Toyota Racing - NCS Kansas Quotes - Bubba Wallace & Tyler Reddick
23XI Racing drivers Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick were made available to media prior to the NASCAR Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway on Saturday:
BUBBA WALLACE, No. 23 Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
TYLER REDDICK, No. 45 McDonald’s Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Can you talk about the outlook for you both going into this weekend?
WALLACE: “I think it is going to be exciting. I feel really good to get back to Kansas and get back to what we did in the fall. It was a special weekend for us. I’ve seen some talks that Toyotas are tops of the topic heading into this weekend. We are on track to get our ship headed in the right way.”
REDDICK: “This is a track where I had a lot of speed last year in both events, but just couldn’t put the whole race together. The second race went out with a bang for us, but really excited to get back here. I had to race against 23XI last year, and it was really cool to see all the speed they had knowing I was going to go there at some point, and now that we are here, excited to see what we have in a few hours. It’s going to be a little bit hotter, but I think that should help us a little bit more.”
How important was your win last fall and how do you translate back into this weekend?
WALLACE: “It was massive for the team. The win last year was big for the team and to get the seep was really cool. The 23 car was pretty solid there in the first race too – we had some troubles that kind of took us out of contention, so to come back and seal the deal in the 45 was just special for our team and being so new. That was our second year and making the most of it. I’m assuming when they all started this, they didn’t plan sweeping the Kansas races in their second year going. Just proud to be a part of the process, and coming back here, I think all the momentum is on our side, there’s no better way to put it.”
What did the performance from last fall do for you personally?
WALLACE: “I think you put your name in a hat. You stir things up. It’s good to be who everyone talks about on different occasions, for example speedways and stuff. Just have to keep it going. Nothing is ever given to you – it doesn’t matter who won here last year or the last race. We’ve got to earn it. We’ve got practice and qualifying today. We have to get dialed through that. Temperatures are really, really hot, so you just have to cross over every box.”
Can you talk about practice and qualifying today with the multiple lanes here?
REDDICK: “We’ve done this twice now with the Next Gen car. Everyone has a pretty good feel for how it’s going to be. Maybe arguably all of the racing and wrecking that is going on out there, the track will have a little bit of that rubber on it, that will maybe throw us a little bit of a curveball for practice and maybe even, qualifying. I think everyone has a pretty good feel for it. We’ve got two races under our belt with this car now.”
Would it be cool for you to be the third straight different winner in the No. 45?
REDDICK: “It would be really cool, but all that aside, it’s about coming into this weekend and executing. Both teams, this whole organization, is really excited and really wants to see what we have – a couple months removed from the last time we were here. Everyone comes in with a lot of confidence, and we need to capitalize on that and get the weekend started right in practice. Qualify well. It would be really cool to do that, but we will both be out there giving it everything we’ve got. As long as one of us gets it done, it’s fine by me.”
You had tire issues both races last year. Do you think you will not have that issue this season with the warmer temperatures?
REDDICK: “The first race here wasn’t actually a tire. The vinyl signage on the wall getting wrapped around the splitter on my car and lost all downforce and crashed. I can’t blame the tire on that one, but certainly, having that tire failure again last year was a bummer – but I think normally the tire issues come to life in situations like Texas last year when it’s hot and the pace slowed down and grip really increases, and the cars travel a little bit more. Who knows, but it looks like it is going to be a little bit warm. You never know. People may get aggressive with it, but it seems like it everyone as they get more time with this car they know more about where they need to be.”
What are you looking forward to the most with the LEGACY MOTOR CLUB announcement?
REDDICK: “I’m really excited about it. The more of us that we have on the race track, the more it helps at the superspeedways, but just having a large pool of drivers and crew chiefs and minds that can share information with one another and work together. I don’t know how that is all going to work out. I don’t want to say anything before I should, but on the driver’s side, getting to work together with Noah (Gragson) again is going to be a lot of fun. Me and him worked together a lot when we were at Chevy, and Erik (Jones) is familiar with the Toyota camp and has had a lot of success with Toyota as well.”
WALLACE: “Talking with the Toyota execs, they are excited because it is numbers. We have more numbers, more cars to play, especially superspeedway stuff. They can help us out a bit. We are still the minority, but I think numbers are important for sure.”
Are there greater expectations going into this race knowing how good you were last year?
WALLACE: “Not really. Nothing is guaranteed. You have to go up and earn it, and get through every step of the way. It’s tough. You go to sleep – I was excited about Kansas. You go to practice and qualify, get that same speed feeling. You feel good in the sim on Wednesday. All signs are leading up to good things, but you can’t count your eggs before they hatch.”
How much has Kurt Busch helped as part of Kansas prep?
REDDICK: “The nice thing about how this team works, whether it is Billy (Scott), Bootie (Barker), Kurt (Busch) – everyone takes a lot of great notes and the amount of information that everyone shares with our organization and what we share with Joe Gibbs and back and forth gives us a lot of knowledge to go off of. Everyone has done a really good job of that and we’ve had plenty to go off of for sure to prepare for this race.”
How would you rate your performance at 23XI this season so far?
REDDICK: “I always try to look at the what ifs. We’ve had a lot of other good races that have gotten away from us. This a new venture for me. My first year with Toyota, first year with this team and just trying to get to know everybody. I think from that stand point, we’ve being doing a really good job of that. It’s really great that we have that win, but we are just building on all of the things that matter for when the Playoffs come around. The numbers, while we would love to have a few more here and there in certain columns, it’s just about going through these experiences and learning together, so when it comes time to get down to business in the Playoffs, we’ve gone through all those trials and we are ready.”
How have you benefitted at having (Tyler) Reddick as a teammate?
WALLACE: “Tyler (Reddick) has been a huge help. It’s fun. I called him when I heard the news that we were going to bring him on. I knew he was going to be fast – fast in a lot of places that I’m not, road courses, certain tracks that we go to. Let’s look at the start of how COTA went – we were looking pretty good. Don’t look at the finish, because it was about the average, but piggybacking off of him and trying some techniques. His stuff is a little far out there, but it is worth the try, risk (laughter). I knew he was fast, so when you see competition is faster you want to learn as fast as you can, but when it is your teammate, you have some resources to see what he’s doing, you have the conversations to do all of that. It’s been a sweet one – having him as teammate.”
What are your thoughts on Kurt Busch being included in NASCAR’s top 75 drivers?
WALLACE: “I think it’s super cool. I was super interested in who was going to be chosen. I thought it was definitely well deserved – for both of them (Kurt and Kyle Busch). Being a teammate with Kurt the last two seasons now and seeing how much he has meant to the sport and talking with his peers and former competitors in just how much he brings to the table is spot on. Kurt is a lot of fun to be around. Having Kurt and being able to have those conversations with him, he brings a lot of knowledge and different vantage points that we haven’t thought about it.”
REDDICK: “There has been a lot of really good drivers I’ve been competing against these last couple of years, Kurt, Kyle, that have done some pretty incredible things. It is really cool that Kurt is part of that list. I feel like he should have been without a doubt. I’m really happy for him and really excited to be running a throwback car to his 2003 season, more specifically, that Darlington race with that very historic finish. Hopefully, it can do one spot better for him to just be the icing on the cake. Really excited about running that car as well.”
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