Infuriated Bubba Wallace Calls Out Michael Jordan’s Superstar As Every Man for Himself Ploy Goes Up in Flames

Published 10/01/2023, 10:51 PM EDT

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At the close of the Talladega playoff race, it wasn’t one of NASCAR’s most celebrated African-American drivers greeting the pit reporters, but rather a face of defeat. Bubba Wallace, the brainchild of Michael Jordan at 23Xi Racing, who had a promising shot at victory on familiar terrain and a chance to progress in the playoffs, saw his hopes dashed due to a cascade of events.

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To add salt to the wound, while the entire 23Xi team grappled with challenges, including their boss, Denny Hamlin, being penalized for speeding on pit road and subsequently losing a lap, Bubba Wallace appeared most vexed with his own teammate for the day’s tribulations.

Is the chasm widening between the drivers of Michael Jordan?

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In the hushed media conversations before the race at Talladega, the #45 driver made no bones about his game plan. His words, echoing self-reliance, uttered, “You help yourself by helping your line for the most part.” Little did anyone expect such stringent adherence to such a mantra.

However, it became glaringly clear on the racecourse. The star driver of the Michael Jordan team held his ground, leading to certain actions that didn’t sit well with Bubba Wallace. Never one to beat around the bush, Kyle Petty claimed the “mentally fragile” driver didn’t hold back his discontent regarding Tyler Reddick in his post-race interview.

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His words painted the picture: I hate it for us, hate it for the #45 because I told him when I restart, don’t lift, and we should have just stayed in line and kind of rode it out, maybe until the last lap. It would have been a different outcome. But we were too buried to win the race, unfortunately. So, not a tournament race car, just the right front sliding there. So, no damage, but, all in all, just not the day that we needed.”

Despite the air filled with competition within the team itself, and Bubba Wallace himself asserting the rivalrous nature of the sport—“Yes, it is nice to be able to have people to rely on and get some insight from, but at the end of the day, they are competitors”—his confidence in breaking into the top 8 remains unshaken amidst the turmoil.

Watch This Story: Michael Jordan Rescues 30 Million Music Star From Humiliation at Bristol Before Big Air Jordan Launch

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Bubba Wallace unveils his blueprint for playoff advancement

The trajectory of the 23XI driver, Bubba Wallace, in the playoffs, illustrates a significant leap from his regular-season performance. His steadfast showing in the preceding four playoff races positions him favorably on the grid.

Positioned at 10th, a mere 9 points shy of the cutoff, Wallace’s buoyant outlook is notable. As per motorsport.com, his strategy emanates hope: “Usually when the playoffs start, there’s at least going to be two or three playoff cars that are going to take care of themselves. Whether that’s failures, crashes, penalties, whatever, (we’ll) try not to be one of those.” You go out and make sure you have a good day.”

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Michael Jordans’ Garage Bound for Conflict As Star Driver Lodges Self-Centered Claims Despite Teammates’ Lack of Experience

However, according to his own post-race confession, the Talladega race day didn’t align with his team’s aspirations. Given this backdrop, all eyes are set on what the protégé of Michael Jordan, along with his team, might pull off in the climactic race of the second round. Will they weave a strategic path forward, or will Charlotte morph into a do-or-die juncture for them? Your thoughts?

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer for EssentiallySports. Her ability to capture the spirit of the exhilarating races and relay the enthusiasm to her readers distinguishes her as a sports journalist. Neha's articles strike a nice balance between technical accuracy and story-telling.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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