2nd Annual Bubba’s Block Party: A Celebration of NASCAR and Community

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace hosted his 2nd annual Bubba’s Block Party at Douglass Park (Photos by Tacuma Roeback).

In 2021, Bubba Wallace made history as the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race in over 50 years, following in the footsteps of Wendell Scott’s legendary achievement in 1963. Since then, Bubba has been passionately sharing his experiences to demystify NASCAR, addressing questions about becoming a race car driver or working behind the scenes. He aims to foster inclusivity, promote diversity and inspire the next generation to engage with the sport.

One of Bubba’s initiatives is “Bubba’s Block Party,” a free special event that aims to unite the community and educate attendees in a lively, family-friendly atmosphere. Organized in collaboration with Blavity’s General Manager of Community Charles Kuykendall, the event features Black-owned food vendors, local businesses, and performances by Chicago icons. This year’s event took place at Douglass Park on Friday, July 5, from 5 to 9 p.m., bringing together entertainment, education and celebration.

“We want you to feel welcome here. Events like tonight make it easier for everyone to show up and feel comfortable.” – Bubba Wallace

Get To Know Bubba Wallace

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace hosted his 2nd annual Bubba's Block Party at Douglass Park

Bubba has been in the media for his outstanding accomplishments thus far and has a 2022 Netflix docuseries titled “RACE: Bubba Wallace.” When it comes to having his own Block Party and what it means to the communities it caters to, Bubba expressed how they contribute to the evolution of the sport.  

“While we’re not as diverse as we hope to be, initiatives like Daniel Suárez’s outreach to the Hispanic market are making a difference. We invite everyone to come out with friends and family, enjoy the race, cheer for their favorite drivers and have a fantastic time, much like any other sporting event,” Wallace said. 

“This event is unique, blending barbecue, history, and NASCAR into a memorable experience for all.”

When asked about his legacy, Bubba emphasized the importance of living a good life with the right people, particularly during challenging times when his inner circle got smaller. 

As a driver, he shoulders significant responsibilities and faces obstacles that make it difficult to appreciate moments amid the demanding workload fully. Bubba acknowledges these challenges as universal among drivers and underscores his commitment to perseverance over a complaint.

“My goal is to contribute to the sport meaningfully, not just by putting my name on something, but by investing my heart and passion into it. I want to see genuine positive change that makes a difference. That’s what I strive for—to be a down-to-earth person who leaves a lasting impact and enjoys life like everyone else.”

When he’s not gearing up for races, Bubba indulges in his passions for photography, gaming and golf, often finding solace outdoors. 

Upon arriving in Chicago, Bubba enthusiastically declares into the microphone, “Give me the Lou!” referring to Lou Malnati’s pizza.

The Bubba Block Party Experience 

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace hosted his 2nd annual Bubba's Block Party at Douglass Park

The atmosphere buzzed with excitement among families, friends and children. Kids eagerly played, ran around, ate and had the chance to meet Bubba Wallace in person. 

Inside Douglass Park, attendees enjoyed various activities, such as receiving free Bubba’s Block Party t-shirts, participating in a kids’ coloring station, testing race-driving simulators, exploring a small NASCAR history museum and accessing job and health resources. There were bar areas for adult beverages and numerous other family-friendly activities.

Former football player Anthony “Spice” Adams also attended the Block Party. He was asked about his thoughts on the relationship between football and NASCAR.

“The team dynamic in NASCAR mirrors the precision of executing a play in a football huddle,” he said. I find that aspect of NASCAR and driving fascinating. I’m here to absorb knowledge and evolve.” 

As his national media presence grows, Adams sees potential in the evolving NASCAR media landscape and may collaborate with larger platforms.

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace hosted his 2nd annual Bubba's Block Party at Douglass Park

He praised Chicago as one of the world’s finest, citing its excellent professional sports teams and vibrant festivals. He described the Block Party as delightful and eagerly anticipated the upcoming race on Sunday.

