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NASCAR Cup Series

Bubba Wallace Advances to Second Round

Bubba Wallace battles Kyle Busch during the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol. (Photo: Kyle Ritchie | The Podium Finish)

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Where others could not meet the moment, Bubba Wallace did exactly what he said he needed to do in order to advance.

After entering the race 19 points below the cutline, Wallace ran 14th in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol.

With Kevin Harvick having a dismal performance and Joey Logano getting collected in a wreck on Lap 262, Wallace had just enough to advance to the Round of 12 by four points.

Coming into the race, Wallace knew that stage points would be crucial to having a shot to advance. Amidst a pair of cautions for rain in the opening stage, Wallace and crew chief Bootie Barker took advantage to end the opening stage in third.

Wallace did not earn any stage points in the second stage and looked to be in trouble despite poor runs by multiple playoff drivers. That changed on lap 262, when Corey LaJoie spun trying to move to the inside of Erik Jones.

LaJoie slid up the track and hit the left rear tire of Logano’s car. Logano drove it to the pits, then to the garage as the damage was terminal.

This immediately changed the outlook for Wallace, who moved into the last transfer spot. As team owner Denny Hamlin was cruising to a win, all Wallace needed to do was be steady and hope for no cautions.

Despite running 14th and a lap down, he had enough to transfer. He joins 23XI Racing teammate Tyler Reddick in the Round of 12, the second of four legs of the postseason.

Wallace, who notoriously wears his heart on his sleeve, left it all out on the track Saturday night.

“I love where I’m at and this team,” Wallace told NBC. “We’ve just got to keep it going. We gave it our all, battled, executed. That’s what you’ve got to do.”

Now, Wallace begins the Round of 12 as the last seed, 12 points behind the final transfer spot. This particular round offers challenging venues such as Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.

Despite advancing to the next round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, Wallace understands that stagnation is not going to be acceptable.

“We can’t get complacent,” Wallace told Frontstretch’s Michael Massie. “We know Texas is up and we’re ok there. We’ve got to come out swinging.”

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