The start of this NASCAR season has been less than optimal for Bubba Wallace, the driver of the #23 car for 23XI Racing, unlike his teammate TyLer Reddick who clinched his first win of the season and his fourth since joining the Cup Series. Wallace's day ended early on Sunday, just ten laps into the race, caused by a broken toe link and busted oil line. In his post-crash interview, he commented that he needed to "be replaced."
Currently, Wallace has finished three of the first six races of the season and is sitting 19th in the standings. His teammate has three top-5 finishes and sits comfortably in 10th. Again, this season has been less than optimal for Wallace and is the worst start he has had in his six-year career thus far.
But does he need to be replaced? If you ask my wife, the answer is no. She enjoyed his post-crash interview and crowned him with the "Nicest Face in NASCAR" Award. Before the COTA race, she had no idea who Bubba was. She would be devastated if he were to be replaced before the Richmond race.
If you ask me, my answer is absolutely not. Despite his low performance on the track, I believe Bubba is the face of 23XI Racing. My wife was onto something as she was drooling over Wallace.
NASCAR needs personality, and Wallace has no shortage of personality. One thing is for certain. He is a competitor. He shows that with his emotion. He gets a bad rep for showing off his emotions, but if every driver had as much emotion as Bubba, NASCAR would be a heck of a lot more interesting to those that are not die-hards like I am. At the end of the day, NASCAR is a business, and without the publicity Wallace brings to 23XI racing, they would not be the team that they are today.
It's no secret that I am a Stenhouse fan. I love the guy to death and have never had anything bad to say about him. I don't think anybody in the NASCAR community has ever had anything bad to say about him. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs this up in his podcast, The Dale JR Download. BUT, I would love for Stenhouse to drop an F-Bomb or two over the scanner during races. He is just so calm and collected behind the wheel, I don't think you will find another driver as calm and collected as Stenhouse.
I've slowly been founding myself to be a fan of Wallace because of his passion for the sport. I want to see him do good. I won't say quite yet that he is what the Carolina Panthers are to me (my #2 team in the NFL), but he's slowly climbing his way to that spot.
So no, Bubba does not need to be replaced. Even the New England Patriots had down years with Brady in control. There is still a lot of racing left in the season and plenty of time for Wallace to turn it around. We can revisit this topic at the end of the season, but for now, Wallace belongs in the #23 car.