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Bubba Wallace complains about passing at Phoenix during Shriners Children's 500

JHby:Jonathan Howard03/10/24


Bubba Wallace Phoenix passing
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

While we have seen certain drivers and cars able to pass today at Phoenix, Bubba Wallace is finding it to be a challenge as usual. NASCAR has tinkered with the short track package to improve passing, but Phoenix is a tough track regardless.

At Phoenix, we know the field will get strung out, but we also know we are going to be treated to two, three, and four wide racing at times, too. Watching the race, I feel like there is more passing than previously.

However, that isn’t the situation with a few drivers. Bubba Wallace got on his radio to lament how hard it was to get around other cars on the track today as Stage 1 came to an end.

“Whatever the hardest thing y’all done in life… It ain’t got s**t on trying to pass here in Phoenix,” Wallace told his team, via Alan Cavanna.

Bubba Wallace might have trouble with passing, but others are getting it done, albeit difficult. As Stage 1 ended we had a major pass. Tyler Reddick, Wallace’s teammate got around Ty Gibbs for the stage win. He had to make a few attempts, but he got it done.

Christopher Bell has moved up in this race as has Martin Truex Jr. Chase Elliott and William Byron are in the top-5 and making moves to advance. However, Bubba is further back in the field. So, he might have more dirty air to work through.

Bubba Wallace trying to keep pace with Toyota teammates

There is no doubt about it, the Toyota camp has something figured out here on this track. Phoenix has had a lot of Hendrick and Chevy dominance in recent races. Right now, we are seeing the Toyotas put it to the rest of the field.

Denny Hamlin was the pole-sitter and eventually took the lead back at the start of Stage 2. Reddick is chasing him in second. Truex, Bell, and Gibbs are all in the top-10 as well in the middle of the second stage.

However, keep an eye on Elliott and Byron. Those two cars are making moves slowly through the field. If they can get the right adjustments and long green flag runs, then they could put together a run at the checkered flag together.

Last year, Byron stole this win on a late restart. Pit road position matters so much here. Hamlin has the best box, the first one, and can just drive out of it after a pit stop, giving him a big advantage. As for Bubba Wallace, we will see if he can catch up with the other Toyotas by the end of this one.