23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace will run the No.45 Toyota Camry for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
Bubba Wallace will still support his 23XI Racing team as they battle for the owner’s title despite missing the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs
Wallace will switch to the #45 Toyota Camry TRD for the remainder of the season, according to an announcement made on Wednesday by 23XI, because Kurt Busch has locked that car into the owner playoffs despite injury. Busch’s substitute Ty Gibbs will switch to Wallace’s #23 car.
The 28-year-old was unable to make the playoffs since he was winless through the first 26 races of the season. He will drive Kurt Busch’s No. 45 car for the remaining 10 races of the season as his current crew switches over to the No. 45 with him. Busch is currently out of action due to a concussion but is also competing in the owner’s points playoffs.
“After consulting with NASCAR, the competition and ownership teams at 23XI made this decision in the best interest of the entire organisation and for all our employees who helped earn a spot in the playoffs for the Owner’s Championship through their hard work,” said team president Steve Lauletta.
“While Ty has done a great job for us in the #45 car, we feel that Bubba’s experience in this car, at the upcoming playoff tracks and his recent momentum will give 23XI the best chance at maximizing our points each weekend.”
“We recognise that this is a unique opportunity in the Cup Series, and we’re grateful to our employees and partners for standing with the team and supporting this decision.”
Busch secured a playoff spot in May by winning at Kansas, but he hasn’t competed since crashing during a qualifying run at Pocono two months later. He then withdrew his waiver to take part in the playoffs. The Kansas victory qualified the #45 car for the owner playoffs even though he will be unable to compete for the driver’s title.
Busch was replaced by Gibbs for the remainder of the regular season, but 23XI’s choice to convert to the #45 was vindicated by Wallace’s Cup experience.
“We are two cars but act as one team,” Busch tweeted. “This is another example of teamwork! I support @BubbaWallace and love the leadership I have seen out of him recently. Let’s make a run at the Championship!”
Busch’s retirement allowed Ryan Blaney to win a driver playoff position at Daytona, but the No. 45 vehicle retained its place in the owner playoffs. Wallace is driving the No. 45, which is competing for the owner’s championship, to increase 23XI’s prospects of placing well in the owner’s rankings.
Even while some fans may find it unclear in the coming weeks, it’s a wise choice. Most of the season’s point money is based on the owner’s standings.
23XI will be paid more the higher the No. 45 finishes in the playoffs. In the owner standings, Wallace’s No. 23 car can only place as high as 17th, and playoff cars get a larger payout.
The No. 45’s participation in the owner’s playoffs further increases our limited chances of witnessing a very unusual Cup Series double-celebration. Wallace might be competing for the owner’s championship in Phoenix if he goes on a hot streak during the playoffs.
Furthermore, he and 23XI might enjoy a victory at the same time that another driver and his team are celebrating a victory for the driver’s title if he wins the owner’s championship.