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Regardless of Defeat, Bubba Wallace’s Major Take Aways From Texas Packs Confidence in Michael Jordan’s Garage

Published 09/26/2023, 12:20 PM EDT

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The race at the Texas Motor Speedway uncharacteristically featured more than its usual level of drama and thrill. In what was the 30th race of the ongoing NASCAR season, Hendrick Motorsports’s No. 24 driver William Byron plunged in the final stages of the race for a dramatic victory over 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe. While the win catapulted him into the round of 8, Bubba who had dominated much of the race by leading a staggering 111 laps was left waiting for the race at Talladega for a shot at redemption.

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Considering the manner in which he had scraped through the competition’s levels thus far, his P3 at Texas gives him a cushion that he has always lacked. Getting behind their cameras, reporters Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi shared their thoughts on his Texas advantage and how he ought to make use of it.

The last-minute defeat that is also Bubba Wallace’s best day of the year


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In what is quickly becoming his second season without a win with 23XI Racing, Bubba stands facing the risk of his championship hopes dying on him. Considering that this is the first time that he races in the Cup Series playoffs, his sporadic top-notch performances can go either way in the coming races. Regardless of what the future holds for him, his driving in Texas provides him some breathing space. Though a win would have meant much more, he will have to settle for what’s his now. But as voiced by Jordan Bianchi, he is not in as bad a position as he was just weeks before.

Bubba’s lead of 111 laps was the best of his career. Barely making a mistake through the race, he had given his team one of their best moments at the track. Reflecting on the positives of it, Jordan said, “They had a great weekend. Let’s not discount that. I mean, started on the pole, Bubba ran a really really good race in challenging conditions, managed the race. Really didn’t make any mistakes and could have gotten about the restart at the end, but I don’t think that’s a mistake per se. Just a really good overall, great day for this team.”


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The finish at Texas means that the No. 23 driver goes to Talladega, one of his better tracks, with a good number of points in the bag. Should he be able to repeat his performance at Texas and capitalize on the mistake of others like William Byron did to him, he might as well get his season’s first win. But that is easier said than done, as Jordan’s counterpart Jeff Gluck explains.

WATCH THIS STORY | Crushed Bubba Wallace Drops 2-Word Confession as Michael Jordan Loses Crown to Rick Hendrick

What will it take for Denny Hamlin’s No. 23 driver to secure his round of 8 spot?


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29-year-old Bubba has been driving for the Denny Hamlin-Michael Jordan partnership since the 2021 season. Improving his performances and developing his skills every year, he has managed to enter the playoffs this time. And as fate would have he is into the round of 12, as well. But after Texas, what is it going to take for him to get to the next level of the game? Talladega happens to be one of the tracks that he has shown prominence in earlier races. His best finish at the track was his win in 2021. Being a high-speed track, Bubba’s Toyota will get to have a field with the pace that the maker’s cars have been showing all year. But it’s not necessarily a win that he needs there.

Responding to Jordan, Jeff Gluck said, “I mean look, you know Talladega whether he wins or not, if you can run up front get stage points, don’t crash somehow, and you get a top ten, you go to the Roval, with some sort of cushion. Because you know other people are going to crash. I mean yeah, he could… he just has to be above the cut line going to the Roval. He can’t be below the cut line and expect to do what he did at Bristol.”


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Bubba’s race at Bristol had come down to a P14 finish, courtesy of which he was able to get to Texas. But a repeat of that will not aid him at this stage of the game on a track like the Charlotte Motor Speedway. So, in all essence, Talladega might make or break the No. 23 team’s beating heart in the playoffs. Let us know what you think of his chances at NASCAR’s fastest track next weekend!

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Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam


One take at a time

Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar