What can we expect from Bubba Wallace this Sunday at the Daytona 500?
So far the results from Daytona Speedweek have been promising.
On Thursday night Wallace and the 23XI Racing Toyota finished runner-up to Austin Dillon in the second Dayton Duel qualifying race. Wallace will start sixth at this Sunday’s Daytona 500.
“Good debut, but nothing to be real happy about with myself,” Wallace said after the Daytona Duel.
Daytona Speedweek was the debut of 23XI Racing. The new racing team was founded by Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan. Wallace left Richard Petty Racing after four-seasons to join 23XI.
During his tenure piloting the #43 he had three top-5 finishes, including his Cup Series career best finish of second at the 2018 Daytona 500.
Wallace’s career results with Richard Petty Racing were unspectacular overall but in 2019 he had a career season, with five top-10 finishes and at the Daytona Coke Zero Sugar 400 he finished fifth.
The 27-year-old’s Cup Series career should see improved results after signing with the upstart 23XI Racing team. The new squad shares a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and the results have been promising.
On Wednesday’s practice session he posted the fastest lap at 199.747 mph, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex (199.694 mph), Denny Hamlin (199.689 mph), Kyle Busch (199.627 mph) and Christopher Bell (199.623).
The 23XI and JGR alliance, plus Hamlin’s know how, could be advantageous for Wallace at Daytona.
In 147-starts Cup Series starts at Daytona, Joe Gibbs Racing has had eight victories. Hamlin has won it thrice, including the last two. Kyle Busch won the Coke Zero 400 in 2008 and former JGR driver Erik Jones started 29th and won the 2018 Coke Zero 400.
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One of JGR’s previous technical alliances had great results. From 2016-2018 Furniture Row Racing aligned itself with JGR and the #78 Toyota Camry driven by Martin Truex Jr ended up winning 16-races and the 2017 Cup Series Championship.
On Sunday at the Daytona 500 expectations for Wallace and the XI Racing will be high and rightly so. After a strong week of practice and qualifying the #23 Toyota Camry has shown that it can run up front.
Wallace has shown that he has the talent behind the wheel but has needed the right car to garner success. This Sunday he can show the world what he’s got.