“What We Want to See” – Denny Hamlin Happy With Bubba Wallace’s ‘Great Job’ in NASCAR Daytona 500

Published 02/15/2021, 8:00 AM EST
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) makes a pit stop during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


It might not have been the dream start for Bubba Wallace with 23XI Racing, but he showed enough signs of promise in the race. Having failed the pre-race inspection twice early on, NASCAR had resigned Wallace to start from the back of the grid.

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But team co-owner Denny Hamlin, who finished fifth in the event himself, had words of praise for the 27-year-old’s performance. Speaking in the post-race press conference, he appreciated Wallace’s 23XI Racing debut display.
Hamlin stated, “It was good, I thought it was all good, you know we worked together quite a few times. I actually thought that he was gonna win the second stage, but kind of a teaching moment.”

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Bubba Wallace did a great job overall, said a satisfied Denny Hamlin

“I told them over the radio he’s got to pull in front of me and just trust that I’m gonna push there. But yeah, it was almost like Truex was trying to block multiple lanes, and found himself in kind of a no-man’s-land there.”
Heading towards the closure of Stage 2, the No.23 Toyota was well in contention to overtake Kevin Harvick. But ultimately, the latter fended off the challenge and Wallace ended up securing third in the stage.
Hamlin continued, “Overall I thought he did a great job, not sure why he had to come back in, I don’t know if it was another loose wheel. I hope not, that’s like three times we’ve pulled lug nuts off in three races.”

The meeting has happened..

Now it’s time to race! pic.twitter.com/6D0IggXJo1

— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) February 13, 2021

Wallace eventually got collected in a final-lap crash at the ‘Great American Race’

“But good to see he was running up front and battling for stage wins. That’s what we want to see,” concluded the Joe Gibbs Racing No.11.

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Driving through the traffic and building some good pace on the super-speedway, Wallace put up some great moves. Therefore, it certainly was unfortunate when he got collected in the last-lap crash, finishing 17th in the race.
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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
Regardless, the showings from the first two stages would probably have given majority team owner Michael Jordan some amount of confidence. Wallace will look to take the momentum from the race, and perform even better the next time around.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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