Bubba Wallace returned to NASCAR action Saturday and said last week’s one-race suspension was tough, but he admits the punishment was justified.
Going forward, however, Wallace wants NASCAR to be consistent in officiating.
Wallace was suspended for one week under NASCAR’s conduct policy for intentionally wrecking Kyle Larson by following a live track and then attempting to fight the defending Cup champion. He missed last week’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which was won by Larson, and will return for Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
“Hey, it’s good for me to lead by example if we can continue to do this consistently moving forward, because it’s happened a few times this year and it’s something that can continue, you know, for other drivers down the road.” Wallace said he notified top NASCAR officials. “I definitely learned my lesson, but we have to be consistent with it, whether it’s here in Martinsville, Daytona or Talladega.”
Wallace called his discussion with NASCAR “a good conversation” and said he regrets putting himself, 23XI Racing and his sponsors in a bad light.
“You have to think before you act. In this sport, the hottest moments come to you,” he said. “Seeing that and looking back and looking at the 10,000-foot view at 10,000 feet, you definitely could have handled things differently and ended up in another place. »
Retaliation has been an ongoing issue in all three of NASCAR’s national series this season, with drivers either seeking retribution on the track or after physical confrontations. Wallace’s deliberate hook for Larson was seen by most of his competitors as dangerous and out of bounds.
Wallace also pushed Larson several times after their accident.
Fellow Toyota driver Christopher Bell was among the victims of Wallace’s revenge, relegating him to last place among the seven drivers competing for the three remaining spots in next weekend’s championship Final Four at Phoenix Raceway.
Wallace expects it to be business as usual when the green flag drops, with Larson making amends.
“I’m not coming back with a vengeance or anything like that,” he said. “I’m just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing before. And for the record, I spoke with Larson and we had a great conversation this week. I think the best thing for us is that we both understand what our frustrations were and move forward and how we can both handle those situations better.”
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