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Jeff Gordon Praises Bubba Wallace Black NASCAR Driver Is 'Important, Positive'

11/9/2017 3:56 PM PST

Jeff Gordon Praises Bubba Wallace, Black NASCAR Driver Is 'Important, Positive'

EXCLUSIVE

Jeff Gordon says Bubba Wallace isn't just important to NASCAR for being the first Black full-time driver at the top level in 46 years ... he's also a LEGIT badass behind the wheel. 

Wallace will drive the legendary No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports next season -- a tremendous honor ... since that's The King's car. 

Gordon says it's important to acknowledge the historical significance of having a black driver in the full-time circuit -- but says the real focus should be on what he can do on the track. 

Jeff also explains why he thinks there aren't more black drivers in the sport -- and how Wallace can help change that moving forward. 

Oh, and don't miss the part where our TMZ photog Charlie SAVES JEFF'S LIFE!!

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