate photography while being outdoors, Wallace said.
Keselowski wins in New Hampshire for 3d win since shutdown
It feels like forever, so welcome back, guys, said Keselowski, who is in a contract year at Team Penske. It feels so weird to be racing without fans, but were glad youre here. The reigning Cup champion is a 12-time winner in New Hampshire, including three in the top series. Keselowski took the second stage, passing Hamlin on the final lap of a two-lap sprint following a series of cautions late in the stage. But Jeremy Bullins has focused on helping Keselowski win races and earn a contract extension.
Hamlin holds off Keselowski for fifth Cup victory of season
KANSAS CITY, Kan. Denny Hamlin raced to his his series-leading fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season Thursday night, passing Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and holding off Brad Keselowski to make it back-to-back victories at Kansas Speedway. Joey Logano led early before his night went sideways and took some playoff contenders with him. His problems began when a tire got loose on pit road during the first stage, sending him to the back. He was working his way forward early in the final stage when his left front tire went down, sending Logano into the outside wall. Weve had some really bad weeks, Stenhouse said.
Wallace crashed out of chance of racing for $1 million prize
BRISTOL, Tenn. Bubba Wallace was wrecked out of the qualifying race for NASCARs annual All-Star event, ruining his shot of racing for the $1 million prize. One driver advanced into the All-Star race through a fan vote and Wallace had been leading when results were last updated by NASCAR a week ago. Aric Almirola advanced by winning the first stage, William Byron for winning the second stage and Matt DiBenedetto for winning the third stage. Crowd estimates for that event have been around 10,000 spectators, but the NASCAR race would likely be the largest sporting event in the United States since March. Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. failed inspection twice and forfeited the top starting spot in the All-Star race.
Trump lashes out at NASCAR, Bubba Wallace over flag, rope
Exploiting racial tensions, Trump wrongly accused Bubba Wallace of perpetrating a hoax after one of his crew members discovered a rope shaped like a noose in a garage stall they had been assigned to. He has worn a shirt saying I Cant Breathe," raced with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme in Virginia and successfully lobbied for NASCAR's Confederate flag ban. For more than 70 years, the flag was a common and complicated sight at NASCAR races. The series first tried to ban the Confederate flag five years ago but did nothing to enforce the order. While Trump claimed NASCAR's ratings are down, they are actually up.
NASCAR races on at Indy after Johnson contracts coronavirus
Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson will miss what was supposed to be his final Brickyard 400 as he quarantines following the Friday test result. Johnson said he was disappointed and worried about the emotional impact of the positive tests on his young children. Johnson also spent a day this week in Dallara's simulator as preparation for a now-postponed Indy car test. With both races on network, we do hope fans will tune in and get to see really great racing," Penske said. And then there is Keselowski, the first Team Penske driver to give the boss a Cup Series win at his favorite race track.
NASCAR meets with minister pushing for racial equality
Greg Drumwright, a minister at the Citadel Church & Campus Ministries, helped organize a group of Black fans to attend the NASCAR race at Talladega and support driver Bubba Wallace. We want to see that the call for diversification and true equity in the sport extends beyond the banning of the Confederate flag, Drumwright said. The group was about two dozen strong but only one had been to a NASCAR race before. We were there to stand with Bubba but what we learned through the media coverage is that it seems as if were standing with NASCAR, Drumwright said. Theres a willingness to listen and engage that NASCAR has that I dont believe they were sincere about earlier, said Bill Lester, one of at least seven other Black NASCAR drivers before Wallace.
NASCAR picks up at tricky Darlington after 10-week hiatus
FILE - In this May 11, 2012, file photo, drivers take the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. NASCAR will re-fire the engines moments after mask-clad drivers climb into their cars at Darlington Raceway. (Tyler Barrick/Pool Photo via AP, File)DARLINGTON, S.C. NASCAR will not be as you remember it when racing returns at old egg-shaped Darlington Raceway. He tested at Darlington shortly before the season was suspended and determined then he was fit to race again. Busch and Hill are adding Xfinity Series races at Darlington and Charlotte, and a Truck Series race at Charlotte to their calendar. His only victory so far this season was the Truck Series race at home track Las Vegas.