NASCAR: Why won’t Bubba Wallace test this week?

Bubba Wallace is again slated to miss a NASCAR Cup Series test of the Next Gen car ahead of the 2022 season, this time at Daytona International Speedway.

Charlotte Motor Speedway has hosted two Next Gen tests for the NASCAR Cup Series since the 2021 season came to an end in early November at Phoenix Raceway, both around the Concord, North Carolina track’s four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval layout.

23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace, who is set to enter his second season behind the wheel of the #23 Toyota didn’t participate in either one of those tests.

The only driver to test for the Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan-owned team in these November and December tests was Kurt Busch, who was signed to drive their second car, the #45 Toyota, for the 2022 season following a three-year run with Chip Ganassi Racing.

That is again set to be the case this week at Daytona International Speedway.

Another Next Gen test is scheduled to take place this Tuesday, January 11 and Wednesday, January 12 at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked oval in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Busch is set to be 23XI Racing’s lone on-track representative.

The reason for Wallace’s absence is the shoulder surgery he had right after the 2021 season ended. As he continues to recover from that surgery to prepare for the 2022 season, the best thing for him is to sit out of another test.

The next test on the schedule is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 25 and Wednesday, January 26 at Phoenix Raceway, a test that was initially scheduled to take place on Tuesday, December 14 and Wednesday, December 15. This test is set to replace the test that was initially scheduled to take place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Whether or not Wallace is ready for this next test remains to be seen, though the key focus is for him to be ready for the start of the season. The 2022 season is scheduled to unofficially begin on Sunday, February 6 with the Busch Light Clash exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The 64th annual Daytona 500 is scheduled to officially kick off the 2022 season at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 20.