Lacking Apologies Leave Bubba Wallace Baffled as He Pitifully Concedes Defeat to Michael Jordan’s Superstar

Published 10/09/2023, 6:37 AM EDT

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Four more drivers are set to bid farewell to the 2023 playoffs. As the NASCAR Cup Series gets closer to judgment day at Phoenix with every passing day, race weekends have often become bearers of mixed news. After this weekend’s race at Charlotte Roval, new names have been cut out of the final 8, including Kyle Busch, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski, and Ross Chastain. Bubba Wallace has done a decent job, with some positives to underline for his debut appearance in the playoffs and bring glory to team owner Michael Jordan.

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Coming out of Charlotte with a P16 finish was harsh on Bubba. The 27-year-old had a great pace in practice sessions, contrary to the belief that he was relatively weak on road courses. The desperation to win to qualify for the next round added a pinch of hunger to Bubba’s case. However, in the way too many cooks can spoil a broth, Bubba got overzealous mid-race, and unfortunately, it turned out against him.

Bubba Wallace explains what went wrong for him in Charlotte

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Earlier in August, after the end of the regular season finale at Daytona, 23XI Racing team owners Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin were joyous to see Bubba Wallace achieve a feat that had remained distant in his career. Although critics doubted Bubba’s talent to prove himself worthy of a playoff spot, Bubba defied significant odds to qualify for the round of 12. Even on Saturday, he proved incredibly fast in practice and qualified for P4.

At the end of stage 1, Bubba Wallace was among the frontrunners. In P2, after the first stage, he felt confident about the race as he continued with his way in stage 2, finishing P7. However, with only 22 laps remaining until the end of the race, the No. 23 came into contact with Trackhouse Racing driver Daniel Suarez on the backstretch chicane, where the serpentine curve has made it a contact-prone zone.

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Suarez turning into the back of the two sent Bubba Wallace back to the back of the pack, from where a daunting task began for No. 23. Speaking to popular reporter Bob Pockrass after his elimination, he admired teammate Tyler Reddick’s ability to hold his own in dirty air and congestion. “I wasn’t able to get through traffic like the #45 was. So I need to work on that, and put ourselves in better spots to not get wrecked. I wanna say surprised since no one’s walked up and said sorry.” said the #23 driver.

Watch This Story: Bubba Wallace unveils Kyle Busch’s Tough Love approach 

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The 23XI driver is excited about what’s next for the Michael Jordan-owned team

With this result, the 30-year-old will reflect on the results he has accumulated in his first playoff campaign. With so much to bank on for next season, undeniably Bubba Wallace will want to make the most of it. “I’m pumped for our season. It’s not over yet. I’m really excited for next week and Homestead and Martinsville. Phoenix, eh? I might just go on vacation. But we’ve still got four races to go out and do it,” said Bubba in a post-race statement.

The No. 23’s elimination also brings some critics and haters back online. Ever since his debut in the Cup, Bubba Wallace has found it hard to stay away from hate and controversy from fans and social media platforms. Being the only driver of color in the nation’s premier stock-car racing tournament has been a rough ride for him. Being under the guidance of legends like Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin has also created more expectations for him.

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“We weren’t supposed to be here, according to a lot of people, but we proved them wrong and then proved a lot of people in the garage wrong that you can’t really count on the No. 23 at a road course race. That’s cool to say. Got to continue to work.” claimed an unfazed Bubba Wallace. 2023 will prove to be a pivotal year in Bubba’s career, without a doubt. With a playoff debut, a maiden playoff podium finish, and a ton of memories and experience, Bubba’s 2024 might turn out to be sensational.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. With a strong affinity for automobile design, it didn't take long for him to translate that into his love for the sport. He is a big admirer of Kyle Busch and believes that the Richard Childress Driver still has his best years ahead of him along with his ability to walk the talk.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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