The action on the track has been red-hot so far in 2023, but it’s the shenanigans that are happening around the world of NASCAR that have reached a fever pitch. There was plenty of emotion being displayed on Memorial Day, much of it stemming from the clash between Bubba Wallace and Aric Almirola.
Wallace, who has often been a lightning rod of controversy, is also one of the sport’s most successful and recognizable stars. He’s broken a lot of boundaries in NASCAR, while at the same time, burning some bridges with fans and his fellow competitors.
During a rain delay in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Almirola made his way over to Bubba Wallace where the two drivers exchanged words. That’s when the driver of the No. 10 Mustang shoved Wallace. The two were separated by a track official, but not before Bubba appeared to poke Almirola in his chest.
Here's a screen grab from the video. It goes on for another 90 seconds or so of them arguing and walking away while arguing. If I tried to post the whole thing, this crappy internet would take until after the race. pic.twitter.com/Tl0yS5ni37
— Sarah Davis 🤫 Bubba EXtREMiSt//23XI stan (@sarahdavisagain) May 29, 2023
It was a quick exchange, but one that had everyone talking after the race. One where the 23XI driver would finish fourth, while Almirola crossed the line in the 25th position.
Both competitors had their own take on how things went down on the track.
“When you walk around with two faces, that’s what you get,” Wallace said following Monday’s showdown. However, he seemed to take stock of the situation later and said that it was the two letting their competitive juices flow. “Just passionate, racing hard in the second stage and we finished fourth. So it was a good day,”
Almirola said he became upset when Bubba Wallace gave him a middle-finger gesture on the track. That’s what led him to try and find out what the conflict was about. That’s when things escalated.
“Early in the race, I feel like I was giving Bubba a lot of room when we were racing around each other. And when he got by me, he shot me the bird,” Aric Almirola told FOX Sports. “So, I went to ask him why he shot me the bird. He started mouthing off and cussing at me. I told him I wasn’t going to have that.”
Bubba Wallace said the exchange with Aric Almirola was just passion and he wasn’t surprised at Almirola’s shove: “When you walk around with two faces, that’s what you get.” pic.twitter.com/Z1kkHIjxCE
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) May 30, 2023
Aside from the fireworks, it was another solid performance for Bubba Wallace. He and his No. 23 team also finished fourth at Kansas and fifth at Darlington earlier this month.
“I have all the confidence in the world in this team and what they can do,” Wallace said.
What are your thoughts on the whole situation? Let us know in the comments below and across social media.