NASCAR car racing driver Bubba Wallace appears before a Cup series car race on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. (AP Photo / Jason Minto)
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace acknowledged having a hard time, on and off the track, before breaking into tears before Saturday night's race at Kansas Speedway.
Wallace, 25, has gone through his second full season at NASCAR's highest level, his best result was 17 at Martinsville. The iconic No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports is ranked 28th in the standings, far from being in a fight from week to week.
Wallace spoke about the challenges the team faced on Friday when he said: "You try to be the best you can and sometimes it's not good enough." Later he admitted to having gone through "depression and everything with that", and that He has dealt with the agitation in part by getting into his car.
"I'll be damned," Wallace said softly, with his blue hat over his eyes, "It all goes away when you get behind the wheel, it's been 16 years of driving, it's hard."
It was at that point, between practice and qualifying sessions, that Wallace said, "I'm about to break myself, and I am what I am." Then he buried his face in silence in his hands.
"It's been a difficult time for a while," said generally optimistic Wallace, a native of Alabama and the only black driver at the top level of NASCAR. "I just try to do everything I can."
Wallace is known for using his heart in the sleeve, one of the reasons why he has become a favorite among many fans. The tears also flowed after he finished second at the Daytona 500 last year, which remains his only top-five in 51 series Cup races.
For a while, there have been signs that Wallace had been struggling beyond the track, although the results have surely not helped. Normally, a beacon of joy on social media, Wallace published in a couple of tweets earlier this week that he has not "been in a good place for some time".
Accompanying a montage that shows Wallace joking, he tweeted: "Ha. With a laugh and a smile like this every week, you would think that there is no way to hide both the negative and the dark (poop). The dark and lonely roads are not fun, keep going, I guess. "
Wallace acknowledged Friday as he walked through the stands after Monday's race in Dover and heard people shout for support. He said it was an uplifting moment after a difficult weekend.
"They were just screaming my name," Wallace said. "A frustrating weekend, but when going through the stands, it was nice. It was nice to see all the support and love. "
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