NASCAR: Bubba Wallace discusses new alliances for 2021

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Bubba Wallace shared some information about the alliances that new NASCAR Cup Series team 23XI Racing has with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.

Bubba Wallace is set for his first NASCAR Cup Series season with 23XI Racing this year after spending the last three seasons behind the wheel of the #43 Chevrolet for Richard Petty Motorsports.

The 27-year-old Mobile, Alabama native is set to drive the #23 Toyota for the new team started by NBA legend Michael Jordan and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin.

23XI Racing, one of only two full-time Toyota teams in the Cup Series, will have a technical alliance with the other — the four-car Toyota powerhouse of Joe Gibbs Racing.

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After speaking to him about his partnership with Kingsford and an exciting new initiative that they are running, we asked Wallace whether this has already become a deep partnership involving information and idea exchanges between himself and the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers: Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell.

“It is,” he said. “We’ll be in every Monday morning, meeting with the other four JGR cars. It’s not leaving any page unturned, all the notes are being shared. We’re getting all the same data that all five of us will be using. So it will be nice to be able to have those conversations with the drivers and feel what they like, what I like, and put it all together and make it work — and get both of our organizations into the playoffs.”

During his Daytona 500 media availability, he reiterated his goal to win two races this season, noting that everybody’s goal to win 36 races is unreasonable.

“I’ve had personal goals of two wins,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with having personal goals at all. For personal goal for everybody, everybody in the field to win every race, not really doable.”

We asked him what he hopes to take away from his first season with 23XI Racing beyond that personal goal — both from an individual standpoint and a team standpoint, especially with his team being a first-year organization.

“Just growing,” he stated. “It’s started up and we’re all kind of running around with our heads cut off, but it’s like organized chaos over here, and I’m proud of the work that all of my guys have done here at the shop to get our cars ready in such a short amount of time.

“It goes both ways for the partnerships with Toyota and JGR, helping getting the cars prepared and getting all the resources that we need from TRD (Toyota Racing Development). It’s all coming together quite nice. I know I wish we had some more time to get everything going, but no, just keep growing, just finish better than the week before.

“We had a good conversation with the leaders of our team. Once the spring comes through, try to do the best we can, but when summer comes around, be better than the spring, and then when fall comes around, be better than the summer. It’s just like, you gotta have goals. There’s layers to it, and you just gotta keep knocking them out of the park.”

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23XI Racing are set to make their competitive debut in the Busch Clash exhibition race at the Daytona International Speedway road course on Tuesday, February 9 with Ty Dillon behind the wheel of the #23 Toyota due to Bubba Wallace’s ineligibility to compete in that event. Fox Sports 1 is set to broadcast this race live beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Wallace is set to make his team debut in the official 2021 season opener, the 63rd annual Daytona 500, on Sunday, February 14. This race is set to be broadcast live on Fox from the track’s oval beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.