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Bubba Wallace told Denny Hamlin his Adderall comments ‘make us all look bad’

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HAMPTON, Ga. – Bubba Wallace says he is ready to put his post-Daytona 500 skirmish with Denny Hamlin behind, but his extracurricular membership privileges would indicate otherwise for his new rival.

“I’m all good,” Wallace said in a Friday morning interview with NBC Sports at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “I texted him Tuesday and he was like I’m kicked out of the golf league and the basketball league.”

Hamlin runs a weekly basketball gathering with NASCAR types called the Hoop Group and also is a key member of “The Golf Guys”. Wallace is a longtime member of the basketball league but said later he decided he wouldn’t play anymore. The Daytona 500 runner-up learned he was out of the golf league via five or six texts from “intermediaries.”

“No more,” Wallace said with a laugh. “My first season with Golf Guys, and I’m out. Damn it.”

 During a Fox interview after practice Friday, Hamlin joked that “those positions have been filled” when asked about the leagues. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver said he was using the feud “as motivation. I’ve always been motivated. It just fires me up more to be more motivated. So, I have no issue at all. I’m here to do the best I can to get a good finish and put us in position to do well in the regular season, win some races, get some bonus points. These little bumps in the road are … they really are just speed bumps.”

Hamlin and Wallace slammed into each other on the last lap of Sunday’s race at Daytona International Speedway and then engaged in a shouting match in the garage after Hamlin learned that Wallace had taken a dig at him on national TV about his recent comments about drivers using Adderall.

“From his tweets, he’s more upset about what was said after the fact,” Wallace said. “Which he had started as a joke. So when you take a dig at him, it’s not good. One-way street, I guess.”

Kevin Harvick said on his Happy Hours show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio that Hamlin should keep his mouth shut because of a lot of veterans were angry about his Adderall comments. Wallace said he echoed those comments to Hamlin.

“Yeah, it makes us all look bad,” Wallace said. “And I told (Hamlin) that. He said, ‘I don’t need a PR lesson from you.’ I’m like, ‘OK. I’ll be the one to say it.’ I won’t hold back. Clearly.”

A Facebook Watch documentary film crew that has been following Wallace for a docuseries has footage of the altercation but didn’t put it in the last two episodes that were released Thursday. Wallace said he wouldn’t have minded if it had been released.

“No, I wouldn’t care, but then the media would take it as, ‘Uh-oh, what are we going to expect from that at Atlanta,’” Wallace said. “Nothing! I’m going to go out and run my own race. He’s run here a million times and won a couple of races. This is my first time in a Cup car. I’m going to figure it out on my own and not even worry about him. It’s good that it wasn’t in there, but it’s also … I don’t know.

“I guess you can keep playing it up, but according to him, he wants to let it die down. He’s tired of hearing about the Adderall comment. Don’t make the comment, dumb ass!”

Here’s more of Wallace’s Q&A with NBC Sports, which took place in between several media hits that Wallace was doing in victory lane at Atlanta:

Q: You were at a heavy metal concert Tuesday night in Charlotte. Did you get recognized as Daytona 500 runner-up?

A: “I did! I went to will call and said ‘Hey, Darrell Wallace, plus one.’ And he held up my ID and said, ‘Hey, good job!’ And the lady behind him was ‘Hey, great job.’ Thanks!”

Q: Has that happened often since Sunday?

A: “Yes, it has. I’ve gotten a couple of people that were like, ‘Man, you’re a race car driver.’ I’m sitting in the lobby of the hotel, doing some CNN stuff, and a guy walks up and says, ‘Are you Bubba Wallace?’ ‘Yeah, I am.’ That was an awesome race. We go to Panda Express yesterday, and a firefighter is standing next to me. So I made eye contact, and I believe he was looking at his phone with me on it. Trying to put the two together. He’s like, ‘Are you Bubba Wallace?’ ‘Today, I am. Yes sir.’ ‘Oh man, great race Sunday.’ It’s pretty cool.”

Q: You heard from Lewis Hamilton and Hank Aaron before the race. Any big names since then?

A: “Man, I haven’t gotten anybody like that. But I did run into (former Washington Redskins star) Darrell Green right there as Denny Hamlin and I were going at it, Darrell Green was standing right here beside me, and he was like man, you handled yourself well there. This is awesome. So he was a fan. Elliott Sadler reached out with words of wisdom and advice. Just seeing what Dale and Kevin said on their podcast was really cool. Over 200 text messages. I haven’t gotten that many after I’ve won a race. Pretty cool.”

Q: Did you have editorial control of the Facebook Watch documentary?

