“Taken Big Steps” – Denny Hamlin Sends Motivational Message for Bubba Wallace, NASCAR Team 23XI Racing

Published 03/31/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
Feb 11, 2021; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) leads the field during the Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Bubba Wallace has not had the best of starts on the race track in his maiden season with 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. It has been just seven races into the season, but the Michael Jordan-Denny Hamlin-owned team is learning things the hard way.

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However, in Monday’s dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Wallace and 23XI Racing showed a glimpse of what they can do. Wallace ran in the top-10 much of the day and was steady in seventh place.

But issues with his car in difficult conditions on the dirt track spoiled the race for Wallace, who eventually finished 27th. The No. 23 Cup driver was disappointed with the finish but showed optimism towards the future.

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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

Bubba Wallace disappointed with Bristol result but stays positive

It was the first time this season that Wallace looked like a competitor for the front of the field. The Bristol run came on the back of consecutive 16th-place finishes and he now looks forward to the big break for the team.

“They knew we were there. Not the result @DoorDash or this @23XIRacing racing team deserved after grinding and making improvement after improvement. Heads high, forward progress, we’ll catch our break,” Wallace tweeted.

Co-owner Hamlin gave his driver some further motivation, suggesting the team has taken big steps in recent weeks.

Wallace and Denny Hamlin keen on getting the ‘process’ right

Since the inception of the team, Hamlin’s focus was on the process. That was his message to Wallace as well and the former Richard Petty Motorsports driver is focusing on the same.

Shortly before the Bristol race, Wallace echoed those thoughts from Hamlin, suggesting that the focus is on continuous improvement.

“From the beginning, (co-owner Denny Hamlin) was big on progression, just getting everything underneath us. We’ve had some things not go our way but been quick to capitalize on that and make sure that doesn’t happen again. We’ll just continue to go on,” he expressed

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The early hiccups were expected, but the biggest positive for the team is that the last three weeks have shown real progress. With support from Toyota and Hamlin’s team, Joe Gibbs Racing, 23XI Racing is also expected to do well sooner than later.

That is the pressure Wallace will deal with for the rest of the season, in which the next stop is the Martinsville Speedway next weekend.

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DIVE DEEPER

Senior NASCAR Official Hails Impact Created by Michael Jordan, Bubba Wallace and 23XI Racing: “Future Is Stunningly Bright”

4 months ago

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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