Bubba Wallace’s Crew Chief Says Team Got a ‘Reality Check’ in NASCAR Daytona Road Course Race

Published 02/24/2021, 1:13 PM EST
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) makes a pit stop during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


In the buildup to the 2021 Cup Series season, the 23XI Racing team set up many lofty targets. Unfortunately, two races are already complete and the team have not had the best of starts. At the Daytona 500, Bubba Wallace finished in 17th place, which was fairly average.

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However, at the Daytona road course, Wallace plummeted even further, finishing in a lowly 26th place. In light of this poor showing, Crew Chief Mike Wheeler confessed that this was a reality check for Wallace and the team. He said, “We knew at some point we’d have hiccups. It’s part of the growing pains we’ll go through.”

💬 on yesterday pic.twitter.com/TdzbX7nFKx

— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) February 22, 2021

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Obviously, team owners Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan cannot expect instant success. It is rare for a brand new team to suddenly start challenging for wins, and they have to take baby steps.
Of course, Wallace and the team do have very specific targets in mind, namely getting into the Playoffs.

What can Bubba Wallace do to improve?

Truthfully speaking, it is still early days, especially with just 2 races completed. This means that the African-American driver has plenty of time to get his act together and mount a stronger challenge.
He certainly has the capability to challenge for top positions, but he needs a capable car under him.
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Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) gets ready for the restart of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In previous years, Wallace has been able to wrangle great results from his car. In fact, he was well known for outperforming the capabilities of his car.

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Admittedly, Bubba Wallace has been unlucky in the past couple of races where has was caught up in a few incidents. In light of this, he is now firmly aware that he needs to be extra cautious in the coming races.
It is also worth mentioning that the 23XI Racing car has not fully explored its capabilities. However, Wallace seems like the right person to bring out the best in the car, and Hamlin and Jordan have placed a lot of faith in him.

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DIVE DEEPER
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Dhruv George

11291 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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