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Bubba Wallace reflects on 2023 NASCAR season with somber Instagram Story

JHby:Jonathan Howard11/06/23


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

While Bubba Wallace had a career-best finish in the NASCAR Cup Series final standings, he isn’t feeling too chipper. Even after seeing one of his best friends Ryan Blaney, win the championship, Wallace can’t help but feel like something is missing.

This isn’t uncommon for Bubba Wallace. He’s a driver that tends to be very critical of himself. In a year where he finished 10th overall in the points standings and made it to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs, he can’t find joy in it.

At least not right now.

Early into the morning hours of Monday, Bubba Wallace wrote a note on his Instagram Story, detailing his late-night thoughts.

“Currently 3:42am.. [sic] sitting here on the couch questioning everything and I have no idea why. Climbed from the car today with little to no emotion. Frustrated with how our race ended and ending the #6 team’s top10 run. You would think your bud winning the championship would bring that joy and excitement back. Sadly it did not. You would think having a career year and capping it off with P10 in points would bring the happiness back. Sadly it did not. I’ve always said music is my go to for the dark moments.. 5 hour plane ride back and I rode in complete silence for 2.5 of those. It’s the helpless feeling that really kicks wife can see that I’m off but I don’t have the what or the why that I’m feeling this way to allow her to help me…

“To my peeps out there starting at a blank wall, I’m with you. Tomorrow is another day. Another opportunity. Keep after it. ‘We gon be alright.'”

Bubba Wallace has a lot to be proud of

Really, when you look at Bubba Wallace’s 2023 season, there’s just one thing missing, a win. That’s it. He almost had one at Texas in the playoffs. There were other good runs where he had a car capable of winning. Let’s not forget he was runner-up in the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro.

But, Wallace suffers from mental struggles. He’s been open and honest about his mental health in the past. I don’t think his somber message on Instagram has much to do with racing as it does himself. And that’s okay.

However, Bubba Wallace did a lot of things right this year. He started off shaky. His criticism of himself got to levels you never like to see with a pro athlete. Then, he started to calm down and figure things out.

Four straight top-5 finishes this year during the spring and summer, if you include the All-Star Race. He fought his way into the playoffs, got to the Round of 12 and almost pulled off a Round of 8 appearance. Wallace showed strides in road course and short-track racing I wasn’t sure he could make.

To finish the season, Bubba Wallace made the final qualifying round in 9 of the 10 playoff races. His qualifying efforts were off the charts. He won a pole award at Texas this year during that run. A lot to be proud of.