Bubba Wallace fighting “slippery slope of self-doubt”

Bubba Wallace

For the second week in a row on the NASCAR Cup Series, driver Bubba Wallace experienced self-inflicted issues that ruined his day. And the 29-year-old 23XI Racing pilot expressed difficulty dealing that reality.

On Sunday in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, the No. 23 Toyota was involved in an incident that ultimately resulted in an early end to his day and a 37th place finish. That issue came one week after Wallace spun without contact from any other car on lap 10 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway then tagged the inside wall leading to a finish of 27th.

The mishap at COTA was an unusual one as Wallace charged into a tight turn much too fast(almost like brakes weren’t working) and slammed into Kyle Larson causing some damage to the No. 5 and significant harm to his own car. After coming to pit road to be inspected by the crew, the No. 23 machine was eventually retired from competition.

When interviewed by Fox after his car was taken to the garage area, Wallace’s disappointment and frustration were evident. “Broke a toe link in the rear and an oil line,” Wallace replied when asked what put him out of the race. “Trying my hardest not to go down that slippery slope of self doubt here. Two weeks in a row making rookie mistakes. Six years in Cup, need to be replaced.”

Although he may be struggling with confidence, Wallace has some noteworthy achievements to look back on. NASCAR Cup Series wins at Talladega in 2021 and Kansas in 2022 highlight a career that also includes six victories on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. With that in mind, the driver for the organization co-owned by Denny Hamlin and basketball legend Michael Jordan has a contract that runs at least through the 2024 season if not further so being replace is likely not a realistic option.

Wallace’s 23XI teammate, Tyler Reddick, won at COTA not only scoring that team’s fist victory of the season but also Toyota’s initial triumph of 2023 at the sport’s top level.

Dealing with self doubt can be difficult in any arena of competition but especially at this highest level of American motorsports. Only time will tell if Bubba Wallace is able to put that demon behind him.

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Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.

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