NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace faced intense backlash over the weekend after violently attacking another driver following a crash he was accused of intentionally causing.
The incident happened during Stage 2 of the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when Wallace, who won Stage 1, was next to driver Kyle Larson when Larson attempted a three-wide pass.
Larson moved up the track and his car gave a slight tap to Wallace’s car, causing Wallace to brush up against the wall. Then, Wallace bounced into Larson’s car, continued tracking it, and slammed into the rear causing both cars to spin out.
Multiple reports said that the move by Wallace to spin out Larson’s car appeared intentional. NASCAR officials could penalize Wallace if they believe that his actions were deliberate.
Wallace’s outburst sparked calls for him to be suspended or face potential criminal charges.
“Bubba Wallace could’ve killed someone with this stunt,” Rebel News writer Ian Miles Cheong tweeted. “He needs to be removed from the sport.”
NASCAR fan and NewsBusters Managing Editor Curtis Houck tweeted a clip of a NASCAR official trying to get Wallace’s attention following the attack.
Wallace pushed the officials’ hand off of him.
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 17, 2022
Larson responded to the incident by saying that Wallace’s aggression was not surprising.
“I obviously made an aggressive move into three and got in low and got loose and chased it up a bit,” Larson said. “And yeah, I mean, he got to my right front, and I got him tight into the wall and knew he was gonna retaliate. So, like I said, I mean, he had a reason to be mad, but his race wasn’t over until he retaliated. So it is what it is. Just, yeah, just aggression turned into frustration and he retaliated.”
When asked on camera if it was appropriate for Wallace to retaliate at that speed, Larson said no, as he pointed to the severity of injuries that could happen.
“I think with everything that’s been going on here lately with head injuries and all that, fractured ligaments and all that I don’t think it’s probably the right thing to do,” Larson said.
Larson did not act angry during the interview and seemed to have a lighter view of the incident, saying that most drivers have lost their cool and retaliated during races.
However, when the same person interviewed Wallace on camera, he took no responsibility for his actions.
The interviewer pointed out that Cliff Daniels, one of the top NASCAR crew chiefs, said that Wallace’s actions amounted to retaliation, and then asked Wallace if it was retaliation.
“Cliff is smart enough to know how easy these cars break so when you get shoved into the fence, like deliberately like he did, trying to force me to lift, steering was gone,” Wallace claimed and then smirked, “he just so happened to be there.”
“It was just a piss poor move on his execution,” Wallace continued.
“When situations like this happen, Bubba, at this speed, is retaliation an acceptable thing?” the interviewer asked.
“Stop fishing,” Wallace snapped. “Stop fishing.”
“I’m not fishing. I’m just asking you,” the interviewer responded. “Let’s also talk about the message you wanted to send to Kyle by going up to him after the incident.”
“He knows,” Wallace said. “He knows that what he did was wrong. He wanted to question what I was doing. He never cleared me so just hate it for our team, our McDonald’s Toyota Camry was super solid.”
"I don't lift."
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 16, 2022