NASCAR: Bubba Wallace discusses Ty Dillon decision

Ty Dillon, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Bubba Wallace talked about Ty Dillon competing for 23XI Racing in the Busch Clash before the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season officially gets underway.

When 23XI Racing formed last year thanks to a partnership between NBA legend Michael Jordan and NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin, they selected Bubba Wallace to be their first driver.

Wallace is set to compete full-time behind the wheel of the #23 Toyota throughout the upcoming season after spending the last three seasons driving for Richard Petty Motorsports driving the #43 Chevrolet.

However, Wallace won’t actually get the chance to be the team’s first ever driver.

That is because he is ineligible to compete in the Busch Clash, but the team will be competing in it anyway.

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Ty Dillon drove for Germain Racing last year, and it was Germain Racing that ultimately folded and sold their charter to 23XI Racing, which effectively ended with him losing his seat. Dillon is still without a full-time ride for 2021. But he is ironically the driver who is slated to be the first to compete for 23XI Racing in a race.

Only 2020 Busch Pole Award winners, past Busch Clash winners, past Daytona 500 winners who competed full-time in 2020, past Daytona 500 polesitters who competed full-time in 2020, 2020 Cup Series playoff drivers, 2020 Cup Series race winners and 2020 Cup Series stage winners are eligible to compete in the Busch Clash.

Dillon won a stage at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval last season. Without a regular ride in which to compete in the Busch Clash and with Wallace being ineligible, he was the go-to guy for 23XI Racing.

And Wallace is excited for him and for the team.

“When this deal came about, Ty and I, we spoke the other week about it,” he told Beyond the Flag after discussing his partnership with Kingsford and an exciting new initiative they are running. “So I think it’s a great move for our team just getting the reps in, getting everybody vibing with each other, getting through the new team blues, the kinks and everything, get those ironed out to make sure we are batting 1.000 when we unload for the Daytona 500.

“So I think it’s a great move, I’m excited about that, excited for Ty to get a shot in the Cup car again. It’ll be cool to see. I’ll be down there from the pit box learning as much as I can, giving my input and feedback and what I see and what I expect, and so we’re all working together to make this team better.”

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The Busch Clash is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from the Daytona International Speedway road course beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET this evening. Bubba Wallace is set to make his 23XI Racing debut five days later in the 63rd annual Daytona 500 on the track’s oval, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.