Bubba Wallace happy to be progressing forward

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA - SEPTEMBER 30: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 Leidos Toyota, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on September 30, 2023 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Bubba Wallace has certainly been making the most of his NASCAR Cup Series Playoff debut, advancing to the second round – leading the most laps and finishing third in the opening race of this round last week at Texas.

He enters Sunday’s YellaWood 500 ranked ninth in the standings, only a slight 2-points below the transfer line for the Round of 8. And Talladega is the site of his first ever NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2021.

Interestingly, Wallace said that although he’s grateful and motivated to be in the 2023 Playoffs, truth be told, he feels like his No. 23 23XI Racing team should have been there last year too.

“We were capable of doing this last year,’’ Wallace said. “We have the right people, just going to have to put it all together. It has been a lot of work to get to this point, for sure. It’s super cool to see the results pay off for everybody on this team. I could see my guys fired up about showing up for this race and we still have our name in the hat, we are progressing forward.

“We were the last seed to start the Playoffs and the last seed coming into this round and we advanced. And we are now two points out of advancing again. It’s cool for them. I’m pumped for them and I’m seeing them work extra hard to make sure we are doing everything right – that’s what motivates me.’’