Bubba Wallace’s parents, Darrell Wallace Sr. and Desiree Wallace, are doing their best to support the NASCAR driver during a trying few weeks. After a noose was found in Bubba’s garage, the NASCAR investigation found the rope had been there since 2019 and was not a hate crime targeted at the driver.
Bubba’s dad, Darrell Sr., admits he is worried about the pressure his son has been under as he continues to stand up for social justice issues.
“I just see how it’s weighing down on him and wearing him out,” Darrell Sr. told CBS News. “He’s having sleepless nights. I’m worried about him.”
Bubba’s Mom, Desiree, Noted That He Has Dealt With Racial Slurs Since He Started Racing
Bubba’s mom, Desiree, conducted an interview with SiriusXM’s Joe Madison prior to NASCAR releasing their findings from the investigation. Desiree explained that Bubba has had to battle racism since he first started racing.
“But you know, since Bubba started racing at 9 … this is not his first incident,” Desiree noted, per Sporting News. “He’s been involved with incidents on the track. Like if he gets into it with another driver, they’re (quick) to throw out the N-word. He’s been told he doesn’t belong here. We’ve been through all that. The thing I teach my son is, you don’t throw back at them. You just get in that race car and win.”
Bubba’s Dad on NASCAR Drivers: ‘They Had His Back’
Even if the noose was not a hate crime, Darrell Sr. does not believe it takes away from the support his son received from the other drivers. Darrell Sr. noted it was touching to see “everybody there had his back.”
“They had his back. Everybody there has his back,” Wallace explained to CBS News. “It’s a proud moment… and we’ve had to jump through a lot of hurdles and put up with a lot of stuff — from when he was nine years old, up until today.”
It was Darrell Sr.’s purchase of a motorcycle that indirectly introduced Bubba to the sport. The man who sold Darrell Sr. the bike invited him to attend a go-kart race, and Bubba became intrigued by racing.
“We went,” Bubba explained to Kentucky.com. “We were sitting there watching, and I still remember this, my Dad turns to me and said ‘Is this something you think you would like to try?’”
While Attending His Sister Brittany’s Basketball Game, Bubba Found Out His Cousin Had Been Shot by a Police Officer
Bubba’s own life experiences have played a major role in his decision to stand up for the Black Lives Matter movement and encourage inclusion within NASCAR. Bubba’s sister, Brittany, grew up playing basketball as he was learning to race.
Bubba recalled on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast Download that while he was attending one of her games as a child the family found out their cousin had been shot and killed by a police officer.
“I was running around the gym with all the other brothers and sisters there, and all of a sudden, I hear a scream — like the worst scream that you’d want to hear,” Bubba explained, per USA Today. “Not like a somebody-scared-you scream, like something bad had just happened. And I look over and I see my mom running out the door, and we had just found out my cousin had been shot and killed by a police officer. Unarmed. And so I was young. I didn’t understand it. We lost a family member. But now seeing everything come full circle, I totally get it now.”
Bubba noted that his cousin was hanging out with a group of friends outside a convenient store in Knoxville, Tennessee when the clerk felt threatened and called the police. Bubba’s cousin was unarmed but the officer shot him when he went to reach for his phone.
“And then that officer walked away, and [my cousin] went to grab his phone to call his mom because he was scared and was shot and killed from the other police officer,” Bubba said. “And it’s like all because people were having a good time, not bothering somebody but somehow, people are afraid. Why are you afraid of black people? That’s just the thing I don’t understand. Like, we’re minding our own business, we’re having a good time, and somebody’s life was taken, and it happened to my family member. And I’ve never shared that story.”