Key Statistics Reflect How Bubba Wallace Outperformed his Equipment in 2020 NASCAR Season

Published 12/21/2020, 12:20 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)


Without a doubt, Bubba Wallace is a hugely talented driver and now the statistics have proven it. According to data analysis, Wallace definitely exceeded expectations by a country mile.

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His Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) team was theoretically a car that could only manage the 24th fastest car. However, nobody told Bubba Wallace that, or he simply ignored it. As it turns out, he became one of the biggest overachievers in 2020.

This is largely down to the team expectations, while he has often run in the top-15. Unfortunately, the driver is still a bit helpless behind the wheel of the 24th-fastest car. Despite this, Wallace managed to stick his car into the top-15 on three occasions.

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Bubba Wallace proves why many consider him ‘underrated’

As per Motorsports Analytics’ data, when it came to affinity to avoid crashes, especially among the positions 20th to 25th, he ranked in the 78th percentile. It also helped that he was quite good at restarts, especially compared to his track position.

However, it is worth mentioning that not all the statistics are positive, as he struggled in long-run passing. Despite this, he has managed to produce a 0.542 rating, compared to 0.056 and 0.042 in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Evidently, NBA legend Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin paid attention to such stats, or they would not have approached Bubba Wallace to race for their brand new team, 23XI Racing.

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)

Obviously, 23XI Racing’s own pace is an unanswered question. However, considering that Wallace has statistically proved that he can bring out the best in the car, the team seems in good hands.

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On the other end of the spectrum, the proof is in the pudding. This means that all answers will eventually surface when 2021 gets underway. The team already has a target of reaching the playoffs, as per Denny Hamlin’s declaration.

He acknowledged that they need consistent results within the top-15. If possible, Wallace will need to start challenging for race wins, though that may not be an immediate target.

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Dhruv George

11625 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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