Some of stock car racing’s biggest stars just completed a wild weekend at Talladega Superspeedway that featured wrecks, battles with the fading light, and multiple rain-related issues. The result is that all three NASCAR series made history. The Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series all featured a first-time winner at the same track.
NASCAR issued a press release on Monday, October 4, after the rain-shortened YellaWood 500 at Talladega that marked Bubba Wallace’s first career Cup Series win. The sanctioning body noted that the driver of the No. 23 capped off a historic weekend considering that Tate Fogleman won his first Truck Series race on Saturday, October 2, while Brandon Brown won his first Xfinity Series race.
All three drivers were not eligible for playoff points entering the race weekend at Talladega, but they combined to make history at an iconic track. They all also showed that they can contend against the top drivers in their respective series while fighting for the win.
“This is for all the kids out there that want to have an opportunity and whatever they want to achieve, and be the best at what they want to do,” Wallace told NBC Sports after the race. “You’re going to go through a lot of bulls***. But you always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you. Stay strong. Stay humble. Stay hungry. Been plenty of times when I wanted to give up.”
Only 1 Race Went the Full Distance at Talladega
The historic weekend at the 2.66-mile superspeedway sparked a multitude of comments for a variety of reasons. Among them was the fact that only one of the races went the full distance. The Truck Series drivers completed all 94 schedule laps — plus five more as part of the overtime finish — before Fogleman slid across the finish line mid-wreck.
The Xfinity Series race came to an end six laps shy of the scheduled 113 due to a variety of on-track incidents. NASCAR officials had to bring the race to a stop on multiple occasions to make repairs to the SAFER barrier and clear the track, pushing the end of the race up against the approaching sunset.
Brown took the lead late in Stage 3. He led a total of eight laps and set himself up for the win, but he did not get the opportunity to fight for the checkered flag. NASCAR called the race early due to the approaching darkness and declared Brown the winner.
Denny Hamlin Responded To Comments About a ‘Fixed’ Race
The Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway sparked the most comments on social media. Many people celebrated Wallace becoming only the second Black driver to win a Cup Series race — joining Wendell Scott in 1963 — while others made comments about NASCAR “fixing” the race to give Wallace the win.
23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin responded to the comments during his post-race availability. He called the comments about a “fixed” race “silly” and explained that the rain was still heavily falling at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. NASCAR would not have had the opportunity to dry the track and finish the remaining laps before sunset.
“Ultimately I get hate tweets as well because I hired him,” Hamlin said during his post-race availability. “Those people just need to grow up, honestly, appreciate the accomplishment that the kid just had. He drove it to the front, and the caution came out. There’s not much else you can do. I was busy trying to push the 20 car as hard as I could to keep him up front. He just played the lines just right and got around us there, obviously got the win. It’s still pouring here.
“I think people just have a microscope on him because they want to be critical. They just are a hater. That’s all you can really say about it. I try to say to him, Don’t get your motivation trying to prove haters wrong. Instead get your motivation from trying to do the people that support you proud. That’s where the motivation is going to come from, is the people that are going to support you through the good times and the bad times.”