DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — When Darrell Wallace Jr. takes the green flag for Sunday’s Daytona 500, it will mark the first time since 1969 that an African-American has been a part of ‘The Great American Race’.
That impact has been felt across the worldwide motorsports landscape, not just in Daytona Beach, and that was evidenced about four hours prior to the green flag, when four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton tweeted a message of good luck to Wallace.
Hey @BubbaWallace! Wishing you the absolute best today in your race. Smash it!! 🙌🏽 🏁
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) February 18, 2018
That wish of luck has strong roots, too, as Wallace finished third in Thursday night’s Can-Am Duel at Daytona to earn the seventh starting position for Sunday’s race, in addition to leading final practice on Saturday afternoon.
Wallace’s genuine surprise at being recognized and shouted out to by the quadruple titlist was evident in his response, as well.
WOW!!! Thanks bro, means alot! 🤘🏽 https://t.co/qiHDtujNbe
— Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) February 18, 2018
Hamilton has some ties to NASCAR in his own right, attending the 2015 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to watch friend Jeff Gordon compete in the final race of his full-time career.
The Briton has also expressed interest in dipping his toes into the NASCAR waters, saying last year he’d like to make an attempt at the Daytona 500 at some point in his racing career.
“I wouldn’t miss any of the races in F1; I’d definitely continue to do all the races,” Hamilton said. “I’d like to do MotoGP. I’d like to ride a MotoGP race. Probably a NASCAR race like the Daytona 500, maybe.”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 24-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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