We are less than 48 hours away from the start of the Daytona 500. Bubba Wallace is taking it all in as he awaits the big race with the rest of the field.
Wallace is going into the Daytona 500 in 16th position from the pole. Kyle Larson took the pole and Alex Bowman will sit front row. While Wallace was hoping for a better starting position, 500 miles isn’t a short trek. So, starting up at the front isn’t necessarily the most important thing in the world. Making sure that your car makes it across the finish line is the most important part of the entire process.
As Bubba Wallace waits for the big day, he is taking in some practice laps at the track. He decided to share a video of his view. Pretty good seats if I do say so. His phone’s mic might have been blown out in the process though, so there’s that. Those Next Gen cars just sound so damn good.
Wallace and his 23XI teammate Kurt Bursch are running in the 16 and 17 positions. So, the two will be close to start the race. Will Kurt be able to help lead Bubba towards the front? Wallace is hoping for more top-10 finishes this season. He won Talladega last year, but now he has his eyes on something more. The playoffs. His team owner, Denny Hamlin is thinking the same thing, too. He wants both drivers in the top-16 at the end of the year.
So, what are the expectations for Bubba Wallace? Daytona is a great place to make a statement. But it doesn’t guarantee anything one way or another. Austin Dillon finished 3rd at Daytona last year. And he missed the playoffs at the end of the season.
Bubba Wallace to the Playoffs? Denny Hamlin Wants That and More
While Denny Hamlin has his own racing to worry about, he also has his own team in 23XI. Bubba Wallace is now going to be joined by Kurt Busch. So, this should be a season where the racing team is able to make some noise and really show that there is more to them than just a name and the GOAT of the NBA.
“It’s one DNF away,” Hamlin said about improving and advancing. “When you look at the standings for who’s a contender … you can gain a couple [of] spots a week, and on average, change our average finish from 20th to 18th, and you’re there. It’s not that much and you really won’t see that much, and yet, you’ll see a big change in the standings.”
Hamlin thinks that along with Toyota, Bubba Wallace and company have a chance to make the playoffs. It really does come down to those small moments that take place across multiple races. What feels like no big deal one week might have been the breaking point of the season when the playoffs come around.