A: “A little bit. I told him going into it. I did that BET show in 2010. Changing Lanes. That was super staged. I can’t watch reality shows now because I know all of it is fake. And I told them I’m not doing this shit if it’s staged. I will not do it. Some of it was just kind of recapping our day, which didn’t really understand. We’d do all the stuff in that one day, and then we’d talk about what we did. So. They can see what we did! They know what we’re doing! What’s the point in talking about it? So that got really old, really fast. So there will be some tweaks when we go back if they want to do a second season. Which they’ve talked about. But I’m not too excited on it.

“I dropped a dollar amount on them, and it was a substantial increase, and they were like OK. I’m like ‘Shit!’ I should have went way above that. I screwed myself.”

Q: Well, as long as you didn’t sign anything …

A: “I did. But it’s not set in stone for season 2. They just want an option to do it. We’ll see. It’d be this year. I don’t know when.”

Q: So you were happy with it, but it’s a hassle.

A: “Oh, it’s so much hassle. There’s a lot of stress that comes from it. Just because it’s can you do this, or do that? What’s your plans for today? I don’t go by a plan. If (Ryan) Blaney and (girlfriend) Amanda and I want to do something, I’ll wait for her to get home from work, we’ll sit there and do the typical couple argument what do you want to eat, what do you want to eat. OK, cool. We’re going there. They want to do at 7:30 what are you all doing? (Expletive), I don’t know. I’ll probably be on the (toilet). I don’t know. So annoying!”

Q: What will a good finish at Atlanta be for your team?

A: “I had the chance to ride with The King last night, we had a Coca-Cola dinner, so I fired off this question, ‘So what do you expect for this season?’ I wanted to know his take. And obviously keeping everything in realistic check, we want to win races, but going from where we were last year to winning races and being a dominant car, it’s not going to happen. That’s not how the sport works. So you go through the climbing of the ladder to get there. And so he says we were a top 15 to 20 car last year, mostly toward the top 20 side. And I want to be that top eight, that top 12 car. All right. I like it. I just kept saying top 10, top 15, moving it up that next second, and he went just a little bit beyond that, which I think we can do. Atlanta will be pretty tough. Just from me never having the best of stuff here, but we managed to get a sixth place, but that’s the Xfinity Series. Here, eight guys, you still got 10 others that are super fast, so that’ll be tough, but I’m excited. It was good to hear from where he wanted to stand, and he even said we’re not going to be that dominant car. It’s not going to happen. There will be some days where we’ll finish better than top 10. Way better. There’ll be some days where we finish way worse than top 10. It’s just one of those days.”

Q: Is that optimism from Daytona or there before it?

A: “I think it was there before that. At the end of the day, yeah, you finish second at Daytona. Great. Anyone can do that. Anyone who enters the Daytona 500 has a chance to win unless they are there to ride around in the back. Wrecks go that way. There hasn’t been a race yet where all the cars are wrecked out except one, but there’s a chance that could happen. So whoever is riding around in the back that misses every wreck and everybody wrecks out, there’s your Daytona 500 winner. That’s how the plate races go, so yeah, it was great to be able to get through that and still battle. How many cars on the lead lap in Daytona, 15? OK. But it’s Daytona. As long as you miss the wrecks, you’re going to have a good finish.”

Q: Is tire management over 500 miles the toughest part?

A: “For sure. I was watching the race last night, and Harvick even leading just coming off Turn 4 sideways. Nine laps into it. I’m like, ‘Jesus Christ.’ All right, he had a 2-second lead. I can only imagine what 15th place is like.”

NASCAR America: Is this the best Championship 4 ever?

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In the fifth year of the current format, the question being asked on Monday’s edition of NASCAR America is whether this is the greatest assembly of Championship 4 drivers of all times.

The answer is undeniably yes, according to the Dale Jarrett. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano constitute the best Championship 4 thus far.

“We could sit here and talk about how strong they are,” Dale Jarrett said. “We’ve talked about the Big 3 all year and who was going to be that fourth. Joey Logano showed strength as they got into the playoffs. But you don’t have to believe all that we are telling you. Just look at the numbers.”

It is a phrase repeated all too often, but in 2018 the numbers really do speak for themselves.

With his win last week at Phoenix, Busch tied Harvick with eight wins apiece, Truex earned four wins and Joey Logano scored two. With one race remaining, that totals 22 victories. The most previous to this season came last year when Truex, Busch, Harvick and Brad Keselowski combined for 18 wins including Truex’s Miami win.

