Bubba Wallace’s name was removed from his car after he was suspended by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Kyle Larson during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Speedway.
NASCAR suspended Wallace one race for his on track actions that saw him intentionally wreck Kyle Larson and send him spinning into the outside wall.
It all started when Larson dove deep into Turn 3 going three-wide with Kevin Harvick and Wallace. Harvick got out of the middle and backed out. Larson began chasing his car up the track and squeezed Wallace up against the wall.
However, Larson never made contact and Wallace stayed in the gas slamming his own vehicle into the outside wall. After hitting the wall he bounced down into Larson, who quickly dove to the bottom of the track. Wallace chased him down the track and hit him in the right rear quarter panel sending him spinning up the track and into Christopher Bell and the outside wall.
Wallace would also wreck hitting the outside wall nose first.
NASCAR’s Chief Operating Steve O’Donnell explained the one race suspension during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, “Our actions are really specific to what took place on the racetrack. And when we look at how that incident occurred, in our minds, a really 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.”
💭 “When we look at this incident, you’re not only endangering one, but there’s a lot of cars out there at speed…”
After NASCAR’s decision was announced, 23XI Racing, the team that Wallace races for, issued their own statement noting they concurred with NASCAR’s decision and that John Hunter Nemechek would be driving the No. 45 car at Miami-Homestead Speedway.
Their statement reads, “23XI is aligned with NASCAR on the one-race suspension issued to Bubba and we understand the need for the series to take a clear stand on the incidents that took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. ”
It continued, “Bubba’s actions are not in keeping with the values of our team and partners. We have spoken to Bubba and expressed our disapproval of how he handled the situation. Bubba has made impressive strides this season and this experience is an opportunity for him to further learn and grow as a competitor in NASCAR.”
“As a result of the penalty, John Hunter Nemechek will drive the No. 45 Toyota this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway,” the statement concluded.
NASCAR Cup series cars opened the garage at Homestead earlier today. FOX Sports reporter Bob Pockrass shared to his Twitter, “Cup garage opening here at Homestead. Tech is this afternoon.”
Pockrass would further reveal that Wallace’s name was removed from his car and replaced with John Hunter Nemechek’s name.
Pockrass wrote, “Unlike the way teams often leave a driver’s name above the door when the driver is injured, the 45 Cup car has Nemechek’s name over the doors and on the front windshield and back windshield as Nemechek replaces the suspended Wallace this weekend at Homestead.”
He also shared a photo of the car with Wallace’s name nowhere to be found on the car. Instead you can see Nemechek’s name alongside a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness, a cross representing Christ’s sacrifice for humanity, and the flag of the United States of America.
Not only will Nemechek be filling in for the suspended Wallace, he is also racing in the Truck Series, where he is currently five points behind the Playoff cutoff.
He spoke to Pockrass about his busy weekend saying, “First task at hand is to go advance to Phoenix, here in the Truck Series. I’m excited that we’re at Homestead rather than Martinsville, somewhere where I feel you can’t really control your destiny, but Homestead has been a really good race track for me. Tires fall off a lot and you continue to move around.”
Speaking specifically to the Cup race he said, “Hopefully running the Cup car tomorrow morning will just be a warm-up before the truck race and can get things going, blood moving, and then go focus on Sunday in the 45. And just try to have a solid run for 23XI and Bootie, and all the guys. They’ve been fast here recently. Hopefully, I can live up to that same standard.”
John Hunter Nemechek enters Homestead five points behind the cutoff in trucks as well as the substitute driver for Bubba Wallace in Cup. How he is approaching this weekend and the opportunity: pic.twitter.com/y7sv2sMACa