Denny Hamlin was happier with Bubba Wallace winning a Cup Series race, even if that come at a cost of him losing.
Wallace earned his first Cup Series victory in the playoffs race at Talladega Superspeedway. The win came albeit of NASCAR cutting the race short due to rain. Wallace was the leader at that point, with 117 of the scheduled 188 laps. He was declared the winner.
It was not only Wallace’s first victory but also Hamlin and Michael Jordan’s first as the owner of 23XI Racing. Hamlin has had won a lot of Cup races but winning for the first time as an owner is something that he will cherish even more than his own victory.
“Emotions obviously super high. I didn’t realize it would be this high at this moment,” said Hamlin. “I understand the process in which it takes to get to this point – winning in NASCAR’s highest level.
“I’m in every meeting, I’m hands on with the team. I know how hard they work. I certainly am more emotional, more happy with someone else’s victory than mine on this day.”
Superspeedways have been Wallace’s best tracks until now. He also finished career-best second until his win at Daytona in 2018 and this season.
A lot of expectation was upon the team and Wallace to perform right from the first year. While he failed to deliver in the regular season, getting a Cup victory in the first year of the organization is a good platform to build upon.
Hamlin and the team have full trust in Wallace capabilities to lead them to further glory in the coming years.
“I’ve just seen a transition with him, his willingness to take in information and apply it. I think this is not going to be the last time you’re going to be hearing about his name on a superspeedway,” Hamlin said.
“He’s very gifted at them. He has very, very good instincts. Like early on in his career, early 20-year-olds, mid 20-year-old, he gets excited at times. How can you regulate that not to get too high or low when things don’t pan out exactly how you want?
“I think he’s working on that tremendously. This is obviously going to go a long way with him emotionally and for his self-confidence.”