It was also the first win for the 23XI team co-founded by NBA legend Michael Jordan and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin for this season, while Wallace’s crew chief Bootie Barker scored the first win of his career after nearly 500 races atop the box.
The 188-lap race was postponed from Sunday due to rain, but after repeated rain interruption, NASCAR was forced to bring out the red flag for good after 117 laps.
As attempts to dry the track proved futile, Wallace was declared the winner, becoming the first African-American in victory lane since Wendell Scott at Jacksonville in December 1963.
Team Penske Ford drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano scored useful points towards their Playoff tallies by finishing second and third, ahead of Kurt Busch (Ganassi Chevrolet) and another Playoff contender Christopher Bell (JGR Toyota).
Wallace hadn’t featured prominently in the opening stage, which was won by Chris Buescher.
The Roush Fenway Ford driver was at the front when a caution was required following contact between Justin Allgaier and Kyle Larson, Allgaier having been unsettled by a bump from behind by William Byron and sent up the track into the helpless Larson, while Chase Briscoe was also collected.
After a lengthy pitstop for repairs to be hastily conducted, Larson suffered a right-front blow-out during the second stage which caused another caution for debris.
This caused the whole field to pit, but when it started to rain, the race was red-flagged for almost 20 minutes.
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Toyota Camry
Photo by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images
The race resumed on lap 76, but it wasn’t long before the next incident arrived as Alex Bowman spun off the nose of Ricky Stenhouse Jr while battling for the race lead.
Bowman slammed the outside wall and collected several drivers including Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, Martin Truex Jr and Ryan Preece were among those involved.
As the threat of rain increased, the intensity picked up still further when the race restarted, with Wallace moving to the head of the pack and defending against Keselowski and Logano behind.
The pressure on Wallace was momentarily relieved when Preece was turned into the outside wall, collecting both Byron and Matt DiBenedetto, and the caution flag was displayed.
But when the rain came down, and the race was red flagged, Wallace was assured of a landmark victory – becoming the third new winner of a remarkable weekend at Talladega after Tate Fogleman (Truck Series) and Brandon Brown (Xfinity Series) also took their maiden victories.
Talladega NASCAR results