We had the privilege of talking with Bubba Wallace as he gears up for the Daytona 500 on Sunday and got to ask him a whole range of questions.
We talked about his experience meeting Kevin Hart and hanging out with him backstage for two-plus hours and being a guest on ‘Cold As Balls.’ During his episode of the show, he talked about how it can actually be boring during long races, so we definitely talked about that as well. From his love for photography and his Instagram to how his golf game is, we talked about it all.
BroBible: I saw on Instagram you have a page showing off your photography skills. How long have you been into that and how did you get started in that scene?
Bubba Wallace: I’ve been shooting ever since 2010. I kinda picked up a camera at a race track one day. My dad had one in his car, I thought it was cool to try to replicate what the professional photographers took and try to add my own little twist to it. I’ve definitely tried to get into it more and more each year, and this year I’ve taken a big investment into it, setting some time aside to be able to do it all.
Besides going on vacation and taking a camera there, it’s different, but being at a track and trying to get stuff there is cool. I’m just out here to do it for fun. People are asking for prints and everything, so I thought that’s pretty cool people taking a like to my craft and my hobbies. Who knows, I’ll still keep working to get better and get some really cool images and I’ve got some cool trips coming up.
BB: How did the whole Cold As Balls thing come about? Did you know Kevin Hart before that?
BW: I thought that was pretty awesome. I got to meet him when he came on his Irresponsible tour through Charlotte. I told NASCAR that I wanted to meet Kevin and if we could set that up that would be awesome. We ended up getting to go backstage and hanging out with him and his crew there for like two and a half hours. It was unreal. I thought it was going to be a meet and greet, get a picture, get in and get out. We sat back there, talked about racing, cars, watched them play cards and that was all funny, joking and having a good time.
That was in November or December but come around this time last year they were like you’ve got an opportunity to go out to LA and be on this show ‘Cold As Balls.’ I was like that would be awesome, I had actually never been in an ice bath, so that was cool.
BB: You said something interesting during the show referencing that it almost gets boring in the car during these long races at times. I mean, is that legit?
BW: Oh yeah, you’ve got to pace yourself, this is a long season. To be on that ship, which is what we call it, to be at full peak all the time is tough and it’s draining. Being a part of that show and seeing how all of Kevin’s show gets done, they’re all shot in one day, so he is on the ship full-time. It’s cool how he can be on and produce that content for hours on hours and that just shows the comedian side of him which is really neat.
BB: Brooks Koepka had that quote about how he legitimately gets bored during the middle of a round. He’s obviously a machine out there, do you buy that from him as well, what are your thoughts there?
BW: For sure, athletes are put on a pedestal, it doesn’t matter where you’re at. If it’s pee wee basketball, you are an image to a lot of people. All the way from pee-wee to the professional level so you have to watch what you do, watch what you eat, watch what you say. Everything is under a microscope so being on that pedestal 24/7 is tiring, it wears you out.
We’re all human and make mistakes, slip off that pedestal at times, so you just have to do your best at managing the emotions and the highs and lows of what the sport produces. But there are times where it gets long and drags out and you’re just kind of buying your time waiting for that next moment.
BB: How’s your golf game, how often do you get to get out there?
BW: I haven’t played since vacation down in Turks and Caicos. My front nine was really good for me, not playing, maybe played 3 or 4 times last year. I shot a 47 on the front and I was like alright, pretty good, but then followed it up with a 65 on the back nine, it was terrible.
BB: Were beers involved? Did it fall off on the back cause of the beverages?
BW: Well what was good is that we were having a couple drinks and I was feeling good but then we stopped at the turn and got something to eat. That was a 30-minute ordeal so you lost your buzz and your hype and after that, it was shank after shank.
BB: So your mom ran track at Tennessee. Are you a big Vols fan with that connection?
BW: Oh yeah, go big orange. We gotta get our athletic program back up and running in the right direction, that’s for sure.
BB: Big week this week for you in Daytona. How’s everything feeling, how’s the confidence within the whole team down there?
BW: We’re feeling good. We’re confident and we have a lot of momentum on our side especially going into the 500. We’ve got a lot of speed in our race car so we’re excited about that. We’ll get to showcase some of that on Thursday in the Duels and we’ll really start to get into a rhythm after that and get our season kicked off in the right way.
We’re pumped. We’ve got a new crew chief, Jerry Baxter, on top of the box and he brings a lot of experience and excitement to our team and we’ll see what we can do.
BB: Stereotypical question here, but are you superstitious, any race day rituals?
BW: No, I don’t really have anything that sticks out in my mind. I tried to be back in the day, but it never worked out.
Special thanks to NASCAR and Wallace for taking the time and chatting with us. Daytona 500 will get underway at 2:30 PM EST on Sunday, February 16.