Wallace sighed as he saw Austin Cindric fall just short.
Wallace stated, "I don’t want to see it." "That sucks! Gah!"
After the most painful near-miss in his NASCAR career, Wallace had to go back and relive his second Daytona 500 runner up finish. Wallace led laps Sunday's Daytona 500 for the second consecutive time and was within sight of the checkered flag. The 23XI Racing driver charged to victory and hugged the yellow line. Cindric was able to beat Wallace by 0.03 seconds.
Wallace described a win as "I could smell it".
Wallace, who was second to Austin Dillon in 2018, had tears outside the No. His fiancee, 23 Toyota, came up to him for a hug. He took a sip from a water bottle, and stared at the screen while Cindric was interviewed. Fireworks were also visible around him.
He said, "I'll probably punch a pillow or hug the dog when I get back on the bus."
Wallace couldn't help but think about how close he came to inking his name into Daytona 500 history.
He said, "This could hurt, or victory could taste sweet." "I'd rather be wrecked than finish second," he said.
Wallace was able to pull himself together and congratulate Cindric on his victory.
Cindric stated, "I know there are a lot people that want it really badly and he's certainly one of them." He's hard at work and is able to compete in many of these races.
Wallace was already the top Black driver to finish in the Daytona 500, and he also became the first Black driver to lead laps last year. He led 12 laps for seven laps Sunday, which was enough to impress Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
It was not enough for him to win the Cup race for the second consecutive time in his professional career.
He said, "I had a lot confidence those 10 laps." "I thought that we had it in our bag. We were sixth, fifth, or whatever. But, I thought this was our night. Perhaps I was too quick to jump the gun.
Wallace was NASCAR's face in his second season as 23XI. Wallace had called for NASCAR's ban on the Confederate flag during its June 2020 events. His victory at Talladega last October was the first Cup win for a Black driver in Cup since Wendell Scott's 1963.
Already, it was a busy week for Wallace in Daytona. McDonald's, one Wallace's sponsors, has announced a collaboration with 23XI and McDonald's to create a streetwear line. Netflix has dropped "RACE: Bubba Wallace", a docuseries that follows the career and rise of the only Black NASCAR driver.
Jordan was there and had a front row view of the fence-shredding wreck during the Xfinity race. Hamlin stayed on the track after an earlier crash ended his hopes of winning the fourth Daytona 500 title.
"I was disappointed with the way our day ended, but @BubbaWallace & the @23XIRacing Team did a great job. Hamlin stated, "Get me to Cali asap."
Wallace seemed almost dazed when he got out of his car. His crew and friends congratulated him for his run and patted him on both shoulders. Joe Gibbs, the team owner, was there to give Wallace a little encouragement.
Wallace stated, "I appreciate the support I have received from my true supporters that understand me" It's one race. "One race in the long season."
Wallace has the backing of Fortune 500 companies, and he is now better placed to help Daytona than he ever was as an inexperienced Cup driver underfunded Richard Petty. Wallace finished the 2018 season with two more top-10s. Jordan has higher expectations than the former Bull could have dunk in his prime.
Wallace stated, "I knew that this was a major move for me last year to go out in competition, and we are showing that."
Who is the winner in NASCAR’s largest race? No.
He said, "Damn! I wanted to win that one!"