It’s pretty sad that for the last three superspeedway races I’ve picked Bubba Wallace as a dark horse except for this one, and of course, it’s the one he won. The historical moments came after a rain-shortened end to the day, and despite Wallace having consistent success at superspeedway’s this win is still being called a fluke by a select few from the racing community.
Coming to the end of stage two, it was becoming clear to crew chiefs, spotters, and even drivers that rain was in the area and the threat of a big rain shower was minutes away. It was communicated to the entire field that the end of stage two could be the end of the race, that the green and white checkered had a high probability of being the final flag. Bubba Wallace found his way to the front in the closing laps and kept the lead until the caution that would end the race came out.
The blocking moves used to hold off the Penske duo of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski were smooth and precise and did not look like a talentless driver holding on for dear life. Wallace has proven to be capable of performing at superspeedway’s with 4 of his 6 career top fives have come from superspeedways. This was a skill-based win, just as Michael McDowell’s was earlier this year and Ryan Blaney’s was four weeks ago, both of which ended under caution. Wallace was the single driver to be in the lead when everyone was aware they were racing for the win, I do not know how better to explain the facts of racing than that.
We all know that no matter the circumstance a driver with Bubba Wallace’s negative following is going to always have backlash when he wins. He could win 10 races in a single season, and there will be hate followed no matter the situation. 100% Bubba Wallace and his fans need to enjoy this and ignore the noise. I do not believe this will be the last win for Wallace, but there will never be a “true win” from the eyes of this select group of fans who wish to see Wallace fail.
With that said, I’m aware these points fall on deaf ears. Cannot let the stubbornness of others keep you from understanding the facts as they’re presented to you. While this is not a fluke win because Wallace has shown skill in the past and this was not a rain-shortened win where pit strategy or dumb luck played a factor like with Justin Haley’s upset Daytona win a few years back, there is still the argument of whether this will become normal.
My thoughts are that worst-case Wallace will become another Ricky Stenhouse Jr or Austin Dillon. Guys who are good enough at all tracks to compete for playoffs and stay relevant, but not compete for wins except for superspeedways and strategy calls. That doesn’t mean when these drivers win they are not skill-based, it just means they’re not the quality of driver capable of winning each week.
The best case is that once 23XI gets its footing underneath them we will start to see what Bubba’s true potential is in the coming years. He’s shown the ability to run well at short tracks and intermediate at times, but his potential is inconclusive due to the equipment and route he’s had in the Cup series. While I don’t see championships in his future, I think there is a chance for consistent contending and playoffs.
This negativity has outshined what was a historic day for this sport and anyone who is an actual fan and decent person should be happy for the growth this brings to the sport. Wallace and 23XI Racing have a huge following and bring a completely unseen demographic to NASCAR. This win validates these new fans jumping onto the bandwagon and could keep them there, opening up the door for more eyes on the sports. More eyes bring more sponsors to other drivers and teams, which brings more money to the sport as a whole.