Bubba Wallace fined after admission of intentional spin.
After last weekend’s NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson accused Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. of purposefully spinning after losing a tire to bring out a caution flag. Larson, a playoff driver, was among those directly impacted by the caution, but proving Wallace’s intent was challenging without him saying anything.
Well, Friday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix ahead of the second-to-last race of the NASCAR season, Wallace acknowledged his intentional spin to NBC Sports.
“I’m not the only one to do it,” the No. 43 Chevrolet driver told NBC Sports’ Dustin Long on Friday, adding that he “learned from Brad [Keselowski] and Joey [Logano].”
Wallace certainly is not the only driver to do this — and Denny Hamlin accused Logano of doing it two weeks ago at Martinsville Speedway — but doing it and admitting to doing it are two very different things.
In response, NASCAR fined Wallace, who is not in the playoffs, $50,000 and penalized him 50 points Saturday for manipulating competition. More via NBC Sports:
The NASCAR Rule Book states in Section 10.8 that officials can impose a penalty for “intentionally causing or attempt to cause a caution period.”
In a statement, Richard Petty Motorsports said Wallace will not appeal the penalty.
Purposefully bringing out a caution for a driver’s own benefit is common, but Wallace’s situation is similar to one retired driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. described this week. He told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that one time when he purposefully caused a caution, he later bragged about it and was explicitly told by NASCAR that it had to penalize him because he admitted to it.
Also Friday at ISM Raceway, Larson said he and his team looked at Wallace’s data, which clearly showed he intentionally spun after losing a tire. When asked if he’ll do anything differently this weekend if he has a flat because of how NASCAR’s reaction (or lack thereof), Larson joked:
“My luck, I’ll probably get a flat on Sunday, cause a caution and I’ll get sent to the garage or something (laughs). I’ll get made an example of or something like that. … There’s so much data out there now that I don’t think it’s as much of a judgement call as people think it might be.”
Larson also said he hasn’t talked to Wallace about the issue and added, “It’s whatever at this point.”