Bubba Wallace is a household name off the track; Now, he sets goals for wins and to become a household name for on-track performance
23XI Racing is a new startup NASCAR Cup Series team for 2021. The team was put together in the span of only a couple months by high-profile team owners Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
The team has an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. Their first car was delivered near race-ready back in December.
Bubba Wallace will be the driver for the single-car team. He enters his fourth full-time season with the best equipment he’s ever had.
Ahead of the season, Bubba Wallace is looking to become a household name because of his performance on the race track. His goal for 2021 is to win, multiple times…
Bubba Wallace on 23XI Racing
“I know that I need to go out and perform and win races to become a household name on the racetrack,” Wallace told NBC Sports.
“I’m a household name off the racetrack because of everything that happened last year. As good and as great as that is, I need to balance that out with on-track performance and the results haven’t been there. Obviously, circumstances and everything.”
“Looking at this year and moving forward with what we have, with Toyota, with the partnership with JGR and just with everything going on at 23XI Racing, there’s no reason why we can’t go out and be good and compete for wins and put ourselves in the playoffs this year.”
“I have written down in a text message two wins this year. That’s solid. That’s doable.”
“This is different,” Wallace compared it to previous cars. “This is different. Everything is there. No more excuses for me. That’s the motto. All the resources, personnel, equipment, everything, you name it, it is right there to go out and capitalize on.”
With the Joe Gibbs Racing alliance, Wallace is spending a lot more time in the simulator.
“I definitely didn’t get much sim work,” Wallace said of previous teams. “We had some sim work up at RCR, but it wasn’t manufacturer sim stuff.”
“I think getting up to speed with everything. Getting me acclimated and comfortable and knowing what makes this work and what does not and giving feedback to my crew for them to know, ‘OK this is what Bubba likes, this is what Bubba doesn’t like’ and figuring out how to grow from there.”
“I think we’re all anticipating what is 23XI going to do. ‘What is the 23 car going to do? What is Bubba going to do?’ “
The team owners are both athletes with a strong desire to win.
Michael Jordan previously said, “I want to win tomorrow – as soon as we get on the track.”
The team co-owner added, “I know it is a process. It’s a process and you’re going to have to learn it. But if every step, each day, you move towards winning the day – tomorrow is better than yesterday – I have hope.”
Hamlin has a more humble approach.
“I don’t know how we’re going to start, how it’s going to be in the middle,” Hamlin told NBC Sports.
“What I want to see is a steady progression from week 1 to week 36 and know that when we get to the end we are building something here that is a competitor – a legit competitor – and not just battling within the top 15.
“I want to see him battling inside the top 10 50% of the time. That doesn’t mean finishing there necessarily, but putting your car in those positions where you are giving yourself solid opportunities to ‘Hey you can win this race. With the right strategy call, with the right restart, you can win this race.’ “
Hamlin concluded, “We want to build a castle and honestly, we are in the foundation stages.”