Bubba Wallace had plenty of pressure on him going into this past weekend's Bristol Night Race. He entered the race below the cutoff in the playoffs and needed a lot of things to go right.
Wallace has had to deal with plenty of doubters throughout his cup career to this point. Two people who have never doubted the driver of the No. 23 are his owners, Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.
It was always going to be a challenge for Wallace, as he had no wins entering the playoffs and hasn't truly been in a position to win. Not to mention he entered Bristol -19 below the cutline.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 18, 2023
Despite the pressure, Wallace was able to fight throughout the 500-lap race. Thanks to trouble for defending series champion Joey Logano and 2014 Cup champion Kevin Harvick, Wallace's 14th-place finish on Saturday night was enough for him to advance to the round of 12 by four points.
Despite all of the critics, Wallace looked to have used it as motivation. He referred to recent U.S. Open winner Coco Gauff about being counted out in his post-race interview with NBC Sports' Dave Burns.
"I love that s**t right there. Counting us out," Wallace said. "Like Coco Gauff said, 'All they're doing is adding fuel to the fire. I love it.' I love where I'm at with this team. Wish my mom, dad and sister were here to celebrate with me. I mean, it's been a career year. Just got to keep it going."
Moving forward to Texas this week, it's back to fighting hard for Wallace, and the doubters will continue to doubt, but with Wallace behind the wheel of a Toyota, he certainly cannot be counted out. Talladega is in this round, and he has shown his superspeedway strength in the past.
Wallace knows what is next, and he is ready to get back out there.
"We know next week's a reset. We just got to go out and have some fun, work our asses off," Wallace told motorsport.com's Jim Utter. "Thank you to the ones that believe in me. Keep it going. Yeah, on to next week."
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