NASCAR may be in Phoenix for its Cup Series Championship but, during the proceedings, there will be vibes similar to the galaxy far, far away, thanks to Bubba Wallace and Columbia. Wallace will take to the track in a custom-wrapped car made to look like the iconic X-Wing, which (as those who've watched the Star Wars movies in order know) was flown by Luke Skywalker. CinemaBlend had a chance to speak to Wallace about that ahead of the race and learned how he made fellow racer Ryan Blaney "super jealous" with his partnership. However, it's Wallace's encounter with Mark Hamill that has me super envious of him.
For those who may not know, Ryan Blaney is a Star Wars superfan who has Darth Vader tattooed on his thigh. Blaney is also great friends with Bubba Wallace so, when the driver learned about Columbia's plans for the race and its latest clothing collaboration with Star Wars, he couldn't help but be covet the sponsorship. Wallace discussed those feelings with CinemaBlend while also joking about how he managed to smooth things over with Blaney:
Ryan is super jealous, but I promised him I’d hook him up with some of the Star Wars pieces in the Columbia collection so I think we’re good.
It's not too surprising to hear Bubba Wallace could make good with his buddy by offering pieces from Columbia's Skywalker Pilot collection, which will officially go on sale starting December 1st. This fashion line features everything from ski suits to short-sleeve shirts, all made to look like the iconic orange pilot suit worn by Luke in the Star Wars flicks. As someone who believes Skywalker peaked with the destruction of the Death Star, I'd argue the suit is his most iconic look.
As if driving the NASCAR equivalent of an X-Wing wasn't cool enough, the 30-year-old also had a chance to meet Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, ahead of race day. Wallace spoke to me briefly about the experience and what it meant to chat with the science fiction legend:
I actually got to meet Mark Hamill and talk about the race and the car. It gave me chills to hear him talk about the force, so that was pretty cool. It’s an honor to drive something so iconic.
Bubba Wallace is fairly new to the Star Wars fandom but, after talking to Mark Hamill about the Force, he could feel its presence through the actor's words. I really wish I could've been a fly on the wall while they were talking. The franchise's lore and principles are compelling enough, but to listen to Hamill discuss them would be amazing. We'll see if Wallace can be as dialed in as Hamill's Luke was in the Skywalker saga, all of which are available to stream with a Disney+ subscription.
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Those who tune into the NASCAR Cup Series Championship will see two Star Wars-inspired cars, both with different takes on iconic ships. Given that Bubba Wallace's car emulates the style of the X-Wing, it even has R2-D2 painted on the top as, in the movies, the droid serves as Luke's co-pilot.
The racer's teammate, Tyler Reddick, will drive the 45 car, which utilized CGI to recreate the aesthetic of a TIE Fighter in a different way. This is mainly due to the design of the iconic ship, which would leave little fun for viewers at home if the viewports were just in the front of the car. In any case, both vehicles look magnificent and will definitely draw some eyes during the race. I can't speak to how fast they are in relationship to Hyperdrive-capable spacecrafts, but I can say watching them hit the track was as cool a moment as watching the Kessel Run in Solo: A Star Wars Story. I'm sure Mark Hamill will be rooting for them as well! (Sorry, Ryan Blaney, but the Force will be with them.)
As you await updates on upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows, fans can still have fun watching the NASCAR Cup Series Championship on NBC on Sunday, November 5th, beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. Those who have a Peacock subscription can also tune in to see who comes out on top in what should be an exciting race.