HomeSportsNascarBubba Wallace Wants Toyota to Get Better After Hendrick, Chevy Dominate Pennzoil 400

Bubba Wallace Wants Toyota to Get Better After Hendrick, Chevy Dominate Pennzoil 400

by Jonathan Howard
Bubba Wallace on the grid at Las Vegas
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

After two DNFs to start the season a P4 finish in the Pennzoil 400 felt great. Still, Bubba Wallace knows there is work to do. The story of the day from a team perspective had to be the dominance of Hendrick Motorsports and Chevy in general.

While the overtime dash for the finish line gave Toyota and Ford some stronger finishes, the race as a whole was Chevy. Brad Keselowski was able to lead one lap for Ford. For most of the race, either Keselowski or Kevin Harvick were the lone blue ovals in the top 10.

By finishing fourth, Bubba Wallace was the highest non-Chevy finisher in the NASCAR race. He was beaten out by the trio of Hendrick Motorsports drivers starting with winner William Byron. Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman were strong all day as well and finished P2 and P3.

After the race, Wallace was happy to have a top-five finish. He knows that there is work to be done, though.

“Gonna have a good debrief tomorrow back at the shop to figure out what we need to do to be better. Like I said earlier it’s not an overnight fix. We got a lot of smart people that will figure it out between 23XI, JGR, [Toyota] TRD. So, we’ll figure it out,” he said to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports.

Compared to the fall’s race, minus that scrap with Kyle Larson, Bubba felt like he was behind where he was in 2022. He did come away with a stage win before the whole Larson incident.

“I didn’t win a stage today. I thought we were a little bit behind from where we were in the fall. We got some work to do.”

Overall, not a bad day.

Bubba Wallace Felt ‘Redeemed’ by P4 Finish

Last fall, Bubba Wallace screwed up. He was spun out in Las Vegas and he blew a fuse. He got out of his wrecked car, walked across the track, into the infield, and shoved Kyle Larson hard enough to bounce him off his own car. The driver served his suspension of one race and has since moved on from it.

While he didn’t say anything about that moment specifically, Bubba said he felt “redeemed” with his finish.

“P4, top-five for us. Good to come to Vegas and redeem ourselves. Just stayed in the fight all day. Though we were gonna settle for sixth, and ended up with a top-five.”

It was just one of those days that ended up actually going Bubba Wallace’s way. He doesn’t have too many of those it seems. This No. 23 team wants to have a strong showing in 2023. This is a step in the right direction, for sure.