NASCAR's Bubba Wallace Suspended After Crash and Heated Altercation With Kyle Larson

Bubba Wallace will be forced to sit out the next Cup Series race after NASCAR suspended him for his altercation with fellow driver Kyle Larson, citing several rule violations.

By Ashley Joy Parker Oct 19, 2022 3:11 AMTags
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Bubba Wallace is being forced to pump the breaks.

NASCAR announced it has suspended the 29-year-old driver from the next Cup Series Championship event after the incident with fellow driver Kyle Larson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16.

The organization found Wallace in violation of several rules of NASCAR Member Code of Conduct during the race, including "intentionally wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from competition as a result."

Wallace's suspension was handed down on Oct. 18, two days after he and Larson came to blows during lap 95 of the South Point 400. After Larson's No. 5 Chevrolet forced Wallace's No. 45 Toyota into the wall, Wallace appeared to return the favor by hitting the rear of Larson's car, forcing him to spin out. Moments after the the wreck, Wallace got out of his car and shoved Larson during what appeared to be a heated face-to-face confrontation.

The crash also took out the No. 20 driver, Christopher Bell, who was vying for a Championship 4 spot in the 2022 Cup Series Playoffs. None of the three competitors were able to continue the race.

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After the race, Larson, 30, admitted to making an aggressive move that led to the initial contact that caused the wreck.

"I got in low, got loose and chased it up a bit and he got up to my right front and got tight," he told reporters. "I knew he was going to retaliate. He had a reason to be mad but his race wasn't over until he retaliated. Just aggression turned into frustration."

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As for Wallace—who races for Denny Hamiln and Michael Jordan's 23XII team—he claimed the steering on his car broke and that Larson just happened to be there. However, the following day, Wallace issued a formal apology.

"My behavior does not align with 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," his Oct. 17 statement read. "I compete with immense passion, and with passion, at times, comes frustration. 

He continued, "Upon reflecting, I should have represented our partners and core team values better than I did by letting my frustrations follow me outside of the car. You live and learn, and I intend to learn from this."

Wallace also issued a direct apology to Bell and his team "for putting them in a situation in the playoffs that they do not deserve."

In the wake of Wallace's suspension, Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's chief operating officer, detailed why the organization decided to take action over the incident.

"Our actions are really specific to what took place on the race track," he explained on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's SiriusXM Speedway Oct. 18,  "And when we look at how that incident occurred, in our minds, really a dangerous act. We thought that was intentional and put other competitors at risk. And as we look at the sport and where we are today and where we want to draw that line going forward, we thought that definitely crossed the line and that's what we focused on in terms of making this call."

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O'Donnell also noted NASCAR officials examined the data and reviewed multiple angles of the incident before landing on the decision to suspend Wallace, adding, "historically it's been very rare if ever that we suspend drivers, so we don't take that action lightly."

Wallace's suspension will force him to sit out the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 24. Just one month earlier, Wallace became the first Black driver to win multiple Cup Series races with his victory at the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kanas Speedway.

Former NASCAR champion Joey Logano—who was also competing in the Las Vegas race—also weighed in on Wallace's actions since the on-track altercation, saying, "The retaliation is not OK in the way it happened."

"I don't know if everyone realizes how bad that could have been," he said on The Morning Drive on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "That could have been the end of Kyle Larson's career. That to me was what was on the line. Or his life."

E! News has reached Wallace's rep for comment on the suspension but has not heard back.


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