Can Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson Achieve a Unique Feat at the NASCAR Daytona 500?

Published 02/10/2021, 12:00 PM 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)


The ‘Great American Race’ is fast approaching for the NASCAR drivers. The NASCAR Daytona 500 presents drivers with a chance to enter the history books, and two-time defending champion Denny Hamlin aims to create history with three straight wins. However, his co-owned team 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace and Hendrick’s Kyle Larson are also chasing history.

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Wallace and Larson are two of those drivers, for whom the Daytona 500 will be the first race for a new team. At this year’s Daytona 500, both those drivers will aim to do something that has not been done in 11 years now.
Since 2010, no driver racing for a team for the very first time has won their first points Cup Series race for that team at the prestigious Daytona 500.

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Jamie McMurray, who will return to NASCAR for this weekend’s Daytona 500, won the event in 2010 in his first race for Chip Ganassi Racing as he returned to the team after four years.
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)

Who are the others chasing the feat with Kyle Larson and Bubba Wallace?

Along with Wallace and Larson, three other drivers will attempt to bag the same achievement. Erik Jones will run his first race in the no. 43 car at Richard Petty Motorsports, replacing Wallace.
Meanwhile, Ross Chastain at Chip Ganassi Racing and Christopher Bell at Joe Gibbs Racing are the other two first-timers with their respective teams.
Wallace’s first race with 23XI Racing, owned by Hamlin and Michael Jordan, will attract a lot of attention. The fact that Wallace registered his best finish in NASCAR Cup Series at the Daytona 500 itself three years ago, helps his confidence going into the 2021 race.

See you soon, @DAYTONA 🤘 pic.twitter.com/Y0u90K03LP

— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) February 5, 2021

As his team’s co-owner, Hamlin, chases his own piece of history, it will be interesting to see the on-track battle between the two men. Wallace will look to get off to the strongest start possible.

Will Larson make an impactful return to NASCAR?

On the other hand, Larson makes a huge move himself. The former Chip Ganassi driver is set to run the returning no. 5 car at Hendrick Motorsports.

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RICHMOND, VA – APRIL 29: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
With the Hendrick equipment, Larson will certainly fancy his chances to prove a point in his return to NASCAR after almost a year, at the Daytona 500.
While Larson and Wallace chase the feat, Jones, Bell, and Chastain will provide a huge challenge to them. All these drivers want to get the new chapters of their careers off to the best start, and what better way than the Daytona 500 to do so?

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Aayush Majumdar

939 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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