(Cover Photo Credit: Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
By Adam Carabine
In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.
19th Place – Bubba Wallace – 762 pts
23XI RACING – TOYOTA
94 More Points in 2022 than the Previous Year – In his second year at 23XI Racing (and coincidentally also their second year of existence), Bubba Wallace showed quite an improvement across many stats. Most notably, Wallace gained nearly 100 points over his performance last year. Also worth considering, he did it in one less race than in ’21, as he was suspended for the Kyle Larson spin-cident at Las Vegas in October.
1 Win in 2022 – Doubling his career Cup Series win total, Bubba Wallace won at Kansas (during the playoffs, no less) this year. While he had already crossed his first Cup Series victory off the bucket list the year prior, there were plenty of doubters and nay-sayers, who claimed that because his first win was due to a rain-related cancellation, it somehow carried less weight or less clout. Wallace won a completely normal race this year in Kansas, perhaps silencing the haters (though probably not).
18.31 Average Finish in 2022 – It was a career year for Bubba Wallace as far as Average Finish goes. Maybe more impressive, is his ability to continue to get better each year. From his first full-time Cup Series season 5 years ago, he has steadily improved his Average Finish at a rate of 1.3 positions per year. He’ll need that number to keep dropping if he wants to compete for the playoffs, and eventually become a contender for a championship, but it certainly is promising for the 29-year-old.
10 Top 10s in 2022 – While 10 of a possible 35 Top 10s is not the greatest stat in the world (Ross Chastain had 21, Jeff Gordon once had 30 in a season), it’s important to note the context. Coming into 2022, Wallace had just 12 Top 10s. He nearly doubled that number in this one year alone, earning 10. Whether you chalk that up to the improvement of 23XI in their second year of competition or Wallace becoming a stronger and more consistent driver, the fact remains that he is trending in the right direction.
7 DNFs in 2022 – When looking at Bubba Wallace’s career year in ’22, an interesting wrinkle is that he accomplished all of this while still not finishing many races. The prior year he only had 4 DNFs. Pair that with his one-race suspension this year, and somehow Wallace pulled off an incredible year (comparatively). His 7 DNFs tied him for 26th out of all 36 Cup Series charters this year. He’ll want to clean that up to keep improving, for sure.
In August of 2022, it was announced that Bubba Wallace had signed a multi-year extension to remain at 23XI Racing. Look for Bubba in the No. 23 Toyota this season, alongside new teammate Tyler Reddick.
Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – Erik Jones!
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