Bubba Wallace wants to be a runner-up no more

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - JULY 16: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 Draft Kings Toyota, walks the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, 2022 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

In 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace’s five-year full-time NASCAR Cup Series career, he has four runner-up finishes. Three of them have come at Daytona International Speedway. He has finished second in the last two races at the historic track, and he was runner-up in his first ever Daytona 500 in 2018.

However, Wallace doesn’t necessarily consider his past success at the track a true indicator of his chances going forward.

“Like maybe five years ago, it would be like, ‘Man, we deserve a win here.’” Wallace said. “Five years to work on that. Now, it’s like you don’t deserve anything. Let’s go out and earn it. No matter if you finish second, how many times we’ve done it, we can still blow up or we could still break something. You don’t know. And so for us it’s just (important) to not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s focus on what we need to do.

“It’s just making sure you’re there for the last—I always say five laps, but we may wreck 10 times in five laps—so just make sure you’re there for the last two laps and set yourself up for being one of the first four cars,’’ Wallace added. “That’s what we need to focus on. Let’s get up that point.”

Wallace comes to Daytona ranked 20th in the standings, and his only shot at advancing to the 2022 Playoffs is to win Saturday night. The 28-year old has earned four Top-10 finishes in just the last six weeks, including a runner-up at Michigan.