Bubba Wallace (12th) led Toyota in tonight’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway. With the finish, Wallace locks into the final Playoff berth. It is the first time that 23XI Racing has placed two cars in the Playoff field (Tyler Reddick, Wallace) and five Toyota Playoff drivers (Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Reddick, Martin Truex Jr. and Wallace) ties the most in the manufacturer’s history in this Playoff format (2016).
Martin Truex Jr. clinched the Regular Season Championship for the second time (2017) and the fourth regular season title for Toyota since 2017.
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Daytona International Speedway
Race 26 of 36 – 400 miles, 160 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Chris Buescher*
2nd, Brad Keselowski*
3rd, Aric Almirola*
4th, Chase Elliott*
5th, Joey Logano*
12th, BUBBA WALLACE
16th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
24th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
25th, TYLER REDDICK
26th, DENNY HAMLIN
35th, TY GIBBS
BUBBA WALLACE, No. 23 Columbia Sportswear Company Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 12th
Can you describe the emotion you are feeling right now?
“I’m just relieved. I apologized to my wife (Amanda) all week. I haven’t been myself – I’ve been stressing. Thankful that we are in it. That is the most calm I’ve ever been. It’s ass-backwards. You come to Daytona, and you focus so much on controlling the things that you can control. My stubborn ass never wants to listen to people telling me that. I finally did that, and we are locked in. What an incredible feat for our 23 team. I had a heart-to-heart with my team after Atlanta after qualifying – I said if we got our shit together, we can do great things in the Playoffs. I’m so proud of the team from top down, very thankful. Back to the team – it took longer than I wanted, but to get the 23 and 45 locked in the Playoffs for all our partners, coming off a great week down at the Grove. Just to be here and get it done. Shout to Chris Buescher – I’ll finally let our Dover beef go. Congrats on the win. We are settled. Good job.”
What does this rank on your career achievements?
“On my Mt. Rushmore. I don’t have a lot of things on my Mt. Rushmore. I got two faces with my two wins, I’ll put the this as the third face up there. It’s pretty special. Just relieved. I don’t have much emotion, just relieved, drained mentally. Glad we’ve got the day off tomorrow, because I’ll be hurting on Monday.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Yahoo! Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 16th
What is the opportunity for this team in the Playoffs?
“Yeah, the first round is number one about being consistent, and just not beating yourself. If you get through there with a couple of solid races, you should be in pretty good shape. With that being said, they are great race tracks for us and great opportunities for us to score more Playoff points. If we win stages and win races, those are still bonus points that are carried into the Round of 12 and the Round of 8. Hopefully, we can execute on the small stuff and put ourselves in position to transfer. If we have fast cars – which we should – hopefully, we can take advantage of it.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 24th
This trophy is pretty awesome, but I’m sure you are more excited about the 15 bonus points that come with this, correct?
“Yeah, the trophy is really cool, but we are focused on the championship again this year, and that feels really good. It’s really awesome to get these bonus points. I’m just really proud of my team and everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), TRD, Bass Pro, Auto Owners, Resers – all of our partners for giving us the opportunity to be here and to be able to have the season that we had. Hopefully, we can keep it going. It was a little frustrating to not be able to really race tonight after Denny (Hamlin) kind of got in that situation and we got the stage win – that was kind of a bummer, but big picture was the right thing to do. We’ve got to put together 10 great races like we did in 2017 again.”
TYLER REDDICK, No. 45 The Beast Unleashed Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 25th
Not what you wanted tonight, but for 23XI a great day as you will have a teammate with you in the Playoffs. Can you talk about your race and making the Playoffs for the first time with 23XI?
“That was the obviously step one of the goals moving over to 23XI and being part of the Toyota family. We were hoping to get more points, I don’t know where we actually ended up in the regular season – but we will be ready to go in Darlington to make a charge for the championship with this The Beast Unleashed team.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 26th
Big night for you as a driver and owner. Can you put your arms around tonight and your Playoff outlook?
“I’m really proud of the whole 23XI team to get two cars in the Playoffs in just our third year. It’s a testament to all of the hard work they’ve been putting in. You can’t do it without your manufacturer in Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing for the alliance and the team itself for putting fast cars on the race track, and on top of that, the drivers working to get better. We’ve seen a really big shift for Bubba (Wallace) getting better. He’s stepping up and I look forward to seeing what he does.”
TY GIBBS, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 34th
Are you okay and what happened out there?
“Yeah, I am. I felt like I was getting a great push. I feel like all of our teammates were working really well together tonight. I may have got a push in a bad spot, but we were going for the stage win. I want to thank Christopher (Bell) for all of the pushes he gave me, I really do.”