Hours After the Bubba Wallace Hate Scandal, NASCAR Infuriates Fans by Acquitting Him of “Malice”

Published 05/23/2023, 12:35 PM EDT

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On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup paddock visited the North Wilkesboro Speedway for the first time in 27 years. Admittedly, the race did not have much to write home about. One exception was race winner Kyle Larson, who pulled off an epic comeback. However, the immediate aftermath of the race provided plenty of talking points. Chief among them was second-placed driver Bubba Wallace.

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As it happened, Wallace was booed by the crowd after the Truck Series race, and later after the All-Star Race, the #23 team’s radio was hacked and derogatory comments towards him were uttered on the radio. Later on though, during his post-race interview, cameras spotted some sneaky gestures. As it turned out, the 23XI Racing driver briefly flipped the bird to someone—which some fans assumed was a response to earlier incidents. Obviously, this was a rude gesture and it did not earn him any favors from fans.

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Somehow, Bubba Wallace escaped sanction for the gesture

Of course, NASCAR was obligated to investigate the incident. Especially since he did it in public and right in front of the cameras. However, their conclusion was that Wallace’s gesture was not malicious in nature. So, he was pretty much let off the hook for it and went about his merry way. On the back of that, a fair number of fans were not too pleased about it and felt that he got off way too easily.

After veteran journalist Bob Pockrass revealed the news on Twitter, several enthusiasts flooded the comments section.

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Someone wrote, “The classless loser also made a comment about needing to get some of those Hendrick louvers. He’s a loser because he’s always got an excuse. He’s right about one thing, he should be replaced.”

According to them, Wallace often had an excuse whenever he lost a race. Some even alluded to an earlier rant of his where he called for himself to be replaced. His rage-filled comments were on the back of a miserable race at the Circuit of the Americas. Once he had calmed down and finished beating himself up, he backtracked on his comments and vowed to do better.

Some had an idea of who the 23XI Racing driver was gesturing to

Of course, one of the biggest mysteries was who was the recipient of the middle finger. Since the cameras were trained on Bubba Wallace, they didn’t show who he was rudely gesturing to. However, some were of the opinion that the “friend” whom Wallace was flipping off, was none other than Ryan Blaney. It is no secret that Bubba Wallace and Ryan Blaney are good friends. So evidently, Blaney must have said something in the background and Wallace heard it and jokingly flipped him off.

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One thing is for sure, Bubba Wallace may have escaped NASCAR’s scrutiny. However, there is no escaping the court of social media, which can be quite divisive. Safe to say, the #23 driver will have to do something spectacular to win back the fans and stick it to his haters.

WATCH THIS STORY: $630 Million Giant Is Giving NASCAR Fans an Exclusive Opportunity to Meet Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick

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Written by:

Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a Senior Motorsports Writer at EssentiallySports, with an impressive track record of over 13K articles. He not only writes engaging content but regularly connects readers with some of the biggest racing names thanks to his ability to churn out exclusive interviews. From F1 driver Pierre Gasly to Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino, Dhruv has established himself as an authoritative voice in the world of motorsports.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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