Bubba Wallace has a “must win” mentality for the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series Race at Nashville Superspeedway after being the fastest in Friday’s practice.
The 23XI Racing driver of the No. 23 Toyota Camry says after showing that the car has competitive speed, the team is in a “must win situation.” He topped the leaderboard at Nashville Superspeedway at 161.708 mph during the Ally 400 50-minute practice session on Friday.
“I had a lot of emotion when I got out of the car, just from winning practice” he said.
Although practice isn’t a benchmark like qualifying or a race win, it is noteworthy.
“It meant a lot to me, having that speed and showing that we’re competitive. Now you’ve got a lot of people in the garage that are talking about the 23 car.”
Bubba has consistently performed well at superspeedways and the team has showed that they certainly have the speed but to show that the No. 23 is truly competitive, there needs to be execution.
He added, “The 23 team is showing a lot of speed each week, and I’m super proud of our team for doing that”
Qualifying for the Ally 400 was cut short due to rain, setting the qualifying order after session 1. 23XI owner Denny Hamlin won the Busch Light Pole Award and will lead the field to the green flag for Sunday’s race after turning a 29.848.
Bubba will begin the race in 30th position after a 30.475.
Hamlin addressed Bubba’s qualifying run by telling Michael Jordan, co-owner of 23XI Racing, that he “should have stayed on the bus” primarily due to the pressure his presence on track creates.
The No. 23 team remains optimistic for Sunday. Hamlin said, “I think they have a lot of confidence in their race car. When I saw him driving into turn one on TV, I knew that [Bubba] carried a tremendous amount of speed.”
Bubba believes that today is the best opportunity for the No. 23 team to win.
“We gotta win. I don’t know that we can point our way in. We’ve dug our hole deep enough to where we have to show up and not hold back on anything.”
The NASCAR Cup Series Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway in Nashville, Tennessee airs on NBC at 5p.m. EST.