Bubba Wallace signs multi-year extension with 23XI Racing

Bubba Wallace signed more than just autographs and the Busch Light Pole Award backdrop in the past seven days. Nearly a week after scoring his first career NASCAR Cup Series pole, he received a multi-year contract extension to stay in the #23 Toyota Camry of 23XI Racing.

The news comes with perhaps no surprise as Wallace is a founding member of 23XI Racing, having served as the #23’s driver since the team’s maiden season in 2021 and is one of the most marketable personalities in the sport today. 2022 has been his best statistical campaign to date with career bests in top fives (four), top tens (six), his Michigan pole, and a current standing of nineteenth. He scored his and 23XI’s first win at Talladega in 2021.

Although currently outside the playoff line with three races left in the regular season, he is riding a four-race streak of top-ten finishes, and many have asserted that Wallace’s playoff hopes would be much more secure if not for early struggles with his pit crew. At Michigan, Wallace became only the second black pole winner in the Cup Series (Wendell Scott in 1962 was the first) and finished runner-up.

“Bubba was a key part of the early stages of 23XI, and I am thrilled that he will continue with the team,” said 23XI co-owner Denny Hamlin. “When we announced Bubba as our first driver, the goal was to help him take his career to a higher level, and we have done just that. Bubba and the #23 team earned the organization our first win and first pole award, and with a career-best four consecutive top-ten finishes heading into Richmond this weekend, Bubba is continuing to get more competitive each week. We’re excited to see his growth as he and the team work toward achieving our goals.”

Wallace has competed in the Cup Series since 2017. As the championship’s lone black full-time driver, he has helped bring the sport to new audiences by frequently commenting on social issues and being involved in philanthropic activities. On Thursday, ahead of the Cup race at Richmond Raceway, Wallace hosted “Bubba’s Block Party” with musical performances by hip hop artist Wale and the HBCU Virginia State University’s Trojan Explosion marching band. His marketing power has also attracted major sponsors such as Columbia and DoorDash.

“It feels great to get this renewal done and to know I have a home at 23XI Racing,” Wallace added. “Thanks to M.J. (co-owner Michael Jordan) and Denny for continuing to believe in me. We’ve come a long way together in less than two years and we’ve checked off some major goals along the way, including the team’s first win and first pole. We know we still have work to do, both on and off the race track, but I feel good about our team and the direction we’re heading.”

With Wallace in the #23, Kurt Busch having his own multi-year deal with 23XI that began this season, and Tyler Reddick set to join the organisation in 2024, the future looks bright for 23XI.