Bubba Wallace won his second career pole and led a race-high 111 laps in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway before finishing third as the 23XI Racing driver had a strong start to the Round of 12 Playoffs. With the run, Wallace moved up three spots in the standings to ninth – just two points below the Playoff cutline.
Christopher Bell (fourth) and Denny Hamlin (fifth) joined Wallace inside the top-five. Bell, Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. (17th) are above the cutline heading into next weekend’s race, while Wallace in ninth and Tyler Reddick (25th) in 10th are just below it. After a opening stage win, Reddick suffered damage from a late-race incident. He is trailing eighth place by just three points as the series turns to Talladega.
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Texas Motor Speedway
Race 30 of 36 – 400 miles, 267 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, William Byron*
2nd, Ross Chastain*
3rd, BUBBA WALLACE
4th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
5th, DENNY HAMLIN
17th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
25th, TYLER REDDICK
33rd, TY GIBBS
BUBBA WALLACE, No. 23 McDonald’s Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
Can you walk me through what happened on that final restart?
“Third time, I fooled myself starting on top. These guys gave me the right information. 14 (Chase Briscoe) was tight and he sent it off in there. Wasn’t going to stick, but that’s what he’s going to do. We’re racing for a win. I just hate it. I should have just kept my line into (turn) three and forced William (Bryon) to get tight. But we’re so vulnerable in these cars, right? But just upset with myself. Really needed a win there, and it was a good showing. I don’t know where that puts us. I don’t really care. But I know what I did, and I choked.”
As you look to the next two races, can you learn anything from this?
“Yeah, you’ve just got to process things slower. I feel like I’ve made a massive improvement in that, processing things a little bit better, but when it comes down to crunch time, you have to keep it all in check. The best restarter in the game gives it up on a restart. Funny how that works. Appreciate everybody; McDonald’s Toyota Camry was good out front. Struggled in traffic a little bit, but we grinded, come out with a good solid points today. Appreciate everybody’s support and effort, and we’ll go on to Talladega.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
How did today feel for you?
“Overall, my race was pretty disappointing. We got a pretty good finish out of it, but the performance was not there. I guess we got away with one.”
What did you have to overcome here today?
“We had to overcome a slow performance, that is for sure. We got away with one today. We didn’t have the pace to run fourth for sure. The restarts worked out in our favor, and we were able to sneak by on the bottom and get a good finish out of it. This is one of those days that I’m going to be really, really happy on Wednesday or Thursday, but right now, I’m pretty disappointed because the performance wasn’t there. I’ve got to figure out what I was missing in the Interstate Batteries Camry and produce a lap time that the other guys could.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
Can you take me through the decision to pit late?
“Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) thought there would be more cars that pitted. Certainly, more than 14 or 15 that stayed out there. It was a game changer. If it is only four or five, you feel like you’re in a pretty good position with that many laps to go. We were making a call to win, and unfortunately it didn’t work out.”
How do you feel going into Talladega and the ROVAL?
“Today, I thought we had a really fast FedEx Camry until we got the damage. Once we got the damage, it just wasn’t as fast as it was before. Still, considering how much damage it had – it was a top-three car. A bunch of carnage happened there in the end, and we avoided it, so we are in a better spot than when we entered.
TYLER REDDICK, No. 45 Jordan Brand Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 25th
What was it like behind the wheel?
“Really solid Jordan Brand Toyota Camry TRD. Qualifying put us in a hole, but we had a really good strategy. I got to win stage one, and I think it was shaping up to work out okay. I think the 7 (Corey LaJoie) spinning and bringing out that caution – we had to come down pit road and take a lot of fuel. From there it was restarts – I had good ones and I had bad ones. The last one there took us out of the race.”
So does today make you optimistic about the next two?
“With the speed we’ve had at the ROVAL. At Talladega, it is what it is. The Toyotas work good together, so I feel good about that, but if we just have a very blah day in Talladega, going into the ROVAL, we should be in a good spot. Obviously, when you win a stage and have the speed that our car had, anything outside of the top-five is a failure, so we will just move on.”
TY GIBBS, No. 54 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 33rd
What happened from your perspective?
“We had a really fast Interstate Batteries, Monster Energy Toyota Camry. I was really happy with our speed out of the gate. This is a place that I’ve struggled. I was out of the groove, it’s my fault, I guess. Just have to keep going and keep fighting. We are bringing great cars to the track every week – we will keep working hard.”
Toyota Racing PR