Netflix recently announced that they are producing a series that chronicles Bubba Wallace’s 2021 season with 23XI Racing.
The series will take viewers behind the scenes of the 2021 NASCAR season through the eyes of the only Black driver at the top level of the sport, and will explore Wallace, 23XI Racing, and NASCAR’s efforts to advocate for inclusion and equality in racing and beyond. – Netflix
23XI Racing is owned by NBA superstar Michael Jordan and NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin. The partnership was started during the last year and the new NASCAR team signed Bubba Wallace as their driver.
This season Wallace is 20th in the Cup Series standings after 10-races and his best finish this season was 16th at Phoenix, Atlanta and Martinsville. In 2020 Wallace finished 20th in the Cup Series standings and raced for Richard Petty Motorsports.
But not everyone is happy about Wallace having a documentary series produced by Netflix.
Bob Leavine is the owner of Leavine Family Racing, a former NASCAR Cup Series team that ran from 2011 to 2020. 23XI Racing replaced LFR this season in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Leavine’s comments continued throughout April 27th and he came across as both racist and bitter. His social media diatribe on Twitter seemed to express the notion that Wallace’s upcoming Netflix series is the result of NASCAR pushing an agenda but after reading through the tweets a few times it is unclear to this scribe what the agenda is.
I don’t want to read between the lines and determine what proclamations Leavine is making. I find putting his quotes out there and letting the reader make their own conclusions in matters such as these.
But it is my opinion that Leavine is putting forth opinions that are shortsighted. NASCAR needs fans to survive and thrive and they are no different than any other business; customers and their spending will always dictate economic success for an enterprise.
The rise of Wallace has broaden NASCAR’s fan base and has garnered more media attention. Sports need stars and popular figures. You may not like the star but they always garner attention.
Case in point: Tiger Woods. In his heyday he made golf more popular and by proxy ratings increased and the sport thrived. Take away Tiger and the sport is slumping in the public perception. I’m not a big Tiger fan, or a golf fan for that matter, but I was always aware when he was playing well in a Major. It’s the same with Tom Brady.
Whether you like Wallace and agree with his social stance, that is your opinion and you are free to express it. I may not agree with your take but that is your right. In the same manner I have a right to do the express my opinion.
Diversity is a good thing. A broader fan base for a sport I love is a good thing. Racism is a horrible thing and will destroy NASCAR.
You can call me some kind of leftist from California, that is your right, but my hope is that NASCAR will continue to grow and Wallace is helping that movement.