Why Bubba Wallace Replacing Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series for 2022 Makes Complete Sense

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Bubba Wallace at Cup Series race in New Hampshire

Through 21 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2021, Bubba Wallace has a single top-10 finish to his credit. It’s undeniable. His first year with 23XI Racing has been a struggle. Any additional seat time in the future could only help Wallace improve.

Next year, with Kyle Busch retiring from Xfinity Series racing as the all-time winningest driver with 102 wins, that means there will be five races available to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing. In addition to much-needed seat time, Wallace appears to be a perfect replacement for Busch for several other reasons.   

Bubba Wallace’s NASCAR career includes success with Xfinity and Truck Series

Bubba Wallace made his NASCAR debut with the Xfinity Series in 2012 with Joe Gibbs Racing. In four starts, he earned three top 10s. The following year, Wallace ran a full-time Truck Series schedule with Kyle Busch Motorsports and won his first race. He followed it up in 2014 with four more wins. 

From 2015-17, Wallace returned to the Xfinity Series, where he earned 30 top-10 finishes. He debuted with the Cup Series in 2017, running four races with Richard Petty Motorsports. For the next three seasons, Wallace raced with RPM and was moderately successful, earning nine top 10s, his best finish a second-place at the 2018 Daytona 500.

Wallace has had an up-and-down first season with 23XI Racing, co-owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin. Despite being in better equipment due to a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing, Wallace has a single top 10 to his credit, compared to the three he had at this same point last year.    

While this season has presented its fair share of challenges, there has been noticeable improvement as of late. The No. 23 team has earned six top 15s in the last nine races. 

Already in strategic partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing

With Kyle Busch announcing his retirement from Xfinity racing this year and focusing solely on Cup Series racing next year, Bubba Wallace would be a logical fit to slide into that seat for the maximum five races allowed for a Cup driver. Not only has Wallace successfully driven in the Xfinity Series for JGR in the past, the 23XI Racing Team is already in a partnership with Gibbs. 

That means Wallace is already up to speed with the processes and how things work within the Gibbs organization. Adding five Xfinity races to his schedule won’t present too large of a learning curve, and the benefits of additional seat time, especially at tracks where he might not be familiar and could use the practice, would certainly outweigh the costs.

Bubba Wallace brings sponsorship money with him

And not surprisingly, one of the biggest reasons that would justify Bubba Wallace driving those five races in the Xfinity Series next season for Joe Gibbs Racing is dollars. 

In this day and age of NASCAR, where teams struggle to find consistent sponsors, Wallace has them lining up to work with him. And we’re not talking companies you’ve never heard of, which is the case for some teams. Wallace currently has deals this season with McDonald’s, DoorDash, Columbia Sportswear, Dr. Pepper, and DraftKings.

If Wallace agreed to drive five Xfinity Series races next season, you can be sure some of his current sponsors would go with him just like they did when he left RPM to join 23XI Racing. In addition, the Xfinity races would open up another opportunity to sign totally new sponsors. 

Whether or not Wallace even wants to race five times on the Xfinity Series next year for Joe Gibbs Racing remains to be seen. But from a practical and business standpoint, it just makes too much sense for it not to happen. 

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