NASCAR suspends Bubba Wallace for Vegas incident

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 16: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #45 McDonald's Toyota, exits his car after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NASCAR suspended Bubba Wallace for one race Tuesday for his actions during last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup series race at Las Vegas.

Wallace, who had led 29 laps earlier in the race, was fighting his way back to the front of the field after winning Stage 1. Racing side by side with Kevin Harvick going into Turn 3, Kyle Larson dove to the inside of the two looking to gain spots. Harvick, backed off and exiting Turn 4, Wallace and Larson were side by side. The two cars touched, and Wallace on the outside bounced off the wall.  Larson shot down to the inside of the track, but Wallace immediately turned left hooking Larson’s car and spinning both up into the outside wall.

As soon as Wallace’s car came to a stop, he got out and headed towards Turn 1 where Larson was climbing from his wrecked machine.

Wallace threw down his helmet and began shoving Larson, who refused to shove back. The two drivers were soon separated and done for the day. Larson’s crew chief Cliff Daniels was heard on the team radio saying the move by Wallace was clearly retaliation.

Tuesday NASCAR suspended the 23XI Racing driver for this weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for violations of Sections 4.3.A and 4.4.C & E of the NASCAR Member Code of Conduct laid out in the NASCAR Rule Book. Rule 4.4.C lists “intentionally wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result” as one of five member actions that could result in a penalty.

Late Monday, Wallace issued an apology on his social media.

“I want to apologize for my actions on Sunday following the on-track incident with Kyle Larson and the No. 5 car,” Wallace wrote in part. “My behavior does not align with the core values that are shared by 23XI Racing and our partners, who have played a crucial role in my incredible journey to the top of this great sport.”

In 2011 Kyle Busch dumped Ron Hornaday during a Truck series race at Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR parked Busch for the rest of the weekend forcing him to sit out the Xfinity and Cup races that weekend. On that Monday Busch was fined $50,000 and put on probation for the rest of the season with a warning that if he retaliated on-track he would face an immediate suspension.

In addition to Wallace’s suspension, NASCAR announced four other penalties following the Las Vegas weekend.

Ben Beshore, crew chief of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, will miss the next four races along with jackman Derrell Edwards and tire changer Michael Hicks after the left-front wheel detached from Busch’s car under caution at Las Vegas. The suspensions carry through the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.

In the Xfinity Series, the No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing team was levied an L1-level penalty for violating Section 14.4.B.E, which pertains to the body. The penalty report notes “Flange Fit Composite Body must be used as supplied from the manufacturer without modification.” Crew chief Mark Setzer was fined $25,000 and suspended from this weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway while the team was docked 40 driver and owner points.

Chris Gayle, crew chief of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Xfinity Series, was also issued a $5,000 fine after the car was found with one loose lug nut following Saturday’s event.


VIDEO: Bubba Wallace crashes then confronts Kyle Larson at Vegas

Greg Engle