The Championship 4 combined for 74 top fives. Last year, they had 62 top fives through the season finale in Miami.

“When we talk about the numbers, it is impressive,” Steve Letarte said. “Joey Logano has had a great year, but it has been dominated by three names. I would expect the race (at Miami) to be no different.”

“I think going into Miami, the big deal is they have all been there before,” Burton said. “Having been there; done that matters. The pressure of being in that situation? They’ve all experienced it.”

This will be the fourth appearance among the Championship 4 for Harvick (previously appeared in 2014, 2015 and 2017) and Busch (2015, 2016 and 2017). Truex (2015 and 2017) and Logano (2014 and 2016) have two appearances each.

The Big 3 have been together twice before (2017 and 2015).

2017: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski (combined for 18 wins, 62 top fives)

2016: Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards (15 wins, 53 top fives)

2015: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr. (10 wins, 48 top fives)

2014: Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano (11 wins, 42 top fives)

For more, watch the videos above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Phoenix recap, Rodney Childers interview

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and reviews all the action from over the weekend at ISM Raceway.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Dale Jarrett from Stamford, Connecticut. Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte join them from the Charlotte Studio.

On today’s show:

  • We’ll recap Sunday’s elimination race at Phoenix that set the Championship 4 in the Cup Series. We’ll hear from those drivers, including Phoenix winner Kyle Busch, who locked themselves into this weekend’s race for the title. We’ll also hear from those drivers who’ll have to wait until next year.
  • Kevin Harvick drove his way into the Championship 4 with a fifth-place finish at Phoenix. He did so without the services of crew chief Rodney Childers, who is serving a two-race suspension for last week’s violation at Texas. Marty Snider goes 1-on-1 with Childers to get his take on Harvick’s performance as well as the team’s preparations for Miami.
  • We’ll also recap Saturday’s Xfinity Series elimination race at Phoenix. Facing a must-win situation, Christopher Bell scored his seventh win of the year and, more importantly, advanced to the Championship.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Sage Advice: What Tony Stewart told Kurt Busch at Phoenix

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Tony Stewart has seen the picture taken of him and Kurt Busch near the end of Sunday’s Cup race at ISM Raceway and wants to assure you it’s not what it looks like.

The picture shows the Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner and Busch talking closely on the No. 41 team’s pit wall shortly after Busch wrecked in the final playoff elimination race.

“It looks like he’s sobbing on my shoulder and I’m consoling him and that’s now what it was,” Stewart said Monday on Kevin Harvick‘s “Happy Hours” show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“It was a boss and his driver, and more so two friends, that are having a conversation saying, ‘Don’t let that one mistake and that one crash overshadow what you did today as a race car driver and what you’ve done all year,” Stewart said.

Busch, the 2004 champion, entered the elimination race three points behind Harvick for the final transfer spot to the Championship 4.

Busch led 52 laps before he was held a lap by NASCAR for passing the pace car as he entered the pits on Lap 136.

After he returned to the lead lap, Busch stayed out of the pits during a late caution.

When the race restarted with 44 laps to go, Busch was racing Denny Hamlin for the lead in Turn 2 when Hamlin got loose and pinned him against the wall, which caused a chain reaction that involved Chase Elliott. Busch finished 32nd.

“Those restarts were insane yesterday,” Stewart said. “Kurt couldn’t do anything about that. It was more just having the conversation with Kurt, ‘Don’t beat yourself up, don’t go to the media and blast NASCAR because you did make a mistake, it was your fault, not NASCAR’s fault.’

“‘You did everything you could do’ … he absolutely drove his ass off. Ran a great race, battled adversity after his mistake coming on pit road. Absolutely did everything perfect from that moment on. That’s what I wanted him to understand.”

Busch, who enters the season finale at Miami without having announced where he’ll race in 2019, praised Stewart, who he has competed for since 2014.

“He was just helping me out as a driver, owner,” Busch said. “That’s what Tony Stewart does. He’s a good individual that knows how to pat somebody on the back and create clarity from the outside on what went on because I only see what happens from the inside of the car.”

Xfinity Championship 4 made up of favorites and a surprise

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Unlike on the Cup side where there are no surprises, the Championship 4 in the Xfinity Series is not entirely what was expected when the playoffs started.

Justin Allgaier, who won the regular-season title, was eliminated at the end of the Round of 8. So was teammate Elliott Sadler, who had 24 top 10s in the first 32 races but no wins.

Rookie Christopher Bell got into the Championship 4 in walk-off fashion, winning Saturday at Phoenix after he entered the race 34 points below the final transfer spot.

