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!!