NASCAR: Why was Bubba Wallace dressed like a Star Wars pilot?

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Columbia, Star Wars, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Columbia, Star Wars, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Bubba Wallace’s firesuit for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway resembled that of a Star Wars pilot — specifically, Luke Skywalker.

Columbia Sportswear, one of the five founding partners of the Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan-owned 23XI Racing NASCAR Cup Series race team, collaborated with Lucasfilm to unveil their new special-edition SkyWalker Pilot Collection, inspired by the Luke Skywalker’s iconic flight suit from the Star Wars saga.

As a part of the unveiling of their largest and largest Star Wars collection to date, Columbia also influenced Bubba Wallace’s firesuit for the 2023 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

The suit worn by the driver of the No. 23 Toyota resembled that of Skywalker and other Star Wars pilots from the three original Star Wars movies, now known as Episodes IV, V, and VI. His helmet was Star Wars-designed as well.

The NASCAR Cup car itself was also sponsored by the franchise, with the design inspired by the Red Five X-Wing Starfighter.

R2-D2 also made an appearance on the pre-race grid.

As a part of the collaboration, Wallace even got to meet Luke Skywalker himself, actor Mark Hamill.

Wallace went on to finish the race in 10th place. It was his 10th top 10 finish of the season, and it solidified his first career top 10 finish in the point standings in 10th.

Nearly five decades later, the Star Wars universe continues to expand, with this being its latest venture into NASCAR.

Back in 1999, Jeff Gordon ran a car promoting the release of the fourth Star Wars movie, Episode I – The Phantom Menace. In 2002, John Andretti ran a car promoting the release of the fifth, Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Then in 2005, Kyle Busch ran a car promoting the release of the sixth, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

A list of all of the Star Wars movies and shows that have been released since then would be far too long to include in this article. The growth of the series continues to amaze.

The SkyWalker Pilot Collection includes the Skywalker Pilot Ski Suit, the Skywalker Pilot Ski Jacket, the Skywalker Pilot Snow Goggle, the Skywalker Pilot Lightweight Jacket, the Skywalker Pilot Pullover, the Skywalker Pilot Long-Sleeve Shirt, the Skywalker Pilot Short-Sleeve Shirt, the Skywalker Pilot Crossbody Bag, and the Skywalker Pilot Ball Cap.

Unfortunately, lightsabers are not included.

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The collection is officially scheduled to launch on Friday, December 1.