WATCH: NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace Has Wheel Fly Off No. 23 Car at Circuit of the Americas

by Caitlin Berard
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It’s been a tough day for NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who began the race at COTA in the middle of the field at position 23. Though he managed to advance through the field and snag a top-10 finish in the second stage, it wasn’t long before his lucky streak ran dry.

Less than an hour later, in fact, disaster struck for NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. During Lap 45, the No. 23 driver lost his left rear tire after a lug nut came loose. Fortunately for the other drivers, Bubba Wallace was alone in the crash. Though it caused a caution for debris, no other cars were impacted by the errant wheel.

The towing of his No. 23 Toyota Camry is likely just the start of Wallace’s misfortune as well. The loss of a lug nut is a clear violation of the guidelines listed in the NASCAR Rule Book. This means that, along with losing the chance of a high position finish, the No. 23 team will also face suspensions.

The standard penalty for an improperly installed wheel is a four-race suspension of the team’s crew chief, tire changer, and jackman, which means we could see Bootie Barker and other crew members ejected from the No. 23 pit for the next few races.

Bubba Wallace started the day with high hopes, posting to his Twitter account, “The track. The car. The preparation. Today’s going to be a good day.” Sadly, he ended the day on a far more sour note, writing, “All ya can do is laugh. Ha.”

NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace Responds to Early Finish

In some instances, NASCAR drivers can hop right back into the race following a wreck. Other times, however, a crash means they’re done for the day, leaving the race early to head back to their garage. Unfortunately for Bubba Wallace, today’s crash led to the latter scenario.

“I was told to take it easy, just maintain our position and it felt like I had a flat spot,” Bubba said of the wreck. “Went back out, I still felt it a little bit. I thought it was mental. Everything was fine and finally it just snapped.”

Though it likely doesn’t ease the sting of the unlucky situation at COTA, Bubba Wallace’s fans are still standing firmly behind him. After posting his frustrations on Twitter, his fans responded with positive messages for the No. 23 driver.

One fan writes, “I believe in you my guy. Keep your head up.” Another says, “Head up for next week, this race was just unfortunate.”

Outsider.com