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HMS Legend Predicts Bubba Wallace’s Post-Retirement Destiny After Clever Kyle Larson Apology

Published 04/02/2024, 1:10 PM EDT

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Denny Hamlin’s restart might have sparked talks in the community. However, what set off his victory was not any less controversial. Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports and Bubba Wallace of 23XI Racing went into a late-race battle with just two laps left. 

Bubba spun Larson, causing a caution that changed the fate of the entire race. Nevertheless, Wallace’s post-race apology to the #5 driver has the iconic crew chief, of legends like Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr, outlining a possible post-retirement career for Bubba Wallace.

Bubba Wallace in the “Booth” After Racing, Claims Steve Letarte

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On a recent YouTube video of NBC Sports’ official “Motorsports” channel, resident experts, Jeff Burton, and HMS stalwart, Steve Letarte discussed the Richmond caution controversy.

Dissecting the happenings, Burton explained exactly “what started all this,” admitting the circumstances were a “little bit controversial.” Then Hendrick Motorsports’ crew chief was asked for his opinions and his experience did not disappoint, as he explained, “I think this caution is needed. You have a car sideways (Larson’s #5). You don’t know if he’s going to come back up the racetrack. I think that’s a must-throw caution for NASCAR.” 

Continuing the issue at hand, Letarte referenced Bubba’s interaction with Larson post-race, especially when the apologetic #23 driver stated to the #5 that he would “understand it” if “karma” caught up to him after the events at Richmond. The former crew chief of the iconic #24 and #88 teams then provided a “futuristic” opinion. 

“You know what? Bubba Wallace, maybe he’s destined to be in the TV Booth when his career is over because I think that analysis is pretty accurate right? Did Kyle Larson get a little loose? He did. Did Bubba Wallace run him over? he absolutely did. Not egregiously, he wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh I’m gonna spin Kyle Larson out right here,’ but that’s Bubba Wallace taking basically responsibility for the vehicle he drives…” 

 

“Whether it needs to be a yellow or not?” There’s absolutely “no question” in Steve Letarte’s mind, but considering the close-quarters, bump-and-run style of racing associated with short tracks, co-host Jeff Burton had some contrasting ideas.

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Jeff Burton Weighs In On the Controversial Debates

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Burton opined it was indeed a “tough call for NASCAR.” He explained, “If they don’t throw the caution and something happens everybody gets on them. Yes, this is a little bit more questionable. Should they have let that play out a little bit more before they threw the caution? Probably so, but on that one with Larson you got a car spinning on the front straight away. This is a no-brainer, this isn’t, in my world, even questionable whether you throw this caution or not and anybody that’s raced at Richmond from in the driver’s seat on Old Tires knows what happens off turn four…” 

The Toyota Owners 400 saw no more than 6 cautions, as Toyota capitalized on their consistent showcases in 2024, beating out all Chevrolet advances. Pole winner Larson faltered, while Kyle Busch wrecked his #8 RCR Camaro ZL1 on lap 170, leaving Chevy with a disappointing day at the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval. Nevertheless, Larson’s #5 took the GM-backed American manufacturers to a podium finish at P3.

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While 23XI Racing’s co-owner basked in victory lane, under the lights of Richmond, Wallace finished at P13 due to the “self-inflicted” troubles with Larson. The #23 might be desperately looking forward to an inaugural win this year, breaking a winless streak that dates back to the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. However, as Letarte suggested, Wallace’s much-talked-about personality could be a perfect match for NASCAR broadcasts in the near possible future.

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Written by:

Amman Augustin

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Amman Augustin is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. With his coverage majorly focusing on the lavish off-track lives of drivers, Amman often brings the lesser-known side of Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick to their fans. Another aspect of NASCAR where he flourishes is covering rivalries between competitors.
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Edited by:

Shreya Singh