Sure, Bubba Wallace went into Sunday’s Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard believing he had a great No. 43 car, but surely nobody felt it would be top-three worthy? Right?
Well, in a wild and crazy 400-miler at the 2.5-mile rectangular track, it sure was.
Wallace started the day from the 15th position, but in the early going it looked like his good day was already doomed.
Coming to pit road under caution, Wallace was sandwiched in a four-or-more car pileup on pit road. The incident ended Martin Truex Jr.’s hopes at victory and severely crippled Chase Elliott’s day.
Luckily, Wallace was able to persevere.
As he worked his way methodically and consistently through the field all day long, Wallace was in position for a top-finish in the closing laps.
In the end, he finished with a season-best finish of third and the second-best finish of his Cup Series career.
“Heck of a day,” Wallace said. “I don’t know to say. We had speed all weekend in our Victory Junction Chevrolet. We never gave up all day no matter what happened on pit road. I still don’t know what happened. We went from the lowest of lows, to the almost highest of highs! It was just a solid day for our team. Smaller organizations having big runs. It is very uncommon these days. Almost like David and Goliath. Everything kind of clicked today for us. These little teams aren’t supposed to run with the big teams. It was a good day.”
Wallace definitely scored one for the little guys on Sunday, as Indianapolis isn’t a track where the non-super teams are expected to ever have much of a shot. Yet, there was Wallace, in the mix for the win over the final few restarts of the crown jewel event.
It’s been a long and difficult season for Wallace on the race track and off the race track.
Results have been spotty at best, as going into Sunday’s race he had yet to nab a top-10 finish all year long.
He’s also been one of the more heart-wrenching stories of the season as he has opened up about suffering from depression.
However, aside from Sunday’s great performance there have been some fun highlights for Wallace in 2019 as well.
He has become a fan favorite for tossing footballs with fans in the stands during rain delays and he has even become a racing photographer during times of the season.
Finally, Sunday gives Wallace some headlines for positive results on the race track.
As things haven’t looked the best, Wallace has continued to put his best foot forward. He hasn’t given up on his race team, and he certainly hasn’t given up on his dream of becoming a Cup Series race winner.
Sunday’s great performance shows that the Alabama native certainly has the drive, determination and skill to wheel a car at the highest level of NASCAR.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.