NASCAR Kansas Speedway, Bubba Wallace Silences Doubters, Kevin Harvick Needs a Win: Sunday Money from Marty Smith

by Dustin Schutte

With his index finger on his lips, Bubba Wallace quieted his critics on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, taking the checkered flag at the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday. For the second time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Wallace entered victory lane.

It was a huge accomplishment for the 28-year-old driver. It also marked a sweep at Kansas Speedway for the No. 45 car, with Kurt Busch winning the AdventHealth 400 in May.

With two races in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in the rearview mirror, drivers turn their attention to this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.

In this week’s edition of Sunday Money, Marty Smith reflects on Wallace’s big win at Kansas, the pressure on Kevin Harvick and the potential to see fireworks at Bristol on Saturday night.

Bubba Wallace Shuts Up the Doubters

Bubba Wallace exited the No. 45 car in victory lane on Sunday with an enormous weight lifted off his shoulders. The 28-year-old driver had just one NASCAR Cup Series victory in his career — a rain-shortened win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2021.

Marty talked about the relief Wallace felt after the win, saying he “shut up the doubters.”

“[Wallace] Took the lead with 70 laps to go and held on — that included a pit cycle. He goes to victory lane for the second time in his career,” Marty said. “The other time, of course, was a victory in a rain-shortened event — not this time.

“I thought it was really interesting what he said in the aftermath. No. 1, sorry haters. No. 2, I feel relief — it’s always interesting to me when victors feel relief over elation.”

Pressure on Kevin Harvick

The first two races of the playoffs have not been kind to Kevin Harvick. A fire inside the car ended his day at the Cook Out Southern 500. Last weekend, the No. 4 car slammed into the wall on Lap 33, resulting in another early exit.

Now, Harvick must win at Bristol in order to make it to the second stage of NASCAR’s playoffs.

“Kevin Harvick has to win the race. The No. 4 car pulled off back-to-back wins late in the regular season to enter the playoff race — they’ve had a very difficult time in the first two events of the playoff itself,” Marty said.

“Rodney Childers and Kevin Harvick are a formidable pair. They are very frustrated right now, but they have the ability to reel them off. They’re run of those teams that can catch it and then they run with it.”

Fireworks at Bristol?

Anything can happen when the lights come on at Bristol Motor Speedway. And with so much on the line Saturday night, Marty expects to see a lot of action on the racetrack.

“It’s going to be a really interesting race. It’s probably going to be extremely physical. So much is on the line for so many. There’s not gonna be any friendships, and that includes teammates. Buckle up tight, there’s gonna be some fireworks in East Tennessee.”

The Bass Pro Shops Night Race is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. CT start time. It should be a fun one.