COLUMBUS (WCMH) – When NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace takes the track this weekend at Richmond Raceway, he’ll have a local company on the hood.
Columbus-based Root Insurance will be the primary sponsor on Wallace’s 23XI Racing Toyota Camry in Sunday afternoon’s Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond, Virginia.
The orange-and-black paint scheme features thin horizontal lines cutting through the side, as well as the phrase “progress owes no apology” written on the rear corner panels.
The company announced its partnership with Wallace last fall in a video nodding to his social activism. Wallace, 27, is the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level and one of only two Black drivers to win a NASCAR race at any level. This year the Alabama native became the first Black driver to lead the Daytona 500.
23XI Racing (pronounced twenty-three-eleven) was formed this past offseason by basketball legend Michael Jordan and Cup driver Denny Hamlin. Root sponsored the 23XI team during a preseason exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Wallace’s paint scheme is essentially a flipped version of what alternate driver Ty Dillon drove in that race.
Root is not the first Columbus company to sponsor a NASCAR team. Nationwide Insurance sponsored the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Cup Series car, mostly driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., from 2015 to 2019.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital has also sponsored cars during the second-tier Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Other Central Ohio companies that have sponsored cars in recent years in NASCAR’s three national series include Big Lots, JEGS, Safe Auto and Safelite.
Wallace has yet to win a Cup race in 120 career starts, but he did win six races in the third-tier NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. His best career Cup finish is second in the 2018 Daytona 500, and his best finish this year is 16th three times. He is currently 19th in Cup points standings.