Unpaid Bills May Bite Bubba Wallace as Rick Hendrick Superstar Eyes Talladega Seize

Published 09/29/2023, 12:19 PM EDT

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On the track of Texas, Hendrick Motorsports proved that they have no intention of slowing down and nothing can stand between the team and their championship contention. With a contingent so strong and fortified in nature, Rick Hendrick’s NASCAR team surfs in a league of its own, while the other teams pants for breath. While it was a collective victory for the HMS organization after William Byron scored the 300th win for the team, for Kyle Larson it was a singular loss.

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After leading for 99 laps and being just steps away from surpassing Bubba Wallace, to score his second playoff victory, Larson fell victim to his poor fate. As he crashed out of the race, the hopes of notching the milestone crashed down. Nevertheless, with NASCAR gearing up for the most awaited playoff race, will the speedster of NASCAR be able to give a payback to Michael Jordan’s prodigy Bubba Wallace and end his superspeedway blight?

Will Kyle Larson overcome his Talladega trauma?

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If one rewinds back to the spring race in Talladega in the ongoing season, one will surely remember the cataclysmic event that involved Kyle Larson and Ryan Preece. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver T-boned Kyle Larson’s car on the passenger side and mangled the rollbars of his car. This incident prompted the authorities to prioritize the safety of the drivers.

Fast forwarding to the playoffs, Kyle Larson has surely risen to the championship contention, especially after his victory in Darlington. However, his favorable run came to a halt after the Texas debacle. The No.5 Chevrolet driver, after running alongside the polesitter Bubba Wallace, was caught in an aero effect, which sent him spinning on the track, before slamming to the outside wall. 

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As a result, it was his teammate William Byron who surged from behind the field to take the place of Larson and surpass Bubba Wallace. The prodigy clinched his sixth victory of the season and also the 300 victories for the organization by just leading for the last 7 laps of the race.

Compelled to retire from the race early, Larson was relegated to the 31st position in the race and now has two points between him and the elimination line. Moreover, with the next race at Talladega, it will be an uphill battle for the driver as he may look to settle the score with Bubba Wallace, paying him back for the Texas woes. It is a no-brainer that Larson has never been a superspeedway driver. He has scored only two top-20 finishes in the past five starts and with the possibilities of going awry.

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Will Bubba Wallace’s superspeedway dominance bear fruit in Talladega?

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On the contrary, the 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace has a higher chance of turning the table and claiming his first victory of the season on the track of the superspeedway, the wild card race of the season.

Bubba Wallace had clinched his first Cup Series victory on the track of Talladega after the race was shortened due to weather inclement. Moreover, unlike Larson, Bubba Wallace is known to be good at superspeedways and has two second-place finishes on the iconic tracks of Daytona. 

Furthermore, the No.23 Toyota driver was also in contention of winning the spring race in Talladega, but on-track wreckage threw a wrench in the works and pushed him back. Nevertheless, the driver is in dire need of a victory or a top-10 finish as he stands, two points below the cutline, along with the looming threat of Kyle Larson, who would try and seize a favorable finish in the race to qualify for the Round of 8.

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 With that being said, the intensifying rivalry between Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson and the quest to advance in the Round of 8 will be a unique spectacle to watch on Sunday.

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Written by:

Ayantika Maitra

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Ayantika Maitra is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. It was initially Formula 1 that made her fall in love with the world of motorsports. But quickly, the raw and unfiltered nature of NASCAR is what led her to build an affinity for the Stock Car Racing Series.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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