When he finished second to Austin Dillon in the season-opening Daytona 500, Bubba Wallace lost his composure on the dais in the media center.
There were tears and hugs with his family, as Wallace reveled in the strong finish in his first race as a full-time driver for Richard Petty Motorsports.
Since then, the highlights have been infrequent, with a charge to the front at Bristol in the traditional Petty colors being the most noteworthy. But Wallace considers Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) a chance to return to the forefront.
And if he does happen to win that race, Wallace promises a major celebration and another emotional display.
“I probably seem boring as hell right now, because I’m not crying and putting on a show and hugging my mom and all that ‘foo foo’ stuff,” Wallace said Thursday at Daytona. “Amanda (Wallace’s girlfriend) and I had dinner with my crew chief Drew (Blickensderfer) and his fiancé Lori last night. He was like, ‘Man, both times I have won here, I went straight back to the room and went to sleep.’
“He said that ain’t happening if that happens Saturday. So there’s going to be a lot of emotion and you will probably see my guys come in like Clint (Bowyer’s) guys did at Michigan. Spraying Coke or any beverage around and making you guys all feel a part of the celebration.”
Just because Wallace hasn’t been over-the-top with displays of emotion since the 500 doesn’t mean he isn’t driven to win.
“I think about winning all the time, and I think that’s what drives all of us,” Wallace said. “Once you kind of lose the dreaming about winning and you are just sitting there watching these old races and saying, ‘Damn, that would be cool to win’… As soon as you lose that, then you are out.
“But for me, it’s still a dream to go out and win in NASCAR, win a Cup race, and there is no greater opportunity than this weekend. Every emotion is coming after that, so have your recorders and video cameras ready.”