Bubba Wallace's “knees were trembling” when he cast his ballot in his first presidential election. NASCAR’s only Black full-time driver didn't watch the news before this summer, one of national unrest over politics and racial justice.
He tuned in and quickly became an unwitting national activist. Wallace successfully called on NASCAR to ban the display of the Confederate Flag at races, ran a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme and became the central figure in a sport facing its own racial reckoning.
Wallace overnight had a national audience for his “Peace. Love. Understanding,” mantra and a position to exact change. On Friday, the 27-year-old was named the Comcast Community Champion of the Year, a prestigious industry award that honors NASCAR members for philanthropic efforts.
“I just did what I felt was right and what needed to be said and done and stood behind that proudly,” Wallace told The Associated Press. "To outsiders looking in, they think it takes a lot of courage, but it's just another day to me.
“I said ‘Let’s take down the flag.' It shouldn't be a big deal, but now people say it is a big deal and its reshaping the sport. I didn't have my mind set out to do that.”
Comcast donated $60,000 to Wallace’s “Live To Be Different Foundation” that aids individuals in overcoming race, gender, disabilities or socio-economic situations to fulfill their potential.
“Bubba embodies everything this award stands for and we look forward to standing together as he continues to make a positive impact in all of our communities and the industry,” said Matt Lederer, Comcast Vice President of Brand Partnerships and Activation.
Comcast, a premier partner of NASCAR's Cup Series and the title sponsor of the second-tier Xfinity Series, has donated more than $700,000 to 18 different charitable organizations since launching the award in 2015.