“He Is in the Bottom…” – Michael Jordan’s 23XI Could Be Heading for Disappointment Despite Inspirational Comeback

Published 09/01/2023, 4:07 PM EDT

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The engines are set to roar, the rubber is ready to burn, and the drama of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs is about to engulf fans again. As the green flag waves at the iconic Darlington Raceway this Sunday, many questions and narratives hang like exhaust fumes.

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For the stars of Michael Jordan, Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick, the playoff stage has been both a tantalizing dream and a vexing nightmare: Teammates and rivals—a dichotomy that pulses through the veins of every sports narrative.

Sharing a bond woven by the ambition to clinch the coveted Cup Series championship, their rivalry adds spice to this racing stew. Here is Reddick leading in points and victories; there, Wallace‘s qualification has become a moot point. Undefiantly career-defining, it has prompted a tug-of-war that has promised exhilarating battles on the track.

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Precarious position for Reddick as he tries to escape the opening round curse

For Tyler, with two previous appearances in the Cup Series playoffs, he is yet to escape the clutches of the opening round. Now, armed with a triumphant win at Circuit of the Americas earlier in the year, Reddick is perched on the cutline’s precipice, just two points away from danger. The key to his survival? Avoiding the pitfall of mistakes on the treacherous track of Darlington and the unforgiving pit road.

During the podcast of JC’s Garage, JC Fickenscher stated, “So I’m going to say Reddick is the one that falls out. They’ve been kind of inconsistent even though I know the next round would be very good for Tyler Reddick. I just don’t think that he’s been consistent enough here as of late. I mean he didn’t really show up at Indianapolis Road Course. It wasn’t really a factor at Watkins Glen. They were running okay. 

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“Him and Ty Gibbs both were in Daytona and they got kind of mixed up and some stuff, but he’s just really been a non-factor here for the past month or so. I think that he’s only said he went plus two above the cut line. All it takes is just one of these guys below the cut line to have a really good day and then all of a sudden he is in the bottom looking up. So I think he falls out.”

Amidst this, drivers like Bubba Wallace, despite lacking a win this season, have been more consistent in the last handful of races, catching the eyes of analysts and fans alike. Wallace has precisely navigated the bumps and turns required to make it to the round of 16, outpacing Reddick in recent weeks. So, is Reddick just a placeholder in the Cup Series playoffs?

Watch This Story: Michael Jordan’s Prodigy Heaves His Frustration Keeping the Playoff Hopes Burning

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Bubba Wallace has ascended from an average of 21.35 points per race last year to 23.85 points this season. He toppled giants from racing titans like Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and Team Penske, securing his place in the playoffs. With teammate Tyler Reddick as a fellow contender, the stakes are nothing short of monumental.

“Looking at Kansas, I don’t think Bubba Wallace will win, but he’s been very consistent here these last handful of races and he’s done exactly what he needs to do to get into the round of 16 and I think he can continue that trend in these first three races.”

“I know he’s not very good at Bristol, but or Darlington, but or I think he has a pretty good shot at Kansas. He can win that race and win his way into the round of 12. I think he’ll be sitting pretty.”

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From the hardwood to the asphalt—Michael Jordan’s championship aura knows no bounds. His 23XI Racing venture has elevated the NASCAR realm, and his drivers are poised to chase glory. As Jordan fuels the fervor, the legacy of a sports icon shapes the narrative, intertwining basketball and NASCAR in a tapestry of dreams and victories.

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Written by:

Brahmi Dhaytadak

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Brahmi Dhaytadak is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. She combines her love for F1, Tennis, and NASCAR into electrifying prose that sets the hearts of her readers racing. Whether it was the finesse of Charles Leclerc's maneuvers around Monaco or the artistry of Roger Federer's racket, everything inspired Brahmi to venture into the field of sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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