What did the Daytona 500 last-lap crash look like from Bubba Wallace’s perspective?
NASCAR’s 2021 season started yesterday with the 63rd running of the Daytona 500. Over 30,000 fans watched from the grandstands as old teams returned and new teams took to the track, including Bubba Wallace’s new team, NBA legend Michael Jordan’s 23XI team. Although Bubba finished second at the Daytona 500 in 2018, he was forced to start at the rear of the field after his 23XI car failed multiple pre-race inspection checks. But that may have been a blessing as he avoided a huge last-lap crash upfront. He ultimately took 17th place in the race.
The crash took out the leaders and many others on the track. When the smoke cleared Michael McDowell had sped his way into first place. NASCAR shared a video on Twitter of the crash from Bubba Wallace’s view. Along with the video, they wrote, “Take another look at @BubbaWallace’s view of the last-lap crash in the #DAYTONA500.”
Bubba Wallace Becomes First Black Driver To Lead A Lap In Daytona 500
Wallace dipped to the low line late in the second stage to grab the lead on Lap 129. This leading lap made Bubba Wallace the first black driver to ever lead a lap in the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, he later lost the lead to two-time defending champion Denny Hamlin. Hamlin also co-owns 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan. After finishing 17th, Bubba shared his thoughts on both his performance and the crash.
“Bum end. I bailed out down the back saw the wreck happening and got run over from behind. Should’ve bailed sooner,” said Wallace in a tweet. “Fast car, can’t have loose wheels. Onto the right turns.”
Wallace had to pit with 22 laps left because he felt a vibration due to a loose wheel in the Toyota. He fell a lap down and hoped that Hamlin could nudge toward a record third straight Daytona 500 championship. Unfortunately, Hamlin was unable to clinch the win and finished fifth in the race. However, Hamlin said he appreciated the way he and his teammate worked together.
“We worked together quite a few times,” said Hamlin. “I actually thought he was going to win the second stage.”