Race Weekend Central

Bubba Wallace Finishes 5th at Indy Road Course for 3rd Straight Top 10

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Bubba Wallace is not a road course ace in the NASCAR Cup Series. Yet in the chaotic finish in Sunday’s (July 31) race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Wallace wheeled his No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota to a fifth-place finish.

Wallace scored his first top five and first top-10 result in a Cup event on a road course. In addition, Wallace continued his streak of top 10s, giving him three straight as the Cup regular season nears its end.

“Chaos ensued into [turn] 1 and I closed my eyes and gassed up and we were sixth,” Wallace said post-race. “I mean, that’s what you got to do in those moments and so just proud of everyone for being able to put us in that spot. You know, it’s something when you come from the back of the field and get 15th. But when you’re right there at the front middle part, it can really salvage a good day and that’s what we were able to do.”

How did Wallace survive all the late-race carnage that saw nearly a dozen cars spun out?

“Luck,” he added in a post-race release. “I don’t know where we stacked up – top 20 all day. I’ve made improvements on road courses, but out there I feel like I’m busting out qualifying laps and it’s just good enough to get that position. I got to figure out where to gain speed. I’ve got a great team behind me. Everybody at 23XI, I appreciate it. They gave me a decent car – a decent car to go out and learn with and survive. A good day for Embrace – in their first race for us with our Toyota Camry TRD. It was a good day. Good day to come out of Indy with a surprising top five.”

Wallace said he needed to gain speed, but he also took advantage of the varying pit strategies at the end of stage two. In fact, he finished third.

See also
Tyler Reddick Has Masterful Cup Indy Road Course Win

Wallace’s streak of three straight top-10 finishes gives him five this season, tying his career high. Three of his 17 career top-10 finishes have also come at Indianapolis (with the other two occurring on the 2.5-mile oval).

“It’s a really cool place,” he continued. “The last couple of races on the oval, we were top 10, so it’s good to come back and be competitive somewhat today. I still have to do a lot of learning on these road courses, but surviving, staying in the game. Crew chief (Bootie Barker), crew, everyone at 23XI kept us in the game to have a finish like this, so it’s good.”

Wallace next turns his attention to Michigan International Speedway. Currently 20th in the championship standings, Wallace is in a must-win situation to make the playoffs.

“It seems like we’ve been beat down so much over this year,” he stated. “We’ve got four races to go to continue to climb. I’m proud of this team. I’m proud of everyone on this Embrace Toyota Camry TRD. Just have to keep going. We’ve got Michigan coming up. I’m really strong there so I’m looking forward to that. Richmond and Daytona and Watkins Glen – have to survive there.”

Wallace may claim strength but on paper, he hasn’t fared the best at Michigan with only one career top 10 — a ninth in the first race there in 2020 — in eight Cup starts. But Wallace also has a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at that 2-mile track, taking home the trophy in 2017.

Five years later, Wallace will head there with momentum on his side.

NASCAR RACE WEEKEND CENTRAL: INDIANAPOLIS

About the author

ARCA Editor at | Website

Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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DoninAjax

The 21 and 38 passed Bubba in the last two laps!

The 21 and 38 passed Bubba in the last two laps!

Dale EarnHog

That’s great, where did the Hendrick boys finish today?

Dale EarnHog

That’s great. No matter who’s in front of him, he still finished top 5.

Echo

Isn’t he close to finally being in the top 20 yet !

DoninAjax

What’s more important is who’s finishes behind him so he can finish higher than he is capable of.

DoninAjax

And he was 6th until the penalty which bumped him to 5th.

Bill B

Actually , if you were paying attention, on that next to last caution (when Elliott got spun running second on the restart), Bubba cut across the grass and went from 20th to 9th.

Fed Up

The rule says you can’t gain spots, but oh, he’s a Gibbs car.

Dale EarnHog

if you were paying attention, he got knocked into the grass by Briscoe. If he tries to cut across and get back on track, he causes a wreck.

Bill B

Agreed, but shouldn’t he suffer the same penalty as Chastain and Dillon for cutting the course and not stopping before re-entering the track? Instead he gained 10 positions. It wasn’t like he barely left the track, he took a pretty good short cut as everyone else was wrecking in turn 1.

Dale EarnHog

In my opinion none should’ve been penalized, but if anyone should’ve been at all it should’ve been Chastain for cutting the corner intentionally. Pretty clear he gunned it through there. But he technically did what NASCAR told him to by using the access road if you “miss” turn 1.

Bill B

Well you are entitled to your opinion but guys get penalized all the time for going off course and not coming to a complete stop before coming back into traffic. It’s the rule.

jdquick

Guess Bubba is a star now…….gee, he is still 20th in the standings so the top 5’s make him a bonafied star….sorry, I don’t believe it.

DoninAjax

He’s a bonafide legend in his own mind and has his Hall Of Fame speech already written, like Austin And Ty. I wonder how long he will hang around?

Dale EarnHog

when interviewed yesterday he said it was all luck. You somehow find a way to twist words he hasn’t even said

Dale EarnHog

He has as many top 10’s as William Byron and Denny Hamlin this season and would have 7 had he not been wrecked coming to the line at dega and atlanta

DoninAjax

dega and atlanta don’t count. they are restrictor plate tracks and your grandmother would have a chance for a good finish there. his higher finishes are because better cars have trouble and finish behind your wunder boy.

Dale EarnHog

That’s funny, didn’t he outrun the likes of Larson, Kyle Busch, Logano, Blaney, and 30 other cars at Loudon when no contenders other than Bowman had trouble? Wasn’t he in the top 5 and top 10 all day when no contenders but Chastain and Harvick (and later Denny and Ky. Busch) had trouble? Wasn’t he running up front the whole 2nd half of Daytona? Didn’t he charge from the back after crew mistakes at Charlotte and Nashville?

It’s funny how you say Dega and Atlanta don’t count in this situation, but everyone praises Jr and Sr for the superspeedway prowess. If it’s all luck, why should they be praised for their accomplishments that are now apparently worthless?

Keep moving the bar and being upset when Bubba’s running well. It’s a hilarious and sad show to watch.

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