Bubba Wallace moving on from Atlanta after hit that was ‘hard as hell’

HAMPTON, GEORGIA - MARCH 20: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 McDonald's Toyota, and Justin Haley, driver of the #31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet, spins after an on-track incident at the finish of the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20, 2022 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Bubba Wallace got a huge test of the new Next Gen car last week in an accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway – and the driver of the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota is giving a big thumbs-up to the durability and safety. It’s been quite a week for the star driver, who covered several topics Saturday with reporters.

“P1, new track record, hard as hell,” Wallace said of this accident at Atlanta. “It was a hard hit. Wednesday I was finally good. Main thing I was worried about was my shoulder because I had surgery on it in the offseason, but Wednesday I was feeling good and able to move it easily.

“Atlanta happened and I’ve got a job to come out here and continue to race. You put that behind you and race.”

Wallace said he spent some time during the week with former University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams and said he received some encouraging and useful tips on dealing with his distractors in NASCAR.

“I had never met him, I’m not a UNC fan, I’m a Tennessee fan obviously, but I became a fan of him and UNC after that night,” Wallace said.

“He said, ‘Hey man, heard a lot about you and one thing I want to leave you with before I go, the dogs are always going to be barking and the caravan is going to continue rolling.

“You just kind of roll on with it,” Wallace recalled with a smile. “Super cool. I’d never ever had a conversation with him or even been around him and in that moment, he took the time that night to tell me that.’’

To help with his road course skills, Wallace will be competing in both Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.

“Absolutely [I need it],” he said, adding, “Only been here once, so trying to get another leg up on guys. Nothing but seat time for me so I’m enjoying it.”