NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace finished the 2022 season at 19th place (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace goes into the 2023 season with a new car and a new hope to reach the playoffs. He will be competing in the Daytona 500 on February 19 at 11:30A.M. PST.

“This is the most excited I am for a season to start just because of the momentum we were on last year,” Wallace said “It’s shaping up to be hopefully our best year yet.”

Wallace recently competed in the Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. He is happy about how the event exposes NASCAR to the South Central L.A. community.

“I think it’s big … getting into a market where it’s so diverse and exposing our sport to eyeballs and new faces,” he said. “It’s important, we have to continue this trend … I think it’s a start for changing the face of NASCAR and it’s fun to be a part of it.”

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During the Clash at the Coliseum, Wallace was in first place for 40 laps (Jerry Kelly/TGSportstv1)

In the 150-lap race, Wallace led for 40 laps midway through the race. The cars bumped and pushed each other as they raced around the diminutive, temporary track. In order to prepare, Wallace did simulator training and relied on his experience with legend car racing.

“I had to go back to 2019 or 2006 when we were in legend cars on tracks this size,” Wallace said. “I spent a lot of my career racing legend cars and getting that feel. Simulation, running as many laps as you can to get a comfortable feel, make a little bit of tweaks here and there to adjust to your needs.”

Wallace battled to get back to first place during the final laps but he was bumped by Austin Dillon and his car spun out. The Mobile, Alabama native ultimately came in 22nd place.

This is the third year Wallace is racing with 23XI, which was created by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin. He will also go into this season with Bootie Barker as his crew chief. Barker has been his crew chief since 2021.

Wallace is going into his third year with 23XI Racing (Jerry Kelly/TGSportstv1)

“It’s been fun working with [Barker], continuing to grow with him and push that leadership throughout our team,” Wallace said.

Last season, Wallace won the Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway. The Hollywood Casino 400 is the second event in the first round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He also came in second place at the Daytona 500. He finished the 2022 season in 19th place.

“We’ve been able to win the last two seasons, but at the wrong time, we need to win before the Playoffs,” Wallace said. “We have the right people in place, the mentality is there, our work efforts are there, so I just have to do my job and go out and start this year off right.”