NASCAR: 5 drivers who should already panic in 2021

NASCAR (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
NASCAR (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Bubba Wallace, NASCAR
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Drivers who should panic: #5 – Bubba Wallace

  • 15th place tie in points with 72
  • 2 points above the cut line

Hold up, what?

Yes, that is correct, I put a driver in the playoffs in a panic situation, and yes, it’s this guy.

Bubba Wallace may be in a 15th place tie in the point standings right now, but 23XI Racing’s driver may be the luckiest driver in a provisional playoff spot.

This has to do with a combination of three things. One, the nine points he scored with a second place finish in his Bluegreen Vacations Duel. Two, the 12 stage points he earned in this year’s Daytona 500. And three, the fact that he has been beating drivers who should be faster than he is in the #23 Toyota, even with the team’s technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.

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In the Daytona 500, he beat Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., William Byron, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman among others, thanks to avoiding the “Big One” and finishing in 17th place despite being involved in the fiery last-lap accident.

At the Daytona International Speedway road course, he finished in 26th place, taking advantage of mistakes from drivers such as Kyle Larson, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Matt DiBenedetto. And in last Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he secured a 22nd place finish, holding off Cole Custer after Custer had a tire go down late, and beating Joey Logano, DiBenedetto, Blaney and Almirola as well.

Let’s compare him to a similar driver who doesn’t have a win and is currently in a provisional playoff spot: Ryan Preece.

Why should Preece not be in a panic right now? Because Preece is actually performing! He has recorded three straight lead-lap finishes, including two top 10 results, to start the season. I would not be panicking right now if I were Preece.

But Wallace? Yes, I would be panicking, especially given the fact that drivers such as Bowman and Kyle Busch are breathing down my neck for that final playoff spot.

Another reason why is the answer to this question: who is the team owner? Michael Jeffrey Jordan, basketball’s GOAT. And what has the message been from MJ, who signs the checks at 23XI Racing for Wallace? “There’s no more hanging out in the back” and “We don’t sign checks for losers.”

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As a wise man once said, “It’s not about how you start; it’s how you finish.”