Bubba Wallace has admitted he is learning how to “embrace” his role as an activist after he and his wife Ann organised a rally against the state of Indiana.
Wallace competed in nine F1 races, twice qualifying in the top 10, and left with his reputation intact in July after finishing ninth in the Canadian Grand Prix. However, his ride with Richard Petty Motorsports was cut short by a sponsorship and Wallace now races with Sam Schmidt Motorsport in the Truck series. He made a statement last month with a rally outside the Indiana statehouse – a move the Indiana governor Eric Holcomb dubbed as “cool, polite and respectful” but fellow drivers disagreed with.
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Wallace, who at 29 is three years younger than his former team-mate Jamie Vardy, feels he is at a pivotal point in his career. And he said he feels growing in maturity has changed his approach to future actions.
“It was something I decided to do,” Wallace said. “It was a change of pace for me. The call was coming in as something that was huge. I did my research, I did some things online, we made a plan and got the right people together. I do feel like I’m more comfortable with the way I’m approaching issues as a whole. It’s just being aware of how to approach it.”
Wallace is outspoken about issues such as race-fixing and said although he has been getting pressure to speak up about everything, he does not want to compromise his family and his morals. “Sometimes I have to ask, ‘What am I getting out of doing that?’” Wallace said. “Just how am I going to change the mentality of a young race fan. Am I going to change them or am I just going to give them a whole extra thing about the way we approach the sport? I really want to just change the fans’ mentality of how they watch the sport.”
Wallace wants his girlfriend to have a baby before the end of the year, but hopes to have one in 2020. The Indiana statehouse rally was part of a family tradition, when Wallace and his father travelled to Statehouse in Indianapolis when Wallace was little to march with Martin Truex Jr.
“We don’t regret the history that we’ve been a part of,” Wallace said. “We have a presence that we want to instill, and we want to continue to instill that way. At the same time, our reality is that we have to make a choice. Do we want our kid to be part of what we’re doing, or do we want him to get a proper education and find a way to have his dreams fulfilled without us participating in our sport?”