Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr. on finishing 2nd at Daytona 500 and driving for legendary Richard Petty

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Darrell 'Bubba' Wallace Jr. joins Shannon Sharpe, Skip Bayless and Joy Taylor on Undisputed to discuss his NASCAR career, finishing 2nd at the Daytona 500 and what it's like driving for Richard Petty.

- Hello, Wallace. Welcome to "Undisputed."

- Hmm, thank you. I appreciate it. How are you guys?

- Good to have you.

- Thanks for coming on with us.

- Were you surprised by how well you did at Daytona?

- No. I mean, I should be ready for it. I shouldn't be surprise, but I think it really went really well. To be able to finish second in my first Daytona 500, it just-- it really goes back to everybody at the shop and at RPM to give me this opportunity to build a car how we needed it. One spot short. The King was not too happy about that, but at the end of the day, he was pretty pumped up finishing second.

- The King is Richard Petty?

- Yes, sir.

- When you're late in that race, you're like, I got the chance to win this. What's going through your mind? How do you try to get in position to try and ultimately win the race?

- The hardest thing about those races is, no matter if it's, you know, 10 laps to go or the last lap, it still takes forever to get back around and the wrecks happened pretty quick, so the whole time I was just telling myself, you know, stay focused. Try not to wreck. Don't make any dumb, bold moves, and one spot short, like I said. So to be able to do that and to keep the car clean pretty much all race long-- dodged a couple wrecks-- is-- I guess we had the good graces on our side that day. So for going there and getting to experience it all, it was definitely a whirlwind of a week.

- You were the first African-American full time driver since Wendell Scott in the early '70s, and NASCAR has made a concerted effort to try to get the diversity program up, so how did you get into NASCAR and how does diversity work?

- Yeah, so I started racing when I was nine years old. Had no dreams of being here today talking to you guys. Just trying to-- being competitive and racing each and every level. I spent about two years in every series and moved our way up, and next thing you know, one door led to another, and we were knocking on the door for a NASCAR ride in the K&N series, and signed on with Joe Gibbs Racing, and we were trying to figure out what was next, and the diversity program came about. And we had two great years with that, so NASCAR is really dumping a lot of effort into getting that program to where it needs to be to give, you know, minorities a chance in the sport to let them showcase what their talents are, and we were able to do that. You know, win five races, I believe it was. Second, third in the points. So, we were pretty excited about that, and so without that, you know, we did a lot of off track stuff that, you know, gave us the big publicity boost, so you know, I think without that I wouldn't be here today. And just see where it's come-- or where it was there and to where it has come now, is something special.

- So your mom ran track at Tennessee, so how much were you pulled toward conventional sports?

- Oh, a lot. Huge college football fan, and definitely with March Madness coming up, and you know, we're actually doing pretty good this year, so it's good to see that. Come up just a little bit short against Kentucky last weekend, so that was a bummer, but-- but yeah. I'm a fan of all sports.

- You-- you was born in Moville. You moved to Concord. Did you moved to Concord? Because North Carolina is NASCAR capital. Is that the reason why you moved to Concord?

- No, it wasn't. My dad's business of industrial cleaning had began to grow, and so he moved up to Concord before we did, and we moved in later. And it wasn't until seven years later we moved to a new house, new school. Started all over. He had bought a Harley Davidson, and the guy who owned the bike shop to help him fix it up and everything, he raced go karts, and he invited us out to come out and watch. Next thing you know, we went out and bought a go kart and went racing.

- Now, I don't know-- did you know that when you moved to Concord, Concord is about 30 miles away from Morrisville. Morrisville is where Dale Earnhardt Sr.-- rest his soul-- that's where he lived. Did you know that at the time of you moving there?

- I did not. I did not know that at all, and you know, now that I live-- I'm five minutes away from D, his old race shop, so before all that, no idea. Now I know the history, of course.

- So back to Daytona. Denny Hamlin got so upset with you after that race that he said he's not going to let you play in his basketball league anymore, and then you pulled yourself out of his golf league. So go back to what-- break it down for us. How do you-- in your view, what transpired between the two of you.

- Yeah, no, we were just super competitive, and we ended up-- I ended up-- we both ended up having torn up race cars right there at the finish, and I believe-- I guess I cut his tire. I'm not sure, but that just shows how competitive we are, even finishing-- fighting for second, and we just--

- And you had some words, or he had words with you.

- Yeah, yeah. We had words.

- It looked like, when I see the video, it looks like you were kind of taken aback by it.

- Yeah, I was-- well, I was so pumped up for finishing second, and everything that we have gone through, I was just like, OK. Are we done here yet? And we got through it. We're fine now. We've been able to talk about it and move on through it, so--

- But no basketball?

- No basketball. Dale Jr.'s-- Dale Jr.'s got a league, so we [INAUDIBLE].


I got something-- yeah, yeah. For sure.

- And no golf.

- No golf, but I can play on my own time, so it's OK. I need to get-- I need to get better anyways, so. That was good practice.

- You mentioned the King earlier. The King is Richard Petty, who's arguably the greatest NASCAR driver ever. He won over 200 races. Talk to us about driving for him and driving in that iconic 43 car.

- Yeah. This is, you know, I've driven for a lot of big teams, and you know, being here with Richard Petty, and been able to see, you know, kind of his presence and what he has, and the impact he has on just everybody is incredible to see. I mean, we're going to sponsorship sales-- meetings, and people are leaving their meetings, and usually it's the driver at the time that it's like, hey, can we get a picture? I was the one taking pictures of him and [INAUDIBLE].


So it's pretty special to see that and to hear the stories he has, and the word of wisdom that he always wants to give. I sit back and I'm like, man. I'm really driving for the King right now, so we just spent a couple of great days in Wyoming at his cabin there, and come out here to get ready for this weekend, so he's pumped up about this.

- Win the Daytona, he might give you one of those super birds or something.

- Right, right.

- Well, before we let you go--


--can tell us about your sponsor for Sunday?

- Yeah. So farmer John is jumping on our car. Excited about that. They've been a long term partner with RPM, so it's a new-- it's a chance for them to get their spotlight, and this will be a new challenge for me, you know, being at Auto Club for the first time in a cup car. The speeds are outrageous compared to Xfinity, so looking forward to that, but we'll see our Chevrolet Camaro Z01 turns out.

- Awesome. Thanks so much for joining us, and good luck on Sunday.

- Thank you.