Phil Spain’s life changes with Bubba Wallace winning MoneyLion contest

By Seth Eggert, Editor

A contest of 23XI Race sponsor SilverLion saw two fans randomly chosen to have their MoneyLion usernames on cars at Kansas Circuit. For one of those two lucky fans, Bubba Wallace’s win marked a life-changing day.

The competition

The competition was launched by MoneyLion in July.

Phil Spain’s username was on Wallace’s Toyota Camry Root Insurance #45 for the Hollywood Casino 400. Meanwhile, “$Mcdoug1234” was on Ty Gibbs’ Toyota #23 McDonald’s. The two won $500 when they were chosen to be part of 23XI Racing’s respective entries.

If either driver won, the respective MoneyLion user would win a month’s worth of gas and $10,000.

“It’s been a long time since I got in and I’ve been hoping for the pick over the last few months,” Spain admitted. “As with every contest, I never thought I really stood a chance. The odds always seemed too good. (Did I imagine we would) win? Never in a million years. I was just happy with the experience.

the race

Bubba Wallace and Phil Spain during a 2021 appearance. Photo courtesy of Phil Spain.

Contests like these are nothing new to the NASCAR Cup Series community. They typically range from handing out free souvenirs, to race tickets, to meet and greets. Sponsor or team contests to win money rarely see the fan walk away with the full prize, simply because of the condition that the driver had to win the race.

However, Wallace fulfilled that condition, making the second race of the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs a race Spain will never forget.

“I was able to concentrate (on the race) until the moment [Wallace] took the lead,” explained Spain. “I looked on board and muted the TV, mostly to reduce the noise. When he did the double pass on Kyle Larson, William Byron and Alex Bowman started getting bigger and bigger in the windshield, I started to get excited.

“I normally transcribe radio updates, but I just kept quiet. My girlfriend Sarah was texting me and I wasn’t answering…I just started pacing around the house. I came in after the pit stops and was convinced Bell was going to catch him, but he held the serve. I still had the “what if” in the back of my head around 10 years ago. I was sure a warning would go out, but I couldn’t believe it when it didn’t.

“The whole last lap I turned my back on the TV until I heard it coming on the radio and I got super excited.”

This feeling of victory

Phil Spain's life changed thanks to a MoneyLion contest and Bubba Wallace's victory at Kansas Speedway.
Bubba Wallace leads at Kansas Speedway. Photo by Rachel Schuoler / Kickin’ the Tires.

It was about 10 seconds after Wallace took the checkered flag that the weight of the race began. First, he cheered for the win. Then he clicked for Spain as Wallace’s win netted him $10,000.

As a bonus of being among the first to win the MoneyLion competition during their time as sponsor for 23XI Racing, Spain will be invited to Bristol Motor Circuit, on the stand of Wallace’s Toyota Camry n°45. The Making Memories Contest will continue to provide Owings Mills, Maryland with Indigenous experiences that will last a lifetime.

“When I won the $500, they just asked for my information and said I would see the money soon,” Spain explained. “I thought after winning it would be the same, no big surprise. And to my surprise on Monday around 8.30am I got an email from MoneyLion asking if I could fly to Bristol to get the money and a few other goodies.

“I was already going there this weekend, but that made it even more enjoyable.”

The story continues

Phil Spain's life changed thanks to a MoneyLion contest and Bubba Wallace's victory at Kansas Speedway.
Bubba Wallace takes second place from William Byron. Photo by Rachel Schuoler / Kickin’ the Tires.

Wallace’s win was the second of his NASCAR Cup Series career. He is the first and only African-American driver to have won more than one Cup Series victory. NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott was the first African American to win the Cup in 1961.

Wallace’s victory also locked the No. 45 23XI Racing into the Round of 16 for the owner playoff.

While the $10,500 Spain won isn’t the nearly $1 million someone won on FanDuel during the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, it’s still a sum of life changing money. It also shows that the contest’s drivers, manufacturers, sponsors and teams are still meaningful to NASCAR fans.

“I’ve always believed that the best way to show sponsors that you want them to stay and do things is to interact with them when they give away gifts or use their products in everyday life,” noted Spain. “I’ve been a 23XI fan since the jump. I use brands and places that believe in their vision. They prove that all of these moments are possible when you believe in them, and they believe in you to be some sort of brand ambassador.

Plan for the future

Phil Spain's life changed thanks to a MoneyLion contest and Bubba Wallace's victory at Kansas Speedway.
Phil Spain and Bubba Wallace’s watcher Freddie Kraft. Photo courtesy of Phil Spain.

As for Spain’s plans for the money, and how it has changed his life, he is already looking ahead. The $10,500 erases a small overdraft he had and makes the decision for a trip to the 2023 Daytona 500 a little easier.

The rest he will put aside for the future of his family.

“It’s a bit embarrassing to say, but I had a little overdraft,” admitted Spain. “I wasn’t too worried because payday was coming soon. But it changed my life in a big way. We were just talking about how we wanted to get to Daytona in February and how we were going to have to budget and find a hotel quickly. And now it makes that experience easier.

“My daughter has just started kindergarten, so the plan is to set her aside a bit for the future. I also plan to move in about a year from now, so that’s a boon for my future. .

The Bass Pro Shops night race, where Spain will be in the #45 Wallace Toyota Camry pit, is scheduled for Saturday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m. on USA Network.

The race will also be broadcast on Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Rachel Schuoler / Kickin’ the Tires.