23XI Racing is ready for bigger and better things from its third season competing in the NASCAR Cup Series, and Bubba Wallace is looking to continue to build upon the success he and his team have had.
It’s natural for expectations to be higher every season, especially when a team has the resources that 23XI Racing has. So, Wallace, who earned two career wins in the last two seasons and is going into his sixth year at the Cup Series level, understands how this could be thought of as a make-or-break season.
“I don’t take that as harsh at all,” Wallace said of the description. “I put enough pressure on myself to fully respect that question. This is the most excited I’ve been to start a season off; the confidence is high. I’m excited.”
Wallace and the No. 23 team are taking a more confident approach to 2023. There will be no crossing fingers and toes hoping to get out of Daytona in one piece, considering the season started with the West Coast swing. Going into the Daytona 500, Wallace is focused on winning the biggest race of the season after having come close to the Harley J. Earl trophy before.
“For us this year, there’s no, ‘Well, let’s just get through the first four or five races,’” Wallace said. “No. We’re going to get through Daytona, and then we go out and make a statement.
“I feel like our team is well-ready and well-capable of doing that. Bootie (Barker, crew chief) and I have had so many great conversations over the off-season up to this point and we’re ready. It’s going to be a great year.”
Earning a spot in the postseason is the first goal. In five seasons, he’s been around the playoff bubble but never close enough to earn a spot. And Wallace’s wins came when they didn’t have playoff implications — winning at Talladega S uperspeedway in the fall of 2021 and Kansas Speedway in the fall of 2022.
“I think that we have to win at the right time,” he said. “We have to win before the playoffs. One win, five wins — whatever it is, in between that, just have to do it at the right time, and then you set yourself up for the postseason.
“As long as you can carry that momentum into the postseason, we should be OK. Let’s get one, and then we can talk about multiple.”