Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. set high expectations for himself and 23XI Racing this season. And the Michael Jordan-led NASCAR Cup Series charter still could meet its goals for the 2021 campaign.
However, through seven races, Wallace and the No. 23 Toyota Camry team have been just ok.
Wallace doesn’t have a single top 10 finish this season and only has led seven laps. The former Richard Petty Motorsports driver has an average starting position of 16.7 but an average finish of 21.7.
So, what’s going on?
“This sport is tough,” Wallace recently said, via FOX Sports reporter Bob Pockrass. “It is hard at the top level. No one said it is going to be easy. Just because we have all the resources and partners in place, it doesn?t mean it is going to be a cakewalk for us.
“We have to go out and grind and establish ourselves first, and we?re doing that. We?re showing progression each and every step. I?m excited about that.”
Wallace added: “We?ve been steadily increasing, improving and showing progress. That?s big. That?s what we talked about from the beginning. (23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin) was big on progression, just getting everything underneath us. We had some things not go our way, but we have been quick to capitalize on that and make sure it doesn?t happen again.”
Obviously, there still is plenty of time for Wallace and his new team to turn things around.
They’ll look to crack the top 10 for the first time Saturday night when the Cup Series hits Martinsville Speedway.