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via Getty

via Getty

Following the penultimate race of the regular season, Bubba Wallace finds himself confronting a critical juncture. The coveted playoff spot, currently in his grasp, hangs by a thread and is up for grabs. With one race remaining – the Daytona – the fate of the 16th spot looms. 

Post-race after the Watkins Glen race, Wallace reflected on his race strategy, seemingly acknowledging his naysayers in a heartbreaking admission. 

Bubba Wallace’s Candid Confession as He Battles Self-Doubt

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For Bubba Wallace, a triumph at Daytona might just be the remedy to his current woes, an antidote to what he candidly described as a situation “still stressful as hell.” A stroke of fortune in this direction could significantly shift the dynamics in Bubba’s favor. Conversely, a lack of such serendipity could spell the end of his playoff journey.

The 23XI Racing driver expressed newfound pride in his performance after the road-course race, a sentiment he hadn’t experienced before. He acknowledged his improved execution and unwavering focus, stating “I’m proud of myself. That’s the first time I’ve felt proud of myself after a road-course race. I just executed and didn’t lose focus, maybe one time, and that’s a difference-maker. You’ve got to stay on it, especially at these places. We wanted to maintain our gap (over 17th) and not lose too many, but we gained. Hats off to everybody.”

Ahead of the race, Wallace sought advice from six-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, focusing on the mental aspect of racing. Wallace welcomed guidance that could prove beneficial in future races, including the upcoming Daytona event.

Reflecting on his mindset before the road-course race, Wallace shared the transformative impact of Dixon’s advice. The champion driver’s words encouraged Wallace to silence his self-doubt, recognizing his own worth and abilities. This newfound self-belief played a pivotal role in Wallace’s performance. As per Yahoo News, he said, “It’s hard when you climb in at a road-course race and tell yourself that you’re going to crash and you’re going to suck. He [Dixon] basically told me to shut the hell up and I’m here for a reason and to trust in myself and believe in myself.” 

Sadly, ‘you’re going to suck’ is something fans have not shied away from saying to Wallace.

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Wallace, currently in a delicate situation, treads carefully, building his path to defend the 16th spot. A 12th-place finish at Watkins yielded valuable points. Anticipating his resurgence, Michael McDowell, the Indy race winner, previously discussed with Denny Hamlin how Wallace’s presence posed a playoff threat.

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USA Today via Reuters

Speaking to Hamlin, McDowell recalled how they foresaw Bubba Wallace’s moves on tracks like Pocono and Michigan. McDowell’s team, Front Row Motorsports, understood the fluctuating nature of the competition which Wallace executed impressively, accumulating significant points lead. However, as they noticed his advantage, their team felt the pressure to perform exceptionally. 

“We knew Bubba was going to go to Pocono, Michigan, those places. We knew that we have a shot at winning stages and winning the race, these three weeks coming up. We knew it was going to ebb and flow. Bubba did a great job executing those three weeks. He was like 50-something points ahead, we’re like ‘Aww man! We’re going to have to kill it! We’re going to have to crush it to make that up’.”

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WATCH THIS STORY: Bubba Wallace Insider Urges NASCAR to Respond to Ryan Blaney’s Plea for Help

All eyes are now fixed on Daytona, as we await the final lineup of the top 16 for the playoffs.