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“We Never Had All Three”: Bubba Wallace Reveals Michael Jordan’s Team’s Biggest Flaw That Could Cost Them the Round of 8

Published 10/01/2023, 3:13 PM EDT

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Once again, spectators have gathered to witness the live roar of stock car engines! Yet another playoff race awaits in Talladega and it is unlike any other that we have seen in this racing year. The fastest NASCAR track on the land poses some crucial challenges and will decide the fates of the drivers who are vying to book their seats in the round of 8. One among those racing icons is 23XI Racing’s star driver Bubba Wallace.

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Finishing the last race at Texas in a commendable P3 position, Wallace missed out on a great opportunity to visit the victory lane. Now, the 29-year-old will be seeking redemption behind his Toyota on Sunday. However, sitting down in front of the cameras in his hometown, Alabama, he disclosed a major flaw with his #23 team.

Michael Jordan’s driver exposes a flaw within the 23XI Racing garage


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Signing up with 23XI Racing in 2021, Bubba Wallace has showcased steady growth for the last 3 seasons. Since getting into the playoffs this year, he has put up some strong performances and proven that he is not a driver to be discarded easily. His blistering pace at the Texas Motor Speedway was a testament to that. But this performance was not consistent all throughout the season or even the playoffs. It is a known fact that he barely managed to get into the round of 16 and the round of 12.

Talking to the press in his pre-race conference, Wallace appeared to understand what his #23 team lacked throughout the season and what they needed to do going ahead. Answering a question about whether the Texas performance made him believe that they were a top 5 or top 10 team, Wallace expressed that he always believed that. Continuing to explain what they’d been missing, he said, “I guess if you divide it between three pieces of the pie—driver, pit crew, crew chief—I feel like a lot of times, we’re showing up with two of the three slices. We never had all three.”


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Wallace was also of the opinion that the recent performance at Texas was a showcase of when all the “three pieces of the pie” came together. Continuing to detail his thoughts, the driver put out some much-needed optimism for himself and his team.

Bubba Wallace stands behind his #23 team going into the deadly Talladega Superspeedway


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The P3 finish in the Wild West was a disappointment for Bubba Wallace. The idea that he’d missed out on the win and a direct entry to the round of 8 had haunted the driver in his post-race interviews. Voicing the frustration rather openly, he seemed beaten up. But the mood at the 23XI Racing camp appears to have taken a U-Turn from there. Explaining his understanding of what the team lacked, Wallace continued to express how important it was to act and function as one unit rather than three.

Confiding that all they had to do was their A-game every week, he said, “…when you fight as one team and you show up to the racetrack and you’re just ready to battle for whatever circumstances come your way. That is what makes us so good. We feel like we can overcome anything as long as we don’t take ourselves out. So… the races can get long, super long, super long and you can dial yourself right out. But you have the right people in the right place to help you out, it makes that transitional easy.”


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Toyotas have been among the fastest on the track this year. Currently just two points below the cut-line, should Wallace display good speed and manage to stay out of wrecks, his chances do appear very positive. We won’t have to wait long to see where the driver’s optimism leads him at the Talladega Superspeedway! Watch the Essentially Sports NASCAR page for quick updates on the race.

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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:

Nischal Kandpal