NASCAR Cup Series

'I definitely learned my lesson': Bubba Wallace returns from one-race suspension

October 29

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Bubba Wallace said it was tough to watch someone else drive his race car but understood NASCAR’s one-race suspension of him following an Oct. 16 incident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Wallace returned to the racetrack Saturday at Martinsville Speedway after missing the Oct. 22-23 race weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The suspension was the result of him, in retaliation, turning Kyle Larson into the wall at Vegas — an extremely dangerous move considering the speeds and the way he used his car to hook Larson’s car.

After the accident, Wallace shoved Larson several times and also pushed away the hand of a NASCAR official. NASCAR suspended him specifically for the on-track retaliation and not what occurred afterward.

Bubba Wallace confronts Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson and Bubba Wallace tangle on-track after at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"I totally accept the penalty and the repercussions that came from my actions," Wallace said prior to practice Saturday. "I’m good with being the example; it’s if we can keep this consistent moving forward.

"It’s happened multiple times this year, and it’s something that may continue to happen. ... I definitely learned my lesson, but we need to be consistent with this."

Bubba Wallace says he was OK with suspension

Bubba Wallace accepted his suspension but said NASCAR needs to work toward being more consistent.

John Hunter Nemechek substituted for Wallace, who watched last week's race from the 23XI Racing team headquarters, where engineers watch the race and help the team make decisions based on data and video they get from the racetrack.

"Just sitting out and not being a part of your normal routine was the toughest thing," said Wallace, whose name was removed from the car for Homestead because of the suspension, a move that showed the team was upset with him.

Bubba Wallace on sitting out last weekend

Bubba Wallace said sitting out a race was the toughest part about the last two weeks:

Team co-owner Denny Hamlin said the organization went "above and beyond" in punishing Wallace but did not specify the actions taken by the team, which is co-owned by basketball icon Michael Jordan.

"I put myself in a bad light," Wallace said. "I put our team in a bad light, our sponsors. It’s just something that I’m not proud of. ... You’re not allowed to make that mistake again."

Wallace, the only Black driver in the Cup Series, said he had a good conversation with Larson in the last week. He had not talked to Larson in the week following the incident, and Larson had said he didn’t need an apology.

"We had a great conversation this week," Wallace said. "The best thing for us is we both understood where our frustrations were and moving forward in how we can both handle those situations better."

Bubba Wallace on his conversation with Kyle Larson

Bubba Wallace says he had a "great conversation" with Kyle Larson this week to talk about their frustrations and how they would move forward.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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