Joey Logano had a Top 5 car most of the race and a late race call for new tires had you wondering if he was going to be able to drive through the field while others around him did not pit. That call by crew chief Wolf was the game winning hand as Logano drove back through the field taking the lead from Ross Chastain with 3 laps remaining.
Logano advance to the Championship Four and now awaits to see who else advances. Chastain, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott remain above the cut line headed to Miami with William Byron (-6), Chase Briscoe (-9) and Ryan Blaney (-11) in unenviable but certainly workable positions below the cut off. Christopher Bell (-23) is the driver with the most work to do and in a nearly must win situation, which he has been in before.
The race featured 3 and 4 wide racing after every restart and there was side by side racing going on most of the day. Vegas proved to have multiple grooves running so drivers could hunt for the line that worked best for them with the high line usually being the preferred groove.
Bubba Wallace came with a fast car and he took Stage 1 before the wheels fell off. You had to be hiding under a rock not to have seen the “Shove Seen Round the World” by now. Let me first say that our site will not tolerate any racist or hate speech in response to this article or about any driver.
I like Bubba Wallace, I always have. Some of you believe he has no talent but he has proven otherwise. Others are still upset about “noosegate” as it has been called. That was not his doing, but there are plenty of those who can’t let it go.
In any case, after winning Stage 1 with hard side by side, 3 wide racing at the beginning of Stage 2, Kyle Larson dive bombed Wallace and another driver with the pickle in the middle lifting and Larson moving way up the track and slamming into Wallace putting him into the wall.
It’s not the first time Larson has dive bombed a corner and run into another driver this year but I don’t think many people recall that in their blind rage over Bubba.
At this point, Bubba has to decide what he going to do about being slammed into the wall. Some of his choices were:
- Give Larson a quick WTF bump and make sure his car is still drivable
- Keep racing and pass him while telling him he is Number 1
- Keep racing as though nothing happened and deal with Larson’s stupid move later or
- Take Larson out entirely
Bubba chose unwisely.
As the two drivers steer away from each other, Bubba slides down the track and hooks Larson sending both cars spinning and collects championship contender Christopher Bell as well.
Then Bubba has another choice to make and he again chooses unwisely and sets himself up for further admonition from NASCAR. Wallace passes by a couple of officials who are trying to steer him to the mandatory ride to the care center but Wallace chooses to confront Larson and start shoving him around like a rag doll. Larson wisely chooses to not retaliate and Bubba is eventually steered away but not after he brushes an officials hand away from him. Another no-no. In no sport can you touch an official.
Bubba claims his steering was broken and that Larson just happened to be where he was and that’s that. I am not sure NASCAR is going to buy that because it looked like he intentionally aimed for Larson and took him out. In his post-incident interview with Marty Snider, he was asked if the move was intentional and he quipped “stop fishing” as if he felt Snider was baiting him. It was a legit question and Bubba showed no remorse for taking out Larson or Bell.
Larson for his part, took responsibility for the move and understood why Bubba was upset. But here’s the deal: had Bubba chosen wisely, we’d be side talking about what a stupid move, once again, on Larson’s part and it’s too bad Bubba’s fast Toyota got messed up. We’d be more focused on Logano and perhaps Christopher Bell would above the cut line.
Maybe we’d be talking about how Ryan Blaney looked like he could win the race when he had some sort of tire or suspension issue, again, and was knocked from contention and is in a tough place -11 out.
Maybe we would be focused on how teammates Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez were looking solid before Suarez spun out and left Chastain to nearly win.
Or how Denny Hamlin drove from the back to the front. Or how Chase Elliott stunk up the place but is still above the cut line.
Or how Kyle Busch lost a tire after pitting and the hometown crowd cheered. His hometown crowd. Talk about your haters, man that is harsh!
Instead, we are awaiting NASCAR’s announcement on Tuesday for how they are going to deal with Bubba Wallace. History tells us this is not an uncommon occurrence. We’ve all seen Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott go at it. Or Kyle Busch intentionally wrecking another driver. The list goes on. It was a stupid and dangerous move on Wallace’s part and he will most likely be fined and stripped of points and he should also be sent for some anger management classes a la Smoke and Kurt Busch. Worst case scenario is that Bubba is also suspended for a race.
Like I said, NASCAR has a lot of history to look at of drivers taking out their anger on another, so this isn’t strictly some wild, unprecedented action by Wallace. Bubba may be a guy who is “not going to lift” but he needs to get his anger issues fixed and understand the bigger picture for his team and sponsors.
Kurt Busch retired from full time racing
Not unexpectedly, Kurt Busch announced he is retiring from full time racing. Kurt is still having issues with balance and his reaction time. He knows he needs to be 100% and he isn’t. Just like Dale Earnhardt, Jr., he will hopefully come back to be able to run select races in the future. In the meantime, 23Xi racing has spot for him in management and I expect to see him calling races in the not to distant future. It’s sad we have lost another champion driver to concussions.
Stay tuned for Tuesday when NASCAR will be announcing penalties for Bubba Wallace. My other articles can be found here.
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images/NASCAR Media)