Racing Fandom Splits as Bubba Wallace Ruthlessly Slams NASCAR’s “A** Backwards” Rule

Published 10/09/2023, 12:19 PM EDT

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NASCAR fans find themselves on opposite sides of the fence over a Bubba Wallace development yet again. The 23XI Racing driver went into the final round of 12 race nine points behind the cutline. Michael Jordan’s driver needed to finish in a good position to have any chance of making it through to the round of 8. However, his chance was taken away by NASCAR over an incident many people believe was not even his fault.

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The 23XI Racing star had started the race quite well as he finished stage 1 in P2. It was towards the end of the race when an incident unfolded that made Bubba Wallace lose out in the worst way possible. After the race, the 29-year-old did not seem angry, but he definitely was frustrated, especially about the way NASCAR handled the situation.

Bubba Wallace slams NASCAR for costing him potential playoff spot

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With just 22 laps to go, Daniel Suarez got in too deep near the chicane and hit Austin Cindric. Cindric made contact with Bubba Wallace who was spun around. The 23XI driver had to cut the chicane and NASCAR handed him a stop-and-go penalty for his actions.

Now, while it makes sense that a driver is penalized for cutting a chicane, Bubba Wallace’s situation was not normal. He was tagged going into the turn, lost control of his car, and would have gone off the road anyway. Plus, he did not gain any advantage at all by cutting the corner. If anything, he lost places.

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The 29-year-old was disappointed with NASCAR’s decision and he made sure that his feelings were known.

“It’s such a B.S. rule. I lost so much track position and I didn’t completely come to a stop, but I got blown through a chicane, so I thought I’d just keep my momentum up and get back going, fall back in line, and you can race it out from there. But we had to stop on the frontstretch, and we’re the only series that does that a** backwards, so not surprised,” he said in the post-race interview.

Bubba Wallace’s first playoff stint came to an end at the Roval and NASCAR did have a part to play in it. At the end of it all, fans were torn. Some believe that the rules should be followed regardless of the situation while others pointed out that there was nothing Bubba could have done.

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Fans on Reddit squabble over contentious rule 

Under a post on Reddit, a number of fans made their opinions clear about the matter. One fan said that NASCAR should take lessons from F1 on how they implement a stop-and-go penalty.

“They need to take the F1 approach, did he gain a lasting advantage? The answer is clearly no so he shouldn’t have been penalized,“ one fan commented.

“If you gain time, penalty. If you don’t gain time, no penalty. This SHOULD be the easiest f*****g thing in the world to get right, lol. But this is NASCAR we’re talking about,” said another.

Some fans believe that there was nothing Bubba Wallace could have done to prevent being in that situation.

“I’m a Bubba fan, so I’m sure the haters will say I’m biased, but I don’t care who it is; If the only reason you went off course or missed a chicane was because you were wrecked, you shouldn’t be penalized. You spun. You lost your track position. That’s penalty enough,” wrote one user.

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“I mean in hindsight it makes sense to eliminate the rule if you were wrecked into missing the turn, but I really don’t want NASCAR to have to make more judgment calls because we already know they are s****y at doing that,” penned another.

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And then there were people who believed that NASCAR did the right thing by penalizing Bubba Wallace and strictly following their rulebook.

“He could’ve or should have just stopped right there. He was 99% stopped anyway. He knew and decided to make nascar make a call. He should have just stopped right then and there’s no call. Lesson learned,” one fan wrote.

“I’m fine with the rule as is. We have the tendency to want to change rules whenever a driver we like comes out on the losing end of an incident. But sometimes your day gets messed up because of the actions of some other driver and that’s just racing,” wrote another.

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When it comes to situations like these, the NASCAR rulebooks are quite grey. There might have been a debate even if they had not penalized Bubba Wallace. But the only thing that matters is the outcome. It is the end of the road for the 23XI Racing man who has had a transformative campaign in 2023.

WATCH THIS STORY: Bubba Wallace unveils Kyle Busch’s tough love approach 

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. After completing his undergrad in the field, he has been a full-time journalist for the past three years. He started his journey as a motorsports fan with MotoGP and Formula One, before gravitating towards NASCAR.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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