Bubba Wallace might not be in the playoffs, but he made his presence felt in a big way by leading 58 laps on the way to a victory in last Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway. Driving the No. 45 Toyota that belongs to Kurt Busch who is currently sidelined with a concussion, Wallace made quite the statement in just his second race in that car after swapping seats with original Busch fill-in Ty Gibbs the week leading up to the playoff opener at Darlington.
Wallace, who normally wheels the No. 23 car for 23XI Racing, has been tasked with trying to help the No. 45 team win the owner championship in Busch’s absence. While that’ll certainly be no small feat, also certain is that Wallace put on a quite a show at Kansas and may be capable of doing the same on Saturday night at Bristol. But even if Wallace doesn’t post back-to-back wins, it’s fair to say that his confidence has never been higher. And that will undoubtedly be written all over his face when he arrives this weekend in Thunder Valley, where he’ll be seeking his first win in eight starts on the Bristol concrete.
“This is my best season ever of climbing in the race car and being like, ‘Alright, pal, it’s time to go to work and you leave it all out there and don’t regret any decision that you make,’” said Wallace, who along with earning his second career victory this past weekend has recorded career highs this season in top-fives, top-10s and laps led. “Look how we’ve been running. It all starts with self. If you don’t show up with confidence, then you’re not going to run very good, so you definitely have to show up with that.”