Sometimes you are happy with fifth place, other times not so much. For Bubba Wallace today, not so much. This is his second straight top-5 finish, but with how NASCAR set the order on the final restart, Wallace is walking away frustrated more than relieved as William Byron won the race without much challenge on the final restart.
Bubba Wallace started on the front row next to pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. He stayed in contention, then the stage break was a disaster. Issues on pit road sent Wallace from P3 to P18 when Stage 2 started. He fought all day long to get back into the top 10 on the final restart.
The only thing is, Wallace, thinks he should have started ahead of a couple of cars that were involved in the Martin Truex Jr. wreck. He did the best with what he was dealt, though.
“Yeah, unfortunately, we had that one bad pit stop that set us behind, team never gives up,” Wallace said. “It’s good to rebound fifth. I keep looking at that pylon pissed off there were a couple of cars that were involved in a wreck that got put in front of us. It’s um, bullcrap. Is that nice? Is that good?
“Frustrating to see we got beat like that because I feel our car was really good, especially in the beginning. Thought we were the second place car to the 19 there. But all in all for Dr. Pepper, Toyota, 23 team, proud of our guys, proud of the pit crew for rebounding, giving us a shot and coming home with a good points day.”
Hard way to finish P5. But onto the next one for Bubba Wallace and company.
Bubba Wallace turning things around
The good news is that the No. 23 team has put themselves in contention for the playoffs. Right now, there are still spots to be earned on points. This puts Bubba Wallace either in the top-16 or very close to it. He was 18th coming into the Goodyear 400.
Ever since Richmond’s P22 finish, it has been a solid turnaround. Wallace has finishes of P12, P9, P28 (Talladega’s last-lap wreck from the lead), P12, P4, and now P5. Heading into Charlotte, he is hoping to maintain the momentum.
The Coca-Cola 600 is a race that can challenge drivers a great deal. Bubba Wallace has shown his improvement this season, but he has to be consistent moving forward. With another top-5 finish under his belt, why not go after another one at Charlotte next week?
He hasn’t had the best results there, but if he was ever going to change that, this is the year to do it.