NASCAR: Bubba Wallace’s 23XI Racing Team Receives Suspensions After COTA Incident

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

After NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace lost a wheel midrace at COTA, fans knew that there would be suspensions coming soon. This season, the penalties for incidents like this are going to be enforced and they will be pretty hard on drivers and teams. Already we saw what happened at the beginning of the season with drivers that lost a wheel. So, Wallace and his team are now facing similar issues.

It took a couple of days, but we now know that NASCAR is handing their suspension to the 23XI Racing team. No. 23’s crew chief is going to be suspended for four races. Robert “Bootie” Barker will be joined by crew members Caleb Dirks and Adam Riley in his four-race suspension. Dirks works the jack and Riley is a rear-tire changer. The violation comes from Section of the NASCAR Rule Book.

During the NASCAR Cup Series race Bubba Wallace was able to make it 45 of 69 laps until the tire popped off causing these suspensions. He has not been very happy with his crew in recent races. The driver had some difficulty in Phoenix and laid into his crew on the radio. They got an earful after his wheel popped off this past Sunday as well.

It wasn’t what Wallace was looking for in the end, however, not all is lost. It is a long season after all.

NASCAR Issues Bubba Wallace Team Suspensions

After his wheel popped off, Wallace was unable to finish the race and had to take a DNF. He was officially 38th out of 39. So, that isn’t the result he likely imagined when he lined up for the race. Road courses can be hard. However, it wasn’t the course that led to his wheel coming off 2/3rds of the way through the race. This was a race that the 23XI driver put a lot of prep into and to see him fail because of a loose wheel is tough.

Wallace drove in the Xfinity Series race as well on Saturday. After the extra laps, it didn’t matter because of the DNF. So, it is on to the next one for the 23XI Racing team driver. Richmond Raceway offers new opportunities and new chances for Wallace and his team to make big moves. A top-5 finish this upcoming weekend would go a long way to helping Wallace and his team gain some confidence for the season.

There is a lot of season left to race. It just comes week by week and that’s really all that the No. 23 team can do. They could be in a worse spot, anyway. Brad Keselowski and his team know that all too well. Losing your crew chief for a month is much better than losing 100 points on the season.