It’s been a wild year for Bubba Wallace.
He played an integral role in getting Confederate flags banned from NASCAR—which is like getting air banned from lungs—and endured that whole noose fiasco all while trying to do his damn job as the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top racing series.
But while his efforts to achieve racial equality in a sport built on anything but have made headlines, his philanthropic efforts have gone largely ignored. Thankfully, NASCAR has been paying attention, and on Thursday announced that the Concord, N.C., native is a finalist for their Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award.
“This year’s finalists took on increased leadership roles in their respective communities during an unpredictable 2020,” NASCAR wrote in a statement. “Whether taking a stand for social justice, addressing the digital divide that affects low-income households or unselfishly lending a helping hand to neighbors in need, these NASCAR industry members continued their commitment to create positive change in 2020, while also enriching the quality of life for those around them.”
The Live To Be Different Foundation, led by Wallace, serves to “lift up individuals seeking a means to fulfill their potential, no matter their race, gender, disabilities or socio-economic situation.” Following Wallace’s example, its mission is to “empower the next generation to strive and achieve anything they put their mind to” while providing “disadvantaged individuals and those in need of a second chance with educational, social or other types of assistance needed to help make their dreams reality.”
Should Wallace win the award, his affiliated charity will receive $60,000. The winner of the 2020 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award will be announced during NASCAR Championship Weekend, which begins on November 6.
Between this news and the official announcement that yes, he will be driving the No. 23 car for Michael Jordan’s brand spanking new NASCAR team, 23XI Racing, Wallace is living his best life—though sadly, there’s always somebody trying to rain on your parade.
Former colleague Jason Beam, who’s designed Wallace’s helmets in the past, came for the king on Twitter after he got wind of Wallace’s decision to leave Richard Petty Motorsports in favor of Jordan’s NASCAR team. Beam also isn’t particularly fond of the fact that Wallace brought politics into the sport.
“Fuck Bubba and fuck the BLM movement,” Beam tweeted. “And fuck anyone who wants to censor opinions and let politics get in the way of business relationships 😁 you can quote me all you want, that’s my stance and has been from the get go.”
Instead of jumping through Beam’s phone and beating the brakes off his ass, Wallace continued his kept his cool—which might warrant consideration for another philanthropic award—and instead told dude to shut that shit up.
“Can usually let the BS roll off but when it’s somebody I’ve met personally and was genuinely excited to have my first few lids painted by him..hits different,” Wallace tweeted. “I ultimately left bc I just wanted a different look. No hard feelings just a personal feeling.”
Congrats on being named a finalist, Bubba. And that new Root Insurance (love the name!) ad is dope.
Keep being a catalyst for change.