DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Though he finished runner-up in the Daytona 500, Sunday was a day of many firsts for Bubba Wallace.
As Wallace, NASCAR's only current African-American driver, conducted his first-career post-Daytona 500 press conference, he was overcome with emotion.
"I just try so hard to be successful at everything I do, and my family pushes me each and every day, and they might not even know it," Wallace said. "But I just want to make them proud. Second is horrible, but it's still a good day."
During his interview, his mother, Desiree, made her way into the conference, according to The Charlotte Observer. When they started hugging, the sobbing started.
“I am so proud of you, baby,” Desiree told him. “We did win that race baby, we did. I love you."
Wallace told reporters that he faced anxiety all week, dodged a crash with two laps to go and eventually helped push teammate Austin Dillon into the lead.
“There’s just been a long, hard-fought road for him,” Desiree said. “A lot of people saying he doesn’t belong here. I just think that tonight, he proved that he did. He belongs here. And he's here to stay."