Bubba Wallace captured the second consecutive win at Kansas Speedway for 23XI Racing, charging through the field and holding off rival driver Denny Hamlin, who is also his boss as co-owner, with Michael Jordan, of Wallace’s racing team.
Kurt Busch drove the number 45 Toyota to victory in May, and Wallace has taken over the ride to finish the year as Busch recovers from a concussion.
The win is the second of Wallace’s career, but the first full-distance win, the previous being the rain-shortened Talladega 500 in 2021.
After the race, Wallace talked about the meaning of the accomplishment.
“I think it’s incredible,” the six-year NASCAR Cup veteran said. “Winning at this level is the hardest thing in life for us race car drivers.”
“To be able to say we’re winners today here at Kansas through the year that we’ve had and what we’ve been able to do the last couple of months, is incredible.”
Alex Bowman won stage 1 of the race, and Christopher Bell took stage 2. Playoff contenders Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick were both knocked out of the race, complicating their chances in advancing to the next round.
Taking place on the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the pre-race festivities had a patriotic flair and included musical performances from Lee Greenwood and Craig Morgan, along with the swearing in of a large group of new military enlistees, who received a large ovation from the crowd.
The NASCAR Cup playoffs continue next week at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway. Though Wallace is not in playoff contention, the 23XI team continues to race for the owner’s championship.