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Bubba Wallace pits late for gas, finishes 14th at Talladega

The #43 had to come in for gas with a late caution, and it cost him a chance to win on an emotional day

NASCAR drivers stand in solidarity with Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 22, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Bubba Wallace finished 14th at Talladega in a wild finish as Ryan Blaney picked up the win in the Geico 500 at Talladega.

On a day where the entire field at Talladega showed their support for the only black driver in NASCAR after a noose was found in his garage, the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet was running as well as third with seven laps remaining. He needed a caution, but just a bit earlier most likely to have a chance to get a splash of fuel and save some tires.

“I know I should have won that damn race,” Wallace said afterwards while in front of a lot of fans that were wearing Black Lives Matter shirts by the wall of the fastest track in the sport. When he asked if it was their first time at the race, the overwhelming majority of those behind him appeared to say yes.

Even though he finished 14th, he was perhaps the most popular driver on the circuit and certainly a crowd favorite. Though he’s yet to win a NASCAR Cup Series race, he’s had a great season so far, and his comments after the race show how big what has happened recently is to him personally, and how aware he is of being the only one of 40 in the starting grid each week.