NHRA’s Antron Brown offers good advice to budding NASCAR star Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace

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NHRA star Antron Brown is watching the career of budding NASCAR star Darrell “Bubba” Wallace quite closely.

As the first African-American driver to win an NHRA championship (Top Fuel, 2012), Brown is proud of what the young Wallace has done thus far in his career, including winning a Camping World Trucks Series race last fall at Martinsville (see video below), becoming the first African-American driver to win a major series NASCAR event since Wendell Scott in 1964.

Brown was asked in this week’s NHRA teleconference if he has any advice for Wallace as he continues to climb the drag racing success ladder.

“Well, my advice would be to Darrell to keep doing what he’s doing,” Brown said. “I’m actually really good friends with Darrell. He has a really good demeanor where he’s definitely got an open mind and is eager to learn and his determination.

“My deal is for him not to ever lose that. To never get to a point where you think you are the best. Even if you won that championship or you won a race, to never let that stuff sidetrack you, but to always keep focused, keep working and keep building.

“That’s why you look at people like Jimmie Johnson. A lot of people look at him and how many championships he’s won. Jimmie’s won championships, but as soon as that day is over and he’s got that championship check and trophy, that joker is back in the gym, he’s training. He’s still honing his skills to be better.

“That’s one thing that I would tell Darrell. He’s got the talent, he’s got the drive, but to never stop working. To always constantly improve himself. When you do that, you stay on top of the curve and you stay at the top of your game.

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Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).