Bell joins Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick in Saturday’s title race in Miami (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

The drivers have an average age of 23 and have combined for nine wins since February, with Hemric the only winless among driver among them.

Here’s a look at each driver’s record ahead of Miami.

Christopher Bell (No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing)

Wins: Seven, a rookie record (Richmond I, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Iowa II, Richmond II, Dover II and Phoenix II)

Career Playoff wins: Four (Including win at Kansas last year as a part-time driver)

Miami record: Earned a DNF in first Xfinity start last year for an engine failure. Best finish of second in three Truck Series starts. Won the Truck Series title in 2017. Has been in the Championship 4 in each of his three full-time seasons in NASCAR.

Outlook: Bell enters as the favorite with his series-leading seven wins. Despite two DNFs in the Round of 8, he has won three of the last six races. Toyota has won two of the last five Miami races.

“I don’t know if you can take any momentum (to Miami),” Bell said after his win Saturday.  “The 00 (Cole Custer), they’re licking their chops because they won by (15.4) seconds last year so I’m sure they’re feeling good. We saw with the Cup deal, Jimmie Johnson won his championship (in 2016) because a couple guys beat themselves and took each other out and he was just at the right spot at the right time and he was definitely not the best out of the four. What we’re going to have to do next week if we are the best car, try not to beat yourself and if we’re not the best car, just wait for the opportunity for that last pit stop and you never know when the last restart is going to come.”

 

Cole Custer (No. 00 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing)

Wins: One (Texas II)

Career Playoff wins: Two (Won Miami last year when he was not part of Championship 4)

Miami record: Two starts in Xfinity. Finishes of 17th and a win. Started second in 2017 and led 182 laps on way to his first career Xfinity win.

Outlook: Despite only one win through 32 races, Custer placed in the top 10 a series-leading 25 times this season. And as Christopher Bell noted, Custer won at Miami by just over 15 seconds last year.

“All of the cars at Stewart-Haas (Racing), we build fantastic cars,” Custer said Saturday. “I could take any single car out of our fleet and I could take this car this weekend (at Phoenix) and I think it would be just as good as the car we’re taking to Homestead. I think the tires are gonna be a little bit different. I think it’s a different left-side tire. We have the flange-fit bodies this year, so that’s a little bit different. You have to account for those things and make sure that you’re adjusting and making your car as good as it can be.”

 

Daniel Hemric (No. 21 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing)

Wins: None

Career Playoff wins: None

Miami record: Finished 34th, 23 laps off the lead in 2017 due to an early mechanical problem. Three Truck Series starts with a best finish of fifth in 2016.

Outlook: For the second year in a row, Hemric enters the Championship 4 without a win to his name. Should he claim the title without winning in Miami he’d be the first driver to win a national NASCAR championship without having ever won a race.

Hemric leads the Championship 4 drivers in average finish (9.1). His five runner-up finishes without a win leads all winless drivers in Xfinity.

“You just hope you’re going to find yourself in position to have another shot at it like we did last year,” Hemric said after he finished second Saturday. “Now I can confidently say we do have that shot. It’s a tough situation to be in after the 10-point penalty we got after Kansas. It put you a little bit on edge and then we got into Texas and lost some points. We knew we had to come here (to Phoenix) today and be a solid as we could and give ourselves a shot to try to maximize our points as best we could and that’s what we did.

“… Having that taste in our mouth from having that taken away from us last year the way it was makes us that much more hungry when we go there next week.”

 

Tyler Reddick (No. 9 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports)

Wins: One (Daytona I)

Career Playoff wins: One (At Kentucky last year as a part-time driver)

Miami record: Started from pole and finished fourth in first Xfinity start last year. In three Truck Series starts finished sixth, third and second.

Outlook: Reddick admitted he would have been “surprised” had you told him nine weeks ago he would be the only JR Motorsports driver in the Championship 4.

Nine races ago he finished 34th in race No. 23 at Road America. By that point he had just one top-five finish since he won the season-opener at Daytona. In the nine races after Road America he earned four top fives, three top 10s and announced he’ll compete for Richard Childress Racing in 2019.

“I (knew we had) the potential to get to (Miami) all year long,” Reddick said after placing sixth at Phoenix. “I guess we’ve just been getting our bugs out this year. Our regular reason had moments of greatness but never really seized it. We’d have speed, but something would happen. … The playoffs have been more about what this team is really about. We’ve done everything we needed to. We’ve done a very good job of staying out of trouble and minimizing mistakes. But we’ve been lucky too.  … Sometimes it never hurts to just be a little lucky.”