NASCAR: Bubba Wallace Faces Criticism in Comparison to Kurt Busch

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Bubba Wallace is facing criticism for his NASCAR driving efforts this season and that was before losing a tire while at COTA. His new teammate this season is Kurt Busch, a bona fide winner on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. The criticism comes into play when comparing the two teammates and that’s also something Bubba Wallace may still be getting used to during the current season, too.

NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace Will Have To Face Possible Criticism

He’s in Season 5 of being a full-time driver. This is the second season for Bubba Wallace to be driving the No. 23 Toyota for 23XI Racing. See, he didn’t have a teammate last year as well as back between 2018-20 while part of Richard Petty Motorsports. Yet team co-owner Denny Hamlin wanted a two-car team present. They added Kurt Busch as the driver of the No. 45 Toyota.

Kurt wanted to shush doubters about his career. After all, he’s a 33-time race winner as well as a NASCAR Cup Series champion, too. He has eight consecutive winning seasons and nine straight playoff berths. For Bubba Wallace, this offered to be a risk too. If he could not race at the level of Kurt Busch, then he’d be open to criticism. He’s facing the hot seat in some NASCAR fans’ eyes.

Five races. Kurt Busch has an average finish of 9.6 in races this season. He has just one finish lower than 13th, and his three top 10 finishes are as many as Wallace had in his entire first season with 23XI Racing. Meanwhile, Wallace currently sits in 18th place in the standings, out of a playoff spot, with just one finish higher than 13th. His average finish of 16.2 ranks 13th among all drivers and fourth among the six Toyota drivers. We get more about Bubba Wallace from Beyond The Flag.

Wallace Positions Himself For More Winning Chances This Season

Well, who has been setting up chances for winning this season? Bubba Wallace. He has led 15 laps; Busch has led just eight.

Wallace was running in second place on the last lap at last Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He had a hard crash and finished 13th. Wallace did finish in second at the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway behind Austin Cindric. In three trips to Daytona, he’s finished second twice. Two times to Talledega have two stage wins and a first career race victory.

For this season, though, Wallace will need to win. If not, then he’s going to face criticism for “not winning a real race”. He faces more comparisons to Kurt Busch, too. That comes on the heels of this race at Circuit of the Americas.