In their third year of operation in the NASCAR Cup Series, co-owner Denny Hamlin expects 23XI Racing to make it to the playoffs.
Bubba Wallace has been with the team since it started and now they have added Tyler Reddick to their ranks. Additionally, driver Kurt Busch will run select races and he will also be providing his experience and knowledge to the team whenever needed.
While the team has not set the Cup Series on fire, they have been getting wins here and there, and slowly developing towards challenging the top NASCAR teams.
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Now with two years of experience, co-owner Hamlin expects the team to at least make it to the playoffs, especially with Wallace.
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“I mean, certainly we expect him to make the playoffs,” Hamlin said. “You know, Bubba did such a great job. I mean, he finished top 10 in points for us racing in the playoffs. Not many people know that that 45 car with Bubba driving it finished 10th in points last year in that playoff run so he did a great job.
“I believe that you know finishing in the top 10 once again in points will still be a jump for Tyler. I think that he at times struggles with race management and that’s what I hope I can help him with is managing the race because he’s got the speed. Certainly at my age now, I know that I win way more races with my head than I do with my talent. So how can we mix those two? And that’s when you’re really going to get a potent combination.
“And then Bubba, just what he’s done over the last half of the year — he’s exceeded my expectations of his talent level. Like he started to perform where I thought he was and then he started exceeding it. I’m like, ‘Wow, he’s really doing well.’ So I expect both of our guys to make the playoffs and I expect both of them to be top 12 in points.”
The first half of the 2022 season was not a memorable one for Wallace. He moved to the No. 45 car in the absence of Kurt Busch so that the organization could have a chance of finishing strong in the owner’s points.
This move helped both the driver and the organization as Wallace finished the last 10 races with four top 10s, including his second career victory at Kansas.
He has shown consistent improvement since his first season with 23XI Racing and if the trend is to continue, he might as well make it to the playoffs this time.