NASCAR: Bubba Wallace Speaks Out About Suspension, Says He ‘Definitely Learned My Lesson’

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

It’s not at all uncommon to see a bump between drivers or a full-blown wreck in a NASCAR race, but the Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this month was particularly violent. On Lap 94, Kyle Larson shoved Bubba Wallace’s Toyota into the wall in an effort to pass him. Obviously enraged by the maneuver, Wallace deliberately spun Larson, sending him into Christopher Bell’s path.

Bubba Wallace then climbed from his car, storming toward Larson. When the two were face-to-face, a shoving match broke out with Wallace as the clear aggressor.

Kyle Larson emerged from both attacks unharmed, but Bubba Wallace’s rage-fueled actions earned him quite a punishment. The 23XI Racing driver was handed down a one-week suspension, meaning he was unable to compete in last weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The unusual punishment marked the first suspension for an on-track incident since 2015.

Bubba Wallace Returns to NASCAR

Bubba Wallace has since made his return, and in his first interview back, the driver explained that he doesn’t have any ill feelings about the suspension and has thoroughly learned his lesson. He strongly believes, however, that his punishment should not be an anomaly.

“I totally accept the penalty and the repercussions that came from my actions,” Wallace said matter-of-factly. “I talked to O’Donnell and I talked to Phelps and I said, hey, I’m good with being the example if we can keep this consistent moving forward. Because it’s happened multiple times this year. And it’s something that may still continue to happen, you know, for other drivers down the road.”

“I’ve definitely learned my lesson,” he continued. “But we have to be consistent with this, no matter if it’s here at Martinsville or it’s in Daytona or Talladega. We gotta keep it consistent across all the boards and all the series. So that was the conversation, it was a good conversation.”

While speaking to the media, Bubba Wallace echoed the thoughts expressed by 23XI team owner Denny Hamlin following the incident – he wouldn’t make the same mistake again, given the opportunity.

“Think before you do,” Wallace said. “Going back and looking from a 10,000-foot view, definitely would have handled everything way different.”

Kyle Larson Says He and Wallace Are Back on Good Terms

Following the heated altercation, Kyle Larson said he hadn’t heard from Bubba Wallace via call or text. However, he neither expected nor wanted an apology from his fellow driver. According to Larson, he’s a “big boy” and his feelings were never hurt in the first place.

Today, Wallace revealed that he and Larson have since spoken on the phone and worked out their disagreement in private. At a presser following the practice laps at Martinsville, Kyle Larson agreed with this statement.

“It was great to have that talk,” Larson explained. “I thought it went really well and I think we both moved on from it really fast. So, it was good to have a talk, good to just kind of talk over the frustrations and mistakes on both of our parts and kind of move on and forget about it and get back to racing.”

“I feel like we’ve raced really well together in the past,” he continued. “So, hope I don’t make any more mistakes and we can continue to race good.”