“Some Guys Can Figure It Out” – 23XI Racing Crew Chief on Bubba Wallace and His First Season With Them

Published 08/17/2021, 6:59 AM EDT
Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez (99) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season is the debut season for the 23XI Racing team. So far, the fledgling outfit has been relatively sluggish, but believe that they have made progress. According to crew chief Mike Wheeler, the team has finally hit the ground running. However, he knows that showcasing their performance, courtesy of Bubba Wallace, on track, is a different story.

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“Getting Bubba (Darrell Wallace) used to driving a (Joe Gibbs Racing) car, a Toyota, there are a lot of things with every track you go to that he’s not as comfortable with and we are still changing, like brake pedals and braking systems to make him what he needs,” said Wheeler.

“It’s unique because every driver is slightly different — some guys can figure it out, other guys you have to go testing to see what things you have to change.’

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How has Bubba Wallace performed in the 2021 season?

Wheeler confessed that the team has endured a few issues early in the season and it has cost them. Nevertheless, he is still thrilled that his team has been able to make other teams sweat.

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However, he warned that the smallest mistake can be very very costly. In essence, it is very easy to go from the 10th fastest car to the 20th fastest car.

Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) gets ready for the restart of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to Bubba Wallace, some of their struggles have been down to the fact that they are a new team. However, he also acknowledged that he was not completely blame-free either. It didn’t help matter that co-owners Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan set lofty expectations.

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So far, Wallace is at 21st in the standings ahead of the Brickyard 400. He also has one Top 5 finish to his name, which came at Pocono. Although his chances of making the playoffs are all but extinct, Bubba will be eager to salvage his season.

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Dhruv George

11987 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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