Bubba Wallace gets booed in Martinsville return after suspension for Vegas crash and shove
Bubba Wallace was suspended by NASCAR for one event after a wreck with Kyle Larson on October 17, which led to a physical confrontation
MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA: Bubba Wallace was heavily booed by the crowd at Martinsville during the racer introductions as he returned to track on Sunday after receiving a penalty from NASCAR. The racer was suspended by NASCAR for one event after a wreck with Kyle Larson, leading to a fight at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 17.
According to racing reporter Jeff Gluck, Wallace received more boos than Kyle Busch and Ty Gibbs, who have both been met with boos lately. Gluck shared the video on Twitter and wrote, "Most boos in driver intros: Bubba Wallace, and it wasn't very close (Way more than Kyle Busch and Ty Gibbs)."
Most boos in driver intros: Bubba Wallace, and it wasn’t very close (way more than Kyle Busch and Ty Gibbs). pic.twitter.com/wti0kneWC1— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) October 30, 2022
Wallace was served an Oct 22-23 suspension at Homestead-Miami Speedway by NASCAR after the crash at Vegas, which was considered an "extremely dangerous move". After the on-track incident, Wallace was seen shoving Larson several times and also pushed away the hand of a NASCAR official. NASCAR said it suspended him specifically for the on-track retaliation and not what occurred afterward.
In a social media apology to fans following the incident, Wallace admitted he did not "align to the core values" and that he had put his team in a situation "they didn't deserve to be."
"I want to apologize for my actions on Sunday following the on-track incidents with Kyle Larson and the No. 5 car. My behavior does not align to the core values that are shared by 23XI Racing and our partners, who have played a crucial role in my incredible journey to the top of this great sport. I want to apologize to NASCAR and the fans, along with christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Toyota for putting them in a situation in the playoffs that they do not deserve. I compete with immense passion, and with passion at times comes frustration. Upon reflecting, I should have represented our partners and core team values better than I did by letting my frustration follow me outside of the car. You live and learn, and I intend to learn from this," he said in the apology.
However, the crowd reaction in Martinsville suggests not everything is forgotten and forgiven. Wallace received some flak in 2020 for his claims of a hate crime against him after he apparently found a noose in the garage. The FBI investigated the case and said that the noose was just a garage pull.
During the same year, the NASCAR driver also talked about getting pulled over by cops when he was 18. Wallace, who was involved with NASCAR at the time, was pulled over for not using his turn signal and was asked by officers if he could afford the car he was driving.