Bubba Wallace did not admit to intentionally spinning Kyle Larson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but the 23XI Racing driver was clearly angry at the reigning series champion.
The two were racing side-by-side off Turn 4 when Wallace bounced off the wall. Larson had made a three-wide move into Turn 3, diving underneath Kevin Harvick and Wallace. Harvick lifted while Larson started coming up the track alongside the 23XI driver.
The two never made contact, but Wallace felt Larson’s action made him hit the wall. Wallace then came down the track and hit Larson in the right rear, spinning Larson across the track and into the outside wall. As Larson spun, he collected the oncoming Christopher Bell.
Kyle Larson hits Bubba Wallace.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 16, 2022
Larson’s crew chief Cliff Daniels labelled the move as retaliation on the radio, even though the 23XI Racing driver later denied it.
“Cliff is smart enough to know how easily these cars break, so when you get shoved into the fence deliberately like I did, trying to force me to lift, the steering was gone,” Wallace said. “It just so happened to be there. Hate it. Hate it for our team—super-fast car. We had no short-run speed. As you were seeing, we were kind of falling there.
“Larson wanted to make a three-wide dive-bomb, never cleared me and I don’t lift. I know I’m kind of new to running at the front, but I don’t lift. I wasn’t even in a spot to lift and he never lifted either and now we’re junk. So, just a [expletive] move on his execution.”
After climbing from his car, Wallace walked down the track toward Larson. Once in his space, Wallace dropped his helmet and began shoving and shouting at Larson. The Hendrick Motorsports didn’t respond or react to Wallace’s actions.
“He knows,” Wallace said of the message he was sending. “He knows what he did was wrong. He wanted to question what I was doing; he never cleared me. Just hate it for our team. Our McDonald’s Toyota Camry was super solid. We just needed to find a little on the short run and get the balance where we needed it, and it would have been just like Kansas. Now the car’s junk.”
Pressed on the fact that Toyota teammate Bell was caught up in the mess, Wallace simply responded, “Sports…”