The final race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season is at the Daytona International Speedway, and one driver who has plenty of pressure going into the race is Bubba Wallace.
The No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota driver finds himself currently in the final playoff spot. Of all the teams fighting for the final spot he might have the hardest job ahead of him come Saturday night's race.
Though he has a decent point margin, anything can happen during the Coke Zero Sugar 400, including the possibility of a new winner, and that can't happen if Wallace wants to make the Cup Series playoffs for the first time in his career.
Bubba Wallace is on the bubble to make the playoffs. Wallace on how his season will be defined by what happens Saturday night and whether he can make his first Cup playoff appearance: pic.twitter.com/m8EoWLTPgd
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) August 22, 2023
Luckily for Wallace, he has a teammate in Tyler Reddick who has been in the same position in his career. Reddick found himself on the bubble for the playoffs in 2021.
Reddick talked about the pressures of being the bubble driver heading into the final race of the regular season in an interview with NBC Sports' Dustin Long.
"That whole hype physically takes years off your life," Reddick said. "It's just so stressful."
Reddick will be pulling for his teammate to book that final spot in the playoffs.
Wallace has plenty of support behind him with Reddick and team owner Denny Hamlin, who is ready to help in a moment's need during Saturday night's race.
Wallace will need to use a lot of mental fortitude because of all the other 16 drivers who will be trying to get that final spot. He has the most pressure because he currently holds that final spot.
Wallace will face a number of challenges throughout Saturday night's race. He is confident that what he has done to this point this season has prepared his mind for what he will face in the race.
"Having a mental capacity of knowing that you're going to have to fight for it and it's not just going to happen has helped me tremendously in just managing races," Wallace told NBC Sports.
His focus on Saturday night is simple: Control what you can control and the rest will solve itself.
"I have a lot of people telling me you can only control the things that you can control," Wallace said.
Control what you can control, huh? It is going to be tough, especially in such an unpredictable race.
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