One of the highlights was watching Bubba’s Pit Crew change his No. 23 Toyota Camry XSE for 23XI Racing in seconds and sharing what it feels like to work with him during a race.

Bubba’s Pit Crew Jackman Jordan Paige added, “He’s a star; that’s part of the best part. It is great to work with someone like that and with a very well-known sports driver. It’s a different experience because Bubba is one of the most recognized drivers, and being part of his journey is cool.”

The team shared in unison that he’s always with them off the racetrack. He works out alongside them, attends practices regularly—not just showing up on race day—and is exceptional at what he does. He’s a familiar presence at the shop, constantly involved. It’s as if they’ve never missed a beat when they hit the track.

Chicago’s Street Race President Julie Giese set the stage and thanked organizations (Blavity, Xfinity, 23IV, Bubba Wallace, the Chicago Park District, and more) for joining the event. She also expressed excitement for NASCAR’s return to Chicago for the second NASCAR Chicago Street race this weekend. Cars hit the track Saturday morning for a fantastic weekend filled with food, beverages, and entertainment.

Tyesha Davis, a mother of three, brought her boys, Ricardo, Troy, and Carter, ages 12, 10 and 7, to enjoy the festivities and educate them on cars and their future passion for them.

“They love everything about cars—monster trucks, race cars, and similar things. We attended last year and had a great time, so why not come again? Although I live on the South Side, I returned to my hometown area, the West Side, for this experience.”

Whether she wants her boys to embrace the NASCAR lifestyle is about exposure. They engage in activities like visiting museums, attending festivals, and participating in block parties together as a family. Ultimately, it will be up to them to decide, but she believes in providing diverse experiences for her children.

Chicago’s Own Twista Headlines the Event

Chicago Hip-hop legend Twista performed at Bubba's Block Party

As the evening wound down after all the fun, around 8 p.m., this year’s Block Party was treated to Chicago music legend Twista, who brought nostalgia with a live band. He performed a medley of his hits, starting with “Adrenaline Rush” from his 1997 album, followed by “Girl Tonite” (originally recorded with Trey Songz), “Slow Jamz” (originally recorded with Kanye West and Jamie Foxx), and several other hits to close out the Block Party. Twista said he felt honored to work with Bubba and happy to be a part of NASCAR as an artist.

“Well, it brings the community together, especially with me here because I’ve been a staple in Chicago for years. An event like this, with this brand, has yet to be in this area, so everyone is excited to see something new and get involved in a different sport, especially in this community. People are curious about how to get involved.”

When asked about his favorite thing about NASCAR, Twista said he enjoys everything about the sport. He loves seeing the cars, especially the different colors and designs. The vibrant colors always catch his eye, making NASCAR particularly exciting for him.

Twista also brought Chicago’s legendary rap group Do or Die, consisting of Belo Zero and AK-47.

“I think about all the kids running around the streets; they have dreams about driving but rarely get to see it up close. It’s great to educate them about it,” said AK-47. 

“Growing up, we watched cartoons like Speed Racer, our first introduction to fast cars. We loved the speed, and seeing it today was especially exciting.”

The Future of NASCAR with Diversity

Bubba Wallace's Pit Crew performed one of their race car maneuvers for Bubba's Block Party

We are witnessing significant changes in the sports world, from Angel Reese making history in the WNBA to LeBron James and his son, LeBron “Bronny” James Jr., playing on the same team this upcoming season. 

Bubba Wallace is making his mark in NASCAR, and all of them share a common goal: changing the narrative by embracing equality, feminism in sports and family legacy. 

As a Black woman, I am grateful to be a part of this historical moment.

As the world grows and cultures unite, sports organizations are stepping up to drive change. 

Here are more photos from Bubba’s Block Party: 

Bubba Wallace mingled with Bubba's Block Party attendees, including representatives from Walmart


About Post Author


From the Web

Skip to content