Bubba Wallace made the NASCAR Playoffs for the first time in his career thanks to a 12th-place finish in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.
Wallace caught a break when Daniel Suarez did not win the first stage, and he was able to come away unscathed in the first massive wreck in Turn 4 before the end of the second stage. Through all of that, his 14th finish in the top 15 was enough to push him through to the postseason.
The 23XI Racing driver had a message for the critics after the Daytona race.
"All those comments that people throw on your videos about Bubba Wallace (not) making the playoffs, they’re wrong," Wallace told FOX Sports after the race. "I love it. I love it. I love it."
Wallace thanked his family and colleagues for helping him get to this point.
"It was kind of a surreal situation I was in mentally. I was just proud to make it all work and having the people behind me — my team, my wife helping me navigate all the obstacles getting to this point."
Wallace enters the postseason in the 16th spot, which is not a great starting point.
However, he expressed some belief in his and his team’s abilities to create something special in the postseason.
"I think we can do some damage," he said. "Looking back in our first round of the owner playoffs last year was really, really solid. We’ve got to create the longevity of that, making the most of it."
The first race of the playoffs is at Darlington on Sunday.