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Debate

Is Alex Bowman right to defend Bubba Wallace's actions, or is he just adding fuel to the fire?

Hendrick Motorsports completed their winning story a few hours ago. Now the stellar NASCAR Cup Series team’s four drivers have all won a 2024 race. Alex Bowman was the crowning glory as the 29-year-old racer endured a damp Chicago Street Race till the end. But as he freshly rejoiced in his victory, a track rival aggressively unloaded his frustration.

After the race results were sealed, Bubba Wallace attacked [bumped] Alex Bowman’s car. The move, in just a few hours, has attracted massive backlash and criticism from the NASCAR community. Yet Bowman remained modest; he tried to defend his attacker’s moves.

Alex Bowman eats the humble pie

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In a rain-delayed and wet race, the slippery Chicago Street Course took out several strong contenders. Where defending race winner Shane van Gisbergen incurred a hit due to Chase Briscoe’s skid, Kyle Larson shot straight into a tire barrier. But Alex Bowman and Bubba Wallace did not encounter each other each other due to wet track conditions. On the 25th lap, the No. 48 Chevy clipped the No. 23 Toyota, causing it to spin and run into the wall.

Poll of the day

Do you agree with Alex Bowman's defense of Bubba Wallace's actions?

Yes, he was right

No, Wallace was out of line

I'm not sure

Bubba Wallace did not take kindly to this. After Alex Bowman snapped his 80-race winless streak and settled down on the cooldown laps, trouble was incoming. Wallace got to his side and hit it with his left-front tire, a vengeful maneuver called “door-slamming.” This incident drew immense criticism from peers and fans, as it was after the checkered flag was waved. There was a risk factor: drivers could have unbuckled their belts or detached from other safety precautions at such a time.

Yet Alex Bowman chose to acquit Wallace of any wrongdoing, denying him any penalty. According to Kelly Crandall’s X update, “Alex Bowman on whether Bubba Wallace should be penalized for the contact on the cool-down lap: “No. He barely hit me and everything was fine. And it was deserved.”

 

 

Alex Bowman also ate humble pie, owning up to his earlier deed that irked Wallace. He explained what happened: “I’d be mad, too. I ruined his day. The restart was chaotic. I just made every wrong decision that I possibly could. I was fighting with my windshield wiper switch trying to get it working and I couldn’t get it working. I was focused on that, missed the corner. I locked all four tires and just slid right into him. I just messed up and absolutely ruined his day.”

Despite Alex Bowman’s attempt to cool things down, the incident is bound to draw NASCAR’s wrath toward Bubba Wallace. The 23XI Racing driver is presently the first driver right below the playoff cutline, hence his amplified frustration. And as it turns out, this is not the first time Wallace has unleashed his anger at Bowman.

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Wallace splashed Bowman in frustration

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Do you remember when tensions riled up between Richard Petty Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports in September 2019? It was Alex Bowman who got on the nerves of former RPM driver Bubba Wallace more than once at the Charlotte Roval. On the opening lap, Bowman got into Wallace’s back and continued the feud with a lap 42 collision. Then Bowman intentionally dumped his rival after the chicane and before the oval turn 3.

So in retaliation, Bubba Wallace walked up to Alex Bowman’s car post-race. Then he splashed the water from his bottle on the latter’s face. Bowman had been sick at the time, and the race left him dehydrated. It looks like Bubba has a reason for not going the old way this time. “Smooth move of playing the sick card so I couldn’t bust him in the mouth,” he said.

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On Bowman’s part, he justified his moves, saying that Wallace’s middle-finger act provoked him. “Yeah, I don’t know if he was mad about the first lap, or what, but obviously that was just a mistake. And then I got flipped off every single straightaway on the entire race track for three laps. I got flipped off by him for like three or four laps in a row at Richmond, so I’m just over it. I’ve got to stand up for myself at some point, right? He probably wouldn’t have got wrecked if he had his finger back in the car.”

Although Alex Bowman has significantly changed his rowdy behavior, it seems that Bubba Wallace has not since the Chicago encounter.