Home/NASCAR

via Imago

via Imago

It’s been two days since the Atlanta Motor Speedway witnessed the closest finish in its history, that too, between three drivers. The community is still buzzing with excitement at all the chaos that ensued. But evidently, there were a few innocent bystanders that are not happy with falling victim to the massive wrecks that brought out ten cautions. While Bubba Wallace’s top-five finish brought some comfort to Denny Hamlin after he got wrecked thrice, the 23XI driver was the cause of suffering for full-time rookie Carson Hocevar, who was still recovering from his early DNF at the Daytona 500.

Carson Hocevar falls victim to Bubba Wallace’s early 2024 resurgence

The beginning of Carson Hocevar’s full-time Cup Series debut with Spire Motorsports came to an early end at the season opener after Keselowski’s incident with John Hunter Nemechek, where the #77 got wrecked out as a result. While Hocevar expected to forget that misery, fate had similar plans for Hocevar’s Atlanta run as it did at Daytona. In a freak coincidence, the driver once again found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time at the very end of the Ambetter Health 400. With only ten laps to go, Hocevar was sent spinning into oblivion after he made contact with Josh Berry, who had in turn been hit by the unsettled #23 of Bubba Wallace.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In the latest edition of FOX: NASCAR’s ‘Radioactive’ race run-down, the driver radio’s during the incident highlighted the rookie’s frustrations with getting caught up in a second wreck of such stature. “Oh, we’re wrecking. What happened?” asked SHR spotter Eddie D’Hondt as Berry collided with Hocevar. To which Berry retorted, “(Bubba Wallace’s #23) He got loose.” Ultimately, Hocevar’s never-ending suffering led the rookie to burst out on his radio, “Unf***believable! Same **** man!”

READ MORE: Revived Atlanta Motor Speedway Refuted Cup Drivers’ Protest With One of the Closest Finishes in NASCAR History

With only a handful of laps remaining, the prospects of making a solid comeback were rather low for Hocevar, who ended up crossing the line in P19, still a major improvement over his starting position of 35. However, after the race concluded, Hocevar didn’t stop himself from having a bit of fun at his own expense. Taking to X, the driver shared a meme of the exact moment his car suffered a “lift off” during the race. And looking at the caption, it’s safe to say, nothing could be more hilarious.

On the other hand, Bubba Wallace got away seemingly untouched, even bringing home a solid top-five finish for 23XI racing.

Bubba Wallace channels Denny Hamlin’s ideology to win at any cost

Before the start of the 2024 Cup Series season, the pressure on 23XI Racing’s lead driver, Bubba Wallace, was rising faster than ever owing to Denny Hamlin’s reaction to Wallace’s comments on Netflix’s NASCAR: Full Speed. Wallace had seemingly considered Hamlin’s words and felt 2024 was all about delivering solid finishes. After all, Wallace’s mentality of, “we’re not supposed to be here”, just didn’t sit well with Hamlin. Fast forward to the finish line at the Ambetter Health 400, and Wallace proved that he’s worked hard on these criticisms over the winter break.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Despite being the cause of heartache for others such as Hocevar, Wallace ultimately channelled Hamlin’s ideology to bring home a solid finish. With that said, the 23XI racer was glad the superspeedway shenanigans were over for the time being. He reflected on the exhaustion caused by such intense racing and was quoted by NBCSports. He stated, “What a day. I’m so glad we’re done with superspeedway racing for a while. The mental toll it takes on you, to just making sure you make the right move for 260 laps, including the race last week too, is a lot.”

The back-to-back super-speedway action had exhausted many drivers to the point of not wanting another weekend as intense anytime soon. While Carson Hocevar may be looking back at the replays and wondering what Wallace was doing, the 23XI racer shows no signs of slowing down after Hamlin relit his fire for victory. Wallace’s confidence was evident in his closing words, “Enjoying where we’re at right now. Just can’t get complacent. We get to go race the next couple of weeks and really get to dig deep and figure out where we need to be better. I thought we had a fifth-place car and came home fifth.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

READ MORE: Jeff Gordon Feels Betrayed After His Former Crew Chief Admits to Helping His Bitter Nemesis Dale Earnhardt

With the pressure on Bubba Wallace higher than ever this season, it’s safe to say the 23XI Star is pulling no punches to keep Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan pleased, even if it comes at the cost of a few rookies.