Advertisement

Wallace ‘tired’ of fighting with points and not wins for playoffs

Bubba Wallace is in an all too familiar position as the NASCAR Cup Series postseason approaches.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m quite tired of having to do it on points, you know?” Wallace said Saturday. “We always seem to find ourselves right around the bubble and it gets stressful. Every race that goes by and you don’t win, it gets more and more stressful.”

Wallace is 51 points out of a playoff spot after Joey Logano won last weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. Before that happened, Wallace and Logano had been jostling for the final spot, each taking turns as the driver sitting above or below the cutline. There are seven races left in the regular season, including Sunday’s event in Chicago, and five spots left on the playoff grid.

ADVERTISEMENT

A year ago, he pointed his way into the postseason. It came down to the regular season finale in Daytona, and it was the first time Wallace qualified for the postseason in his career.

“Knowing that we can do it on points…we did it last year,” he said. “But [expletive], it would be nice just to win. Then you can start doing crazy stuff to try something in the regular season, but right now, we have to play the game and hopefully we’re in the right spot at the right time to win it.

“I know we’re all hyper-focused on that, but we can lose sight of [needing] to go out and do the best we can do and run well. I believe 100 percent in this team; it’s just a matter of doing it.”

Wallace has not won since the fall of 2022 at Kansas Speedway. Both of his Cup Series victories have come late in the year.

It’s not mathematically impossible for Wallace to point his way into the postseason. Although the gap looks large, he noted that his teammate, Tyler Reddick, earned 51 points in one race — last weekend at Nashville Superspeedway when Reddick finished third.

A driver can earn a maximum of 60 points in a race (excluding the Coca-Cola 600, where there is an extra stage). Knowing that, Wallace doesn’t believe his 23XI Racing team has reached the must-win scenario for the postseason.

“Not yet,” he said. “There are seven [races] left, so just get after it.”

Currently he’s the first driver below the cutline. Alex Bowman is on the bubble going into Sunday’s race (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC) in Chicago.

A win comes through opportunity, and Wallace knows his team needs to be in position for one. So far, he has just two top-10 finishes in the last 10 races with seven laps led.

“You can’t count anybody out, so hopefully, we’re one of those cars that you can’t count out,” he said of the fight on the bubble. “We haven’t had the best stretch of races in a while; it was a nice finish and rebound last Sunday in Nashville, but not how we wanted our race to play out. We definitely wanted to be better in the middle portion, but we’ve just got to keep after it.

“We’re all still hungry. We all know what we’re capable of doing. [Reddick] is showing speed week in and week out, so we just have to have a big…moment of figuring out what we need to do and get us back on track.

“So, here — it’s Chicago. We’ve got to do the best that we can executing and getting as many points as we can. It’ll be fine.”

Wallace qualified sixth for the Grant Park 165.

Story originally appeared on Racer