If you watched the Today Show this morning, you might have seen Al Roker’s segment featuring NASCAR driver Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr....and them doing some laps around the track in the #43 AfterShokz Chevy. We’re so excited to finally announce that we’ll be the primary partner of Bubba in his return to the Daytona 500. We watched Bubba make history last year in his rookie season and are thrilled to support him in the Daytona 500, as well as bring a fresh sponsorship to the sport. We are so inspired by Bubba and his story and couldn’t think of a better NASCAR driver to represent AfterShokz.
We are looking forward to our first Daytona 500 and hope it’s just as memorable as last year, with a finish one spot better! Get to know Bubba, because you’ll be seeing a lot more of him on our social channels! And if you missed the Today Show segment this morning, check it out here.
AfterShokz: How did you get into the sport?
Bubba: When I was younger, about 8 or 9, my dad purchased a motorcycle, and decided to get some parts chromed on it. When he was meeting with the guy that was going to be doing the work, they started talking about go-karts, and how they’re a great entryway into racing. My Dad came home and asked if I wanted to give go-karts a shot. I didn’t know what I was signing myself up for, but I was like “sure, I’ll give it a shot.”
AfterShokz: Who have been some of your biggest role models in racing?
Bubba: To be honest, I never really looked up to other drivers. Once I started taking a more devout interest in the sport, like everyone, I was a fan of Dale Sr. However, I can’t say that I had a favorite driver or role model in the sport. I always wanted to be my own role model, and develop my own path.
AfterShokz: What has been your greatest accomplishment behind the wheel?
Bubba: It has to be leading laps at Bristol in 2018. The fact that we’re somewhat of a lower budget team compared to the big dogs, and I was able to race some of the best of the sport and PASS them. Man. It still gives me goosebumps thinking about it to this day.
AfterShokz: What does it mean to you to be the only African American driver in NASCAR?
Bubba: It means I have a little more weight on my shoulders, and a few more eyeballs on me. I don’t resent the pressure though; I like that I’m carving out a path for new fans to flow into the sport. If I can interest one additional person in the sport, or motivate one person to achieve their goals, then my job is complete.
AfterShokz: What are you hoping to achieve in 2019?
Bubba: Like all race car drivers, I’d like to secure a win. But, with this sport being as competitive as it is, that is an incredibly difficult task to accomplish. So, if I had to give a more reasonable goal for the 2019 season, I’d like to be more competitive than we were last year and on a more consistent basis. We’re still growing as a team, so any progress is positive.
AfterShokz: Can you describe the adrenaline you feel while on the track?
Bubba: There is no feeling like it. I can’t really explain it. When you get in the car and strap into that seat, it's like “okay, this is my office for the next 3 hours.” When the car fires up, it’s a strange feeling because you’ve been waiting for this single moment the entire weekend. It’s easy to get excited and anxious when you see all of the fans cheering, but you have to manage that adrenaline. You can’t let it consume your mind and crowd your focus.
AfterShokz: What type of music do you play to pump you up before a race?
Bubba: The heavier, the better. I’m a big fan of heavy rock, something that has an intense breakdown.
AfterShokz: How has AfterShokz changed the way you train?
Bubba: Honestly, I never really listened to music when training outside during endurance runs and other core workouts because I couldn't find headphones that were remotely comfortable to wear, and also sounded decent. I don’t love the feeling of in-ear headphone (they feel too constricting for me), and over-the-ear headphones would pool with sweat. Now, with the AfterShokz, I get the freedom of wearing no headphones at all, with the ability to listen to my music. Music is huge for me, and this product has changed the way I get and stay motivated during my workouts. The open concept has changed my routine, for the better.