Bubba Wallace Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles After Friend's NASCAR Championship Win
Bubba Wallace discusses his disappointment and battle with mental health after his best friend Ryan Blaney won his first NASCAR championship.
Bubba Wallace's Emotional Reaction
Bubba Wallace experienced a mix of emotions when his best friend, Ryan Blaney, won his first NASCAR championship in Arizona. Instead of celebrating with Blaney, Wallace chose to fly directly home and sit alone in the dark. Despite having just finished his own career-best season, Wallace found himself wallowing in disappointment.
He took to social media to express his emotions, saying that he felt a sense of helplessness. Wallace acknowledged that his wife could see that something was off, but he couldn't explain why. In his post, he encouraged others who may be feeling the same way to keep pushing forward and reminded them that tomorrow is another day.
After nearly a month, Wallace has bounced back and is now in Nashville celebrating both his own successful season and Blaney's championship. The two drivers grew up racing together in North Carolina and share a strong bond.
Support from Ryan Blaney
When Blaney became aware of Wallace's emotional post, he reached out to his friend. Wallace recalled that Blaney called him a few days later and said, 'Man, I guess you winning the championship sent me into depression. Like congrats, but I don't want to see that.' Blaney understood Wallace's conflicting emotions because he had felt the same way when their mutual friend, Chase Elliott, won the championship in 2020.
Blaney tried to lift Wallace's spirits and remind him of his own accomplishments. He praised Wallace for his performance this season, finishing tenth in the standings and making the playoffs for the first time. Blaney acknowledged that comparing oneself to others is natural and that everyone experiences feelings of jealousy and comparison, even if they don't always express it.
Bubba Wallace's Battle with Mental Health
Wallace has been open about his struggles with mental health throughout his career. As NASCAR's only full-time Black driver at the national level, he faces immense pressure and scrutiny. Wallace drives for Michael Jordan's 23XI Racing team, and co-owner Denny Hamlin credits Jordan's influence in helping stabilize Wallace's emotions.
Although it is unclear if Wallace seeks professional treatment for his mental health, he relies on the support of his wife, Amanda. Wallace expressed gratitude for her presence and understanding, stating that they keep each other on their toes and play video games together. He acknowledged that overcoming mental health challenges may not be easy for everyone and that it can linger for days or weeks. However, he remains hopeful and optimistic that each new day brings new opportunities.
Wallace's resilience and dedication to raising awareness about mental health serve as an inspiration to many within the NASCAR community and beyond.