by Brian Chai
NASCAR star Bubba Wallace is no stranger to controversy.
It’s perhaps that penchant for drama that has turned the 29-year-old Wallace into something of a pro-wrestling villain in the world of NASCAR. Wherever he goes, he’s often greeted with a chorus of boos from fans of the sport.
That bubbling ugliness came to a head in North Carolina over the weekend when some of NASCAR’s biggest stars gathered at North Wilkesboro Speedway for the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race on Sunday.
Before that main event, however, there was the Tyson 250
It was a solid, if ultimately disappointing, finish for Wallace, who held a lead at one point before stumbling all the way to fifth due to worn tires.
After the event, while taking questions, Wallace was booed by fans, which prompted a reporter to ask him how he felt about that.
To his credit, he largely brushed off the negative reaction as being just a part of sports, but he did take a parting shot at the jeering fans and their pocketbooks.
“Hey, as long as you continue to live your life, judging a book by its cover, that’s who you are,” Wallace told reporters. “Don’t change it up for anybody else. That’s the biggest thing. That’s fine. I mean I finished fifth.
“I got a good payday. I’m good.”
Wallace appeared to carry some of that resentment over to Sunday.
After finishing a sterling second place in the All-Star Race, he appeared to slip a little middle finger for all of NASCAR fandom to see:
WARNING: The following video and tweets contain imagery some viewers might find offensive.
Social media quickly caught onto the brief, but seemingly deliberate, gesture from Wallace:
An incident in July 2020 saw him making a bigoted swipe at another driver’s Christian beliefs.
“People say one of the nicest guys in the garage,” Wallace said of Michael McDowell. “Can’t wait for the God-fearing text that he’s going to send me about preaching and praise and respect.
“What a joke he is.”