Bubba Wallace had a question and kept asking those around him until he got an answer.

“Where’d he finish?” Wallace asked of teammate Tyler Reddick while doing his required top five media obligations on pit road Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. “Was he top 10?”

Wallace, who finished fourth, then turned to his 23XI Racing public relations representative and asked the same question. The answer finally came: Reddick had finished seventh.

“Oh, wow. Proud of the little buddy,” Wallace playfully said. “I didn’t see him all day.”

The amusing exchange resulted from Wallace acknowledging that 23XI Racing performs well on short tracks but doesn’t have many results to reflect those performances. Sunday was Wallace’s best finish in the NASCAR Cup Series at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway in his 13 tries. Furthermore, it was his first top-five finish at Martinsville and just his third top-10.

“We do a lot of things that hurt our results, there’s no doubt about it,” Wallace said. “But we’re all taking big self-reflection over the last couple of months and being like, ‘Hey, let’s get our stuff together.’ And we know what we’re capable of. It’s days like this. I’ll continue to take top four finishes because eventually, your name will be thrown in the winner’s circle.”

The result came from a different feel Wallace had searched for in previous Martinsville Speedway races. He and the No. 45 team were contenders from the first on-track activity when he was second fastest overall in practice before qualifying second (after losing the pole to Kyle Larson by 0.001s).

“A lot to build off, a lot to learn, a lot to debrief with the team,” Wallace said. “If we came back tomorrow, we’d be even better. But I appreciate everybody on this No. 23 team. The McDonald’s Toyota Camry was really, really good.

“It was a great showing here at Martinsville; I love this place and got to keep it going.”

Wallace had an average running position of fourth Sunday afternoon. He ran as high as second, but it was either second or third place that ended up being the ceiling. No matter how hard he ran or how close he got, even on the back bumper of Denny Hamlin at the end of the first stage, Wallace never cracked the threshold into the race lead.

“I know, I know,” he said with amusement. “I was trying so hard. I’d get to the leader’s back bumper too late in both stages. Hey that’s just something for us to continue to work on and be better.”

Wallace finished second in both stages. The race’s final caution with three laps to go was a turn of fortune for the No. 23, which was running sixth at the time. By choosing to restart as the third driver on the inside lane, Wallace was fifth for the final two laps, which he maintained.

“We had speed,” he said. “We had a lot of speed and it was fun to run up front and figure out what we needed to be better. I thought we were really good on the long run, but we got behind too early on the last stop and that just kind of set us apart. So, all in all, to come out top five was really good for us.”