NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace Opens Up in Wide-Ranging, Candid ESPN E60 Special

One of America’s most well-known and polarizing race car drivers is the subject of a new, 90-minute ESPN E60 special. Fistful of Steel – The Rise of Bubba Wallace will premiere on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and will be available afterward via streaming on demand on ESPN+ and the ESPN App.

Wallace is the only Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, the top level of stock car racing. Millions across the country learned his name in 2020 when he emerged as a leading voice for racial justice, successfully lobbying his sport to ban the Confederate flag. Wallace then captured more headlines when a noose was found in his garage stall at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. 

But for a name that is familiar to so many, Wallace’s story and journey are not as well-known. In a wide ranging, candid, and emotionally charged conversation with ESPN’s Ryan McGee, Wallace reveals personal details about his upbringing and the events that shaped him into the man he is today. He discusses the killing of his cousin by police, his own experience with racial profiling and the family strife that drove him to break down in tears at the Daytona 500.

Wallace also describes the immediate aftermath of the incident last year that nearly ended the NASCAR career of fellow driver Kyle Larson, who uttered a racial slur while competing in a live-streamed virtual race and was subsequently fired from his NASCAR team. Larson returned this year with a different race team and won the NASCAR Cup Series championship. 

Featuring exclusive interviews with his immediate family and some of the biggest names in racing, Fistful of Steel delves into the history of race in NASCAR and provides an unprecedented portrait of Wallace, whom viewers see as never before.

In addition to Wallace himself, among those interviewed in the program:

  • Darrell Wallace Sr. – Wallace’s father
  • Desiree Wallace – Wallace’s mother
  • Brittany Gillispie – Wallace’s sister
  • Amanda Carter – Wallace’s fiancée
  • Steve Phelps – NASCAR President
  • Richard Petty – NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and Wallace’s former race team owner
  • Ned Jarrett – NASCAR Hall of Fame driver
  • Jimmie Johnson – Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion
  • Wendell Scott, Jr. – son of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott
  • Deborah Scott – daughter of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott
  • Franklin Scott – son of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott
  • Warrick Scott – grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott
  • Howard Bryant – ESPN senior writer

Fistful of Steel is produced by Mike Farrell, John Minton and Lauren Stowell.

After the television debut, the program will re-air multiple times across ESPN Networks and will be available for on-demand viewing on ESPN+ and the ESPN App.

Adam Sinclair