Rattler 250 Will Be Part of SRL National Season
Oct 29, 2022
Bubba Wallace has returned to the NASCAR Cup Series following a one-week suspension over an on-track retaliatory action against Kyle Larson on October 16 during the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Wallace reiterated that the entire ordeal forced him to ‘eat a slice of humble pie,’ and that he accepts the suspension, but hopes NASCAR continues to uphold the new precedence established this month. He will race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway after sitting out last weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway.
"Yeah, I mean I totally accept the penalty and the repercussions that come from my actions," Wallace said outside his hauler on Saturday at Martinsville. "I talked to (Steve) O’Donnell and I talked to (Steve) Phelps and I said, 'Hey, I’m good with being the example if we can keep this consistent moving forward,' because it’s happened multiple times this year and it’s something that may continue to happen you know, for other drivers down the road.
"I definitely learned my lesson, but we have to be consistent with this no matter if it’s here at Martinsville or if it’s at Daytona or Talladega. We have to keep it consistent across the boards and across the series. That was the conversation, it was a good conversation."
Wallace said the hardest part of the past two weeks was not maintaining his weekly routine and not being able to race at one of his favorite tracks. John Hunter Nemechek piloted the 23XI Racing No. 45 last weekend.
"It was tough. I tweeted out, 'humble pie' and I hated not being in that race (because) I was excited," Wallace said. "That was one of those races that was circled on the schedule.
"Toyotas have been really strong at the mile-and-a-half stuff and really love running at Homestead. I was bummed and legit bummed that I wasn’t racing. I had to put that aside and still help the team go out and grow and continue to gain speed with those two drivers."
What has Wallace learned over this incident?
"You have to think before you do," Wallace said. "In this sport, it’s the heat of the moment type things that get to you. Seeing that and going back and looking at a 10,000-foot view, definitely could have handled everything way different and been in a different spot. I put myself in a bad light, I put our team in a bad light, our sponsors – it’s just something that I’m not proud of, but moving on, moving forward and not allowed to make that mistake again."
Wallace says he still has the support and understanding of team owners Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan who want him to learn from the circumstances and move forward.
There were no additional penalties from the team.
"Just mad at me, which is fine," Wallace said. "Just have to go out and get back on the horse and go out and compete. And I think we have a really good shot this weekend at moving forward and getting this all behind us."
Wallace has also spoken to Larson over the past week.
"I think the best thing for us is we both understood where our frustrations were and moving forward and how we both can handle those situations better," Wallace added.
Wallace was the first Cup Series driver to be suspended since Matt Kenseth in 2015. Kenseth was sat down for two races as a result of returning to the track with a damaged to car to retaliate against race leader and championship leader Joey Logano.