DAYTONA BEACH, Fla — The goal is simple in Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN) for Bubba Wallace. Just win. That’s all that matters to the fifth year NASCAR Cup Series driver.
Anything short will keep him out of the postseason once again. However, if there’s any spot for his 2nd career win to occur – it’s here.
Wallace has scored four runner-up finishes over the course of his young career. Three of them have come at Daytona International Speedway. He in fact has finished second in the last two races at the historic track, and he was runner-up in his first ever Daytona 500 in 2018.
However, Wallace doesn’t necessarily consider his past success at the track a true indicator of his chances going forward.
“Like maybe five years ago, it would be like, ‘Man, we deserve a win here.’” Wallace said. “Five years to work on that. Now, it’s like you don’t deserve anything. Let’s go out and earn it. No matter if you finish second, how many times we’ve done it, we can still blow up or we could still break something. You don’t know. And so for us it’s just (important) to not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s focus on what we need to do.
“It’s just making sure you’re there for the last—I always say five laps, but we may wreck 10 times in five laps—so just make sure you’re there for the last two laps and set yourself up for being one of the first four cars,’’ Wallace added. “That’s what we need to focus on. Let’s get up that point.”
Wallace comes to Daytona ranked 20th in the standings, and his only shot at advancing to the 2022 Playoffs is to win Saturday night. The 28-year old has earned four Top-10 finishes in just the last six weeks, including a runner-up at Michigan.
Is his time now? He feels like it. So does his peers. Wallace is ready for the stage ahead and like his two team owners, he’s ready to perform when the lights are on.