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Bubba Wallace makes history with his win in Talladega

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Rain disrupted a NASCAR playoff race on Monday, but it did not dampen the celebration of Bubba Wallace when he was declared the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BUBBA WALLACE: No way.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yes.

WALLACE: No way.

(CHEERING)

INSKEEP: On NASCAR's Twitter, there's video of Bubba Wallace with his teammates celebrating in the pit.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The deciding moment of the race came on the 118th lap. This is when Wallace took the lead just before an accident behind him led to a multi-car crash.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Thirty-seven - Preece is around, he catches the 24, as well as the 21. Caution comes out.

INSKEEP: The YellaWood 500 competition was cut short for bad weather, but Wallace had a clear lead before it stopped, so NASCAR called the race and declared him the winner.

MARTIN: Bubba Wallace became only the second Black driver to win at NASCAR's top level, following Wendell Scott in 1963. However, Scott wasn't declared a winner for several months following that race. Wallace held back tears as he reflected on the weight of the moment with NBC Sports after the race.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WALLACE: It's obviously - brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, friends. It's pretty damn cool, so just proud to be a winner in the cup series.

INSKEEP: Wallace received praise from Wendell Scott's grandson, Warrick, who congratulated him and posted a picture of his grandfather, captioned, quote, "Papa was there the whole time chillin' in the rain."

MARTIN: The win at Talladega was a special moment following last year's controversy on the very same track when a member of Wallace's team reported finding a noose hanging in his garage. It happened just a week after Bubba Wallace pushed NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its events.

INSKEEP: The FBI eventually concluded the rope had been hanging in the garage since the year before, but that moment forced NASCAR to confront racism

MARTIN: After his Talladega victory, Wallace had this message for fans.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WALLACE: Stay strong. Stay humble. Stay hungry. There's been plenty of times where I wanted to give up. And you surround yourself with the right people, and it's moments like this that you appreciate.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BLACK KEYS' "KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF HER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.