NASCAR: Why Bubba Wallace didn’t participate in testing

Bubba Wallace was not among the drivers who participated in testing of the NASCAR Next Gen car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted the second organizational test of the NASCAR Next Gen car and the 16th overall test of the car over a two-day period last week (Wednesday, November 17 and Thursday, November 18).

The first organizational test was run at the Concord, North Carolina venue’s 17-turn, 2.28-mile (3.669-kilometer) “Roval” layout back in October after the race weekend at the track. This past week’s test was run at the regular four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval layout.

This test saw many active drivers among the sport’s 17 confirmed full-time teams for 2022 get behind the wheel of Gen 7 machines for their respective manufacturers and turn laps.

But among those who did not do so was 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace.

Kurt Busch, who was confirmed as the team’s second driver back in late August when they confirmed their expansion to a two-car program for 2022, was behind the wheel of the #45 Toyota for both days of testing.

FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass confirmed before the test that the reason for Wallace missing this test was because he is recovering from shoulder surgery, which he reportedly underwent last week following the 2021 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

Before Pockrass announced this news, a picture of Wallace with his arm in a sling had been circulating, but nothing had been confirmed by the 28-year-old Mobile, Alabama native about why, exactly, that was.

Now the picture makes more sense, and Wallace missing the test to recover is to be expected.

Interestingly, 23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin also underwent shoulder surgery two offseasons ago. While the specifics of Wallace’s surgery have not been revealed, Hamlin returned for the start of the 2020 season and won the Daytona 500, the first of seven wins that year en route to a second consecutive Championship 4 appearance.

We certainly hope that Wallace’s recovery goes smoothly and successfully and that he can be back behind the wheel well before the 2022 season begins.