NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. always said that the second place winner is the first place loser…
Come to think of it, another racing legend, Ricky Bobby, said something similar…
And Bubba Wallace took that to heart this past Sunday, after he ended up finishing in second place at Michigan.
He actually started the race at the front of the pack in pole position, but was edged out by Kevin Harvick and the #4 on the last lap. The only way he’s making the playoffs at this point is by winning a race outright.
So, it’s pretty easy to see that, considering he desperately needs a win, second place does feel pretty much like a failure… but it is a tad bit dramatic:
“Sorry, I fucking failed y’all. Absolute fucking failure.”
His crew chief, Bootie Barker, had sound words of encouragement to share with his driver over the radio, saying that he did a “hell of a job” by finishing second (though Bubba really wasn’t all that interesting in hearing any of it):
“I don’t care what you think, that’s a hell of a weekend.
Through the line here…. Checkered flag. Yeah, man. Hell of a job. We’re only getting better. Hell of a job.
Alright, I’ll come see you. Great job, man. Great job. Great job, crew. Way to stay in it all day.”
Bubba has a pair of top-three finishes over the past four races, and known to excel at superspeedways, he seems to have a pretty good shot at the Cole Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona in a few weeks, as he finished second in the Daytona 500 in both 2018 and earlier this year in February.
In a post-race interview on Sunday, he also added that he “failed everybody,” fighting back tears as he explained:
“It sucks. I wanna win so bad, and this was the best opportunity.”
I mean, I get being disappointed, and emotional about your success, or lack thereof, but sports is all about persevering, picking yourself up when you’re down, overcoming the odds and rising to the occasion.
No time to mope Bubba, you got three races to out there and try and get a win.
At least Kevin Harvick should be a happier camper this time around, seeing as he secured his first Cup Series win since his first since September 19th, 2020, and is officially competing for a postseason championship trophy.
And in case you missed the race on Sunday, here are the highlights: