Talladega NASCAR: Wallace takes landmark win in rain-shortened race

Bubba Wallace scored his maiden NASCAR Cup Series victory in a rain-shortened race at Talladega, becoming the first African-American to win a premier level NASCAR race since 1963.

Talladega NASCAR: Wallace takes landmark win in rain-shortened race

It was also the first win for the 23XI team co-founded by NBA legend Michael Jordan and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin for this season, while Wallace's crew chief Bootie Barker scored the first win of his career after nearly 500 races atop the box.

The 188-lap race was postponed from Sunday due to rain, but after repeated rain interruption, NASCAR was forced to bring out the red flag for good after 117 laps.

As attempts to dry the track proved futile, Wallace was declared the winner, becoming the first African-American in victory lane since Wendell Scott at Jacksonville in December 1963.

Team Penske Ford drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano scored useful points towards their Playoff tallies by finishing second and third, ahead of Kurt Busch (Ganassi Chevrolet) and another Playoff contender Christopher Bell (JGR Toyota).

Wallace hadn't featured prominently in the opening stage, which was won by Chris Buescher.

The Roush Fenway Ford driver was at the front when a caution was required following contact between Justin Allgaier and Kyle Larson, Allgaier having been unsettled by a bump from behind by William Byron and sent up the track into the helpless Larson, while Chase Briscoe was also collected.

After a lengthy pitstop for repairs to be hastily conducted, Larson suffered a right-front blow-out during the second stage which caused another caution for debris.

This caused the whole field to pit, but when it started to rain, the race was red-flagged for almost 20 minutes. 

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Toyota Camry

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Toyota Camry

Photo by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images

The race resumed on lap 76, but it wasn't long before the next incident arrived as Alex Bowman spun off the nose of Ricky Stenhouse Jr while battling for the race lead. 

Bowman slammed the outside wall and collected several drivers including Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, Martin Truex Jr and Ryan Preece were among those involved.

As the threat of rain increased, the intensity picked up still further when the race restarted, with Wallace moving to the head of the pack and defending against Keselowski and Logano behind.

The pressure on Wallace was momentarily relieved when Preece was turned into the outside wall, collecting both Byron and Matt DiBenedetto, and the caution flag was displayed.

But when the rain came down, and the race was red flagged, Wallace was assured of a landmark victory - becoming the third new winner of a remarkable weekend at Talladega after Tate Fogleman (Truck Series) and Brandon Brown (Xfinity Series) also took their maiden victories.

Talladega NASCAR results

Cla Driver Laps Time Gap
1 United States Bubba Wallace 117 2:20'03.767  
2 United States Brad Keselowski 117 2:20'04.025 0.258
3 United States Joey Logano 117 2:20'04.239 0.472
4 United States Kurt Busch 117 2:20'04.857 1.090
5 United States Christopher Bell 117 2:20'05.104 1.337
6 United States Chris Buescher 117 2:20'05.554 1.787
7 United States Denny Hamlin 117 2:20'05.571 1.804
8 United States Kevin Harvick 117 2:20'06.339 2.572
9 United States Erik Jones 117 2:20'06.340 2.573
10 Anthony Alfredo 117 2:20'06.341 2.574
11 United States Austin Dillon 117 2:20'06.675 2.908
12 United States Martin Truex Jr. 117 2:20'07.216 3.449
13 United States Cole Custer 117 2:20'07.217 3.450
14 United States Chase Briscoe 117 2:20'07.218 3.451
15 United States Ryan Blaney 117 2:20'07.345 3.578
16 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 117 2:20'07.663 3.896
17 United States Michael McDowell 117 2:20'07.664 3.897
18 United States Chase Elliott 117 2:20'07.665 3.898
19 United States Quin Houff 117 2:20'08.741 4.974
20 United States Justin Haley 117 2:20'10.439 6.672
21 United States Ryan Newman 117 2:20'10.884 7.117
22 United States Corey Lajoie 117 2:20'11.180 7.413
23 Mexico Daniel Suarez 117 2:20'11.188 7.421
24 United States Landon Cassill 117 2:20'12.289 8.522
25 United States Joey Gase 117 2:20'12.389 8.622
26 United States Aric Almirola 117 2:20'12.740 8.973
27 United States Kyle Busch 117 2:20'12.858 9.091
28 United States Cody Ware 117 2:20'13.813 10.046
29 United States Garrett Smithley 117 2:20'14.876 11.109
30 United States B.J. McLeod 117 2:20'15.205 11.438
31 United States Josh Bilicki 117 2:20'15.726 11.959
32 United States Ryan Preece 116 2:20'00.027 1 Lap
33 United States Ross Chastain 116 2:20'11.154 1 Lap
34 Australia James Davison 116 2:20'11.725 1 Lap
35 United States Matt DiBenedetto 115 2:16'59.843 2 Laps
36 United States William Byron 115 2:16'59.897 2 Laps
37 United States Kyle Larson 113 2:20'10.168 4 Laps
38 United States Alex Bowman 97 1:54'32.014 20 Laps
39 United States Tyler Reddick 97 1:54'32.545 20 Laps
40 United States Justin Allgaier 55 51'20.415 62 Laps
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Talladega NASCAR Cup race postponed until Monday

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