Bubba Wallace Enjoys Perfect Start With 23XI Racing in NASCAR Daytona 500 Practice

Published 02/11/2021, 7:07 AM EST
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 02: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Covert Auto Group Chevrolet, walks on the grid during the Salute to Veterans Qualifying Day Fueled by The Texas Lottery for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

In the buildup to the 2021 Cup season, many have tipped Bubba Wallace to be a dark horse. Now, it seems that he is definitely living up to those expectations.

During the Wednesday practice session, he nearly breached the 200 mph barrier while drafting. This was enough to place him in the lead in the Daytona 500 practice.

As it turned out, the 23XI Racing driver stuck to the draft of the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota drivers. While tailing the Joe Gibbs quartet, he managed to clock a speed of 199.75 mph.

Speaking of the JGR drivers, Martin Truex Jr led everyone, with a top speed of 199.69 mph. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Christopher Bell all trailed the duo.

Fastest in first #DAYTONA500 practice: @BubbaWallace! pic.twitter.com/F1uj37d1Wq

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 10, 2021

How did the rest of the grid stack up behind Bubba Wallace?

Just outside the top five was NASCAR returnee, Jamie McMurray with a top speed of 199.62 mph. Behind him were Spire Motorsports teammate Corey LaJoie and Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell.

Ryan Newman and Cole Custer completed the top 10. Meanwhile, Erik Jones Matt DiBenedetto, Aric Almirola, and Chris Buescher rounded out the top 14.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 05: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet, stands by his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Needless to say, this potentially places Wallace in a great position. Although it would be prudent to suggest that he could win, stranger things have happened at the Daytona 500. It just so happens that Bubba Wallace has given himself a small advantage over his rivals.

All that is left for him to do is try and maintain a consistent performance throughout the race weekend. Of course, it could be difficult, especially since he has never visited Victory Lane in the Cup series.

However, there is a first time for everything. The manner in which Bubba Wallace has been performing in recent years, many have reason to believe that a maiden win is just around the corner and it could come in 2021 itself.


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Dhruv George

11301 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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