NASCAR: Bubba Wallace contemplates ‘really hard’ scenario

Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Bubba Wallace knows the “team game” aspect of the remainder of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, with 23XI Racing teammate Tyler Reddick still in the championship hunt heading into the Xfinity 500.

23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace qualified for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs this season for the first time in his career. Even as one of three playoff drivers without a regular season win, he advanced from the round of 16 to the round of 12, and he nearly made it to the round of 8 with a win at Texas Motor Speedway before being passed for the lead with only a handful of laps remaining.

Wallace’s teammate, Tyler Reddick, advanced to the round of 8 for the first time in his career, and Wallace knows that the remaining races will be more team-focused to give Reddick and the No. 45 team the best possible opportunity to win the driver and owner championship.

“For sure,” he told Beyond the Flag. “I mean, we definitely look out for each other, and you don’t want to compromise each other’s day, but understanding that the No. 45 is still in the title hunt, you kind of have to play a little bit nicer, I would say.

“I think it’s important for us to see what those guys are doing, and it’s awesome to see what they’re doing as well, so they still have some work to do these next two races. But we have some good tracks coming up for us, so looking forward to that.

Bubba Wallace is also focusing on going out and finishing his own year strong to take some momentum into the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

“There’s a definitely a mental reset,” he said regarding the end of the season. “You kind of check out. These seasons are long and things get drawn out, but whether you’re in the playoffs or not in the playoffs, you’re continuing to show up and fight for each and every spot.

“It’d be great for us to go out and win these last two races, and so I think each and every weekend, we look at the positives and try to build on that for getting us into the next season starting out on the right foot.

“Looking back at Vegas this weekend, we did a lot of things right; the results didn’t really show that, but [we are] finally understanding that it takes a lot more positives to be lumped together to make things happen. We’re starting to fill out a lot less negatives, which is good. Still a lot of things to work on, but still a lot to look forward to.”

Wallace’s goal remains the same: go out and do the best he can. But he knows that the team comes first — even if that presents him with a “really hard” situation.

“Absolutely — that’s it,” he admitted. “But if I’m leading and Tyler’s running second, it’s gonna be really hard for me to lay over and let him have the win! So I got to just make sure we’re waxing the field so that’s our only option.”

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Martinsville Speedway is scheduled to host the round of 8 finale this Sunday, October 29. Phoenix Raceway is scheduled to host the Championship 4 season finale on Sunday, November 5. NBC is set to provide coverage of both events, so begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss them!