"That was one of the biggest things that helped us" - Bubba Wallace Jr.'s spotter admits that Martin Truex Jr.'s 'costly mistake' helped the #23 to a P3 finish at New Hampshire

Bubba Wallace Jr. (#23) and Martin Truex Jr. (#19) race during the NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations Duel #2 at Daytona International Speedway
Bubba Wallace Jr. (#23) and Martin Truex Jr. (#19) race during the NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations Duel #2 at Daytona International Speedway

23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace Jr. had a good day in the office in New Hampshire last Sunday night, securing his 2nd top-five finish of the season at the Ambetter 301. Wallace Jr’s racing luck began on Saturday morning when he claimed P4 in the qualifying race, one of his best starting positions this season.

The race went green on Sunday, and Wallace Jr. emerged as one of the fastest drivers in the event. Starting at P4, he quickly advanced to the front row, clearing Chase Elliott and holding position two until the end of Stage 1. Martin Truex Jr., on the other hand, raced in hand, taking the pole on Saturday and dominating the first and second stages.

YESSIR 🤟🏽🦞 Big weekend for the squad!Best qualifying of the year resulted in Top 10 finishes in all three stages for the 23 & 45 😎 @BubbaWallace P3@KurtBusch P10Good momentum heading into @PoconoRaceway!

The second stage was a bit tough for Wallace Jr. as he finished 10th behind Christopher Bell, who later inched his way into the victory lane. The #23 driver then regained momentum in stage three on the final lap when Truex Jr. made a wrong pit call that ruined his entire race after having two solid stages and leading over 150 laps. He decided to change only two tires instead of three; this call slowed him, and he couldn’t reclaim the lead.

According to Freddie Kraft, Bubba Wallace Jr.’s spotter, Truex Jr.’s bad call helped them sit in front as they ran 10th before a couple of drivers pitted. Speaking on an episode of Door, Bumper, Clear podcast, Kraft said:

“That was one of the biggest things that helped us. We were running about 10th, and we took four [tires]. We drive up to fourth or fifth, and a couple of drivers pit for fuel. That’s how we got in front.”

The New Hampshire race marked Bubba Wallace Jr.’s third top 10 finish in 21 starts of the 2022 season. His first clean race was at the Daytona 500, where he finished as runner-up. His best finish came with a P10 at Kansas.

Bubba Wallace Jr. is among the drivers caught up in most wrecks in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series

Bubba Wallace Jr. has been one of the fastest drivers this season, but luck hasn’t been on his side. Apart from being the fastest driver, he is also among the ones caught up in most wrecks, thus affecting his performance.

His team recently made a crew member swap with Christopher Bell, and it seems things are now taking shape. He currently sits 20th in the drivers’ standings, meaning his playoffs chances stand at a must-win position. With an impressive finish in New Hampshire, Wallace Jr. believes he is in a better position to score his first win of the season.

Denny Hamlin's decision to switch pit crew members between Christopher Bell's No. 20 team and Bubba Wallace's No. 23 team seems to be paying off early on.Both drivers secured podium finishes today at New Hampshire. #NASCAR 📸 Sean Gardner / Getty Images

Wallace Jr. only has six events to book his spot in the playoffs. His teammate Kurt Busch has already secured his position, and Wallace Jr. is the only one remaining to lock in the entire 23XI Racing in the playoffs.

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Edited by Anurag C
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