23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin weighed on Bubba Wallace’s actions during the South Point 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
First, Wallace drove himself into the wall. He then took out his anger on Kyle Larson by intentionally wrecking him. He hit him in the right rear quarter panel and sent him spinning up the track into Christopher Bell and then into the outside wall.
Not only did Wallace wreck Larson, but he wrecked himself too as his vehicle also went nose first into the outside wall.
After wrecking himself and Larson, Wallace then walked down the track to Larson and attempted to provoke a fight with him by repeatedly shoving him into his car.
After Larson refused to engage in a fight, Wallace ignored NASCAR officials and walked to the pit road where he fist bumped his teammates.
NASCAR suspended Wallace for his on-track actions for a single race, this past weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Wallace was replaced by John Hunter Nemechek.
Not only was Wallace suspended for the race by NASCAR, but FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass also noted that Hamlin informed him that 23XI Racing also took internal action. However, Hamlin didn’t specify what that action was.
Denny Hamlin said the team supports NASCAR’s action and was glad that they didn’t necessarily leave it in the team’s hands to decide whether to suspend Bubba Wallace.
He indicated the team took action internally but wouldn’t specify. pic.twitter.com/h96zMxjOyH
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) October 22, 2022
Hamlin also told him before the race, “Obviously, I voiced kind of from the team side where we ended up and how we felt about it. Obviously, we didn’t approve of the way he reacted there. Obviously, support NASCAR’s decision. It’s just not [a] good look for our team.”
“He’s also got to learn. And I truly believe that if he had to do it all over again he’d do it differently,” Hamlin added.
When asked what Wallace told Hamlin during their conversations, Hamlin replied, “Well, obviously, he was certainly frustrated with the on track part of it. I totally understand. Larson put him in a bad spot there and, you know, I’ve done it many times this year, where I’ve kind of squeezed. That’s why William got so mad.”
“These cars coming off the corner just have a weird air buffer that you get someone to the inside of you and it just kind of pushes your car up,” Hamlin elaborated. “I understand why he’s mad, certainly.”
“But I think he understands the bigger picture and I kind of explained to him, you know, it’s tough when you got a big M on your back and you’re walking down the infield it’s just a bad look for us. He understands that,” Hamlin stated.
“And again, we’ve all done tough stuff in our career that has defined us. And how do you return from it that will define him? What was a shame is that he’s made such huge strides since Nashville as a driver and he’s a perennial top-10 running guy now. And it’s a shame because people aren’t going to focus on how much better of a driver he’s gotten through the year. They’re gonna focus on this one incident, this one millisecond in time that he made a bad decision. And so it’ll just take some time for him to change that narrative,” he concluded.
Wallace hasn’t really spoken about the incident other than his post-race interview where he claimed he lost steering.
He explained at the time, “Cliff’s smart enough to know how easy these cars break so when you get shoved into the fence, deliberately like he did, trying to force me to lift, steering was gone. Just so happened to be there.”
Hate it. Hate it for our team. Fast, super fast car. Had no short run speed. As you were seeing, we were kind of falling there. Larson wanted to make a three-wide dive bomb, never cleared me. I don’t lift so I know I’m kind of new to running up front, but I don’t lift. Wasn’t even a spot to lift and he never lifted either and now we’re junk. Just a piss poor move on his execution,” Wallace added.
He also tweeted during the Homestead-Miami Speedway race writing, “Just DoorDash’d some Humble Pie for lunch. Ready to back and help 23XI Racing get it done today.”
What do you make of Hamlin’s comments? What do you think Wallace will have to do to change the narrative?