Although Bubba Wallace didn't have a career-defining day at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he stayed out of trouble and brought his Toyota Camry home in P16. This may not be enough to elevate him to a playoff level, but it is a steady improvement.
Bubba Wallace finished P17 at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. He followed that up with a P26 finish at the Daytona road course. He finished P22 and P28 at Homestead and Las Vegas, respectively.
Fortunately for Bubba Wallace, things improved after Las Vegas as he finished P16 at both Phoenix and Atlanta. The two top-25 finishes were enough to lift Wallace to 19th in the points standings, which gives him a shot at making the playoffs this season.
Could Bubba Wallace be a playoff contender?
He has opportunites to make up ground at races like Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond, Talladega and COTA. Ultimately, his chances depend on the car 23XI Racing can provide for the upcoming races, but a short track detour gives him a decent chance.
Talladega Superspeedway is Wallace's best chance at getting the first Cup Series win of his career. The odds look promising due to how well he ran in portions of the Daytona 500. Fans will hope Bubba Wallace has learned enough to run at the front of the pack.
Counting Bubba Wallace out of the playoffs after six races would be foolish. His top-25 finishes at Phoenix and Atlanta prove that progress is being made. Between his growing confidence and the uncertainty of the upcoming schedule, Bubba Wallace could be a factor in the playoffs this season.