That said, despite a four-week streak of less than ideal finishes and a challenging race ahead, Bubba Wallace entered COTA with high hopes. He just knew that this week’s contest would be the one where he would turn it all around. Unfortunately for the No. 23 driver, he was wrong.
- After a strong 2nd stage, Wallace’s Camry lost a tire
- Wallace was unable to continue the race, taking a DNF
- 23XI Racing stood by Bubba Wallace following early finish
Bubba Wallace Wrecks in Stage 3 at COTA
In Lap 45 of the race at COTA, the lug nut on Bubba Wallace’s left rear lug nut came loose – and his tire along with it. With his tire bouncing down the track entirely separate from his car, Wallace’s comeback began to slip through his fingers. Thankfully for the other drivers, Wallace was alone on the track when his tire came free, and no one else was involved in the crash.
Bubba Wallace loses a wheel in turn 16 at @COTA.— Outsider (@outsider) March 27, 2022
Per #NASCAR rules, this will most likely lead to a 4-race suspension for Wallace’s crew chief and two other crew members. @BubbaWallace pic.twitter.com/jmdCSzDzii
Now, a wreck in a NASCAR race doesn’t automatically mean a DNF for the driver(s) involved. Oftentimes, drivers re-enter the race after a crash. Yes, they’re at a disadvantage from that point on, but they’re at least able to finish. This was not the case for Bubba Wallace, however, who drove his Toyota Camry to his garage during Stage 3 of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix and did not return to the track.
NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace’s Fans, 23XI Racing Team Respond to Early Finish
Though the DNF was no doubt a heartbreaking finish to what he hoped to be a great day, Bubba Wallace’s 23XI Racing team stands behind him no matter what. Following his exit from the race, 23XI Racing praised Wallace on social media.
“The 23 is out of the race after losing a tire,” 23XI Racing wrote. “Not the way we wanted to end the day but going home with a strong Stage 2 finish.”
The 23 is out of the race after losing a tire. Not the way we wanted to end the day but going home with a strong Stage 2 finish. pic.twitter.com/hSSXiSOGe1— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) March 27, 2022
Bubba Wallace’s fans took to social media to comfort their favorite driver as well. “That radio was hard to hear,” one fan wrote. “You’re not to blame for the pins. You’re not to blame for the loose wheels. Hell, those pins might be what did it. Go pet Asher and check out mentally for the rest of the day. It’ll be good for you.”
Another said, “So sorry, you worked hard for this road course and given a car that was unworkable. You did an awesome job not spinning out and fighting the wheel.”
Hopefully, next week’s race in the Richmond Raceway offers the shift in luck Bubba Wallace needs. As the Toyota Owners 400 marks only the 7th race in a 26-race regular season ahead of the playoffs, Wallace still has plenty of time to turn it around.
Wasn’t your fault at all!!! On to Richmond….see ya there!— Valerie Wilson (@Vahydro54Wilson) March 27, 2022