Bubba Wallace suspended one race by NASCAR


NASCAR has suspended Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace for Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway because he wrecked Kyle Larson during last Sunday’s event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR announcement was made late Tuesday afternoon. The penalty does not include a fine or points deduction.

John Hunter Nemechek will replace Wallace this weekend at Homestead.

Sunday’s incident began when Larson slid up the track, pushing Wallace into the outside wall. Wallace bounced off the wall and moved down the track and hooked Larson’s car, which collected title contender Christopher Bell as it spun. Bell could not continue in the race and is in last place in the playoff standings entering Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

After both drivers climbed from their cars, Wallace walked to Larson, yelled at him and then shoved him several times. Wallace then walked toward the pits as a NASCAR official tried to redirect him to a waiting safety vehicle.

NASCAR chief operating officer Steve O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the penalty is specific to “what took place on the race track. When we look at how that incident occurred, in our minds it was really a dangerous act. We thought that was intentional and put other competitors at risk. As we look at the sport and where we are, we thought that definitely crossed the line.”

O’Donnell said data allowed NASCAR to view the incident from different angles. “We’re confident in the data we have and why we made it (the decision),” he said.

“We really had to react, and it’s an action we really don’t want to see going forward.”

Former series champion Joey Logano criticized Wallace’s on-track actions Tuesday, saying that he put Larson’s life at risk.

Wallace claimed after the race that he did not deliberately wreck Larson, but Larson disagreed.

“It is what it is,” Larson said. “Just aggression turned into frustration, and he retaliated.”

In a statement Tuesday night, 23XI Racing indicated it will not appeal the suspension.

“23XI is aligned with NASCAR on the one-race suspension issued to Bubba, and we understand the need for the series to take a clear stand on the incidents that took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” the statement read. “Bubba’s actions are not in keeping with the values of our team and partners. We have spoken to Bubba and expressed our disapproval of how he handled the situation. Bubba has made impressive strides this season, and this experience is an opportunity for him to further learn and grow as a competitor in NASCAR.”

Portions of the NASCAR Rule Book mentioned in the suspension announcement:
“Section 4.3.A —NASCAR Membership is a privilege. With that privilege comes certain benefits, responsibilities, and obligations. Correct and proper conduct, both on and off the racetrack, is part of a Member’s responsibilities. A Member’s actions can reflect upon the sport as a whole and on other NASCAR Members. Ideally, NASCAR Members are role models for the many fans who follow this sport, regardless of the type of license a Member may hold, or the specific Series in which a Member may participate. Therefore, NASCAR views a Member’s conduct, both on and off the racetrack, which might constitute a behavioral Rules violation under this Rule Book with great importance.
Section 4.4.C — Member actions that could result in a loss of 25-50 driver and Team Owner Points and/orand $50,000-$100,000 fine. and/or oneViolations may also result in Race suspension(s), indefinite suspension, or termination:
  •           Physical confrontation with a NASCAR Official, media members, fans, etc.
  •           Member-to-Member confrontation(s) with physical violence and other violent manifestations such as significant threat(s) and/or abuse and/or endangerment.
  •           Attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Race or championship.
  •           Intentionally wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result.

Section 4.4 E (portion) — Member actions that could result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension, or termination:

  • Actions by a NASCAR Member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR.”

Wallace apologized for his actions Monday night. “I compete with intense passion, and with passion at times comes frustration,” he wrote. “Upon reflecting, I should have represented our partners and core team values better than I did by letting my frustrations follow me outside of the car. You live and learn, and I intend to learn from this. 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.”

Joey Logano won the race to secure a position in the Championship Four at Phoenix Raceway Nov. 6.


NASCAR Power Rankings: Christopher Bell is new No. 1


Christopher Bell charged from the rear of the field to finish third Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and is the new leader of NBC Sports’ NASCAR Power Rankings.

Bell, who is second in the point standings, has three consecutive finishes of sixth or better and has only one finish lower than sixth in the season’s first five races.

MORE: Several Cup drivers taking on extra duty at COTA

William Byron, last week’s rankings leader, fell to second after exiting Sunday’s race early because of an accident.

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

1. Christopher Bell (sixth last week) — Bell continued his solid start to the season Sunday at Atlanta, threatening to win and finishing third. A 32nd-place finish at Auto Club Speedway is the only black mark on his resume this year. While battling for the lead near the end of the race Sunday, Bell gave Joey Logano a push that aided Logano’s win.

2. William Byron (first last week) — Byron drops a spot after seeing his two-race winning streak end abruptly in a Lap 190 accident at Atlanta.

3. Kyle Busch (second last week) — Busch was mostly a non-factor at the front Sunday but scored another top 10.

4. Joey Logano (ninth last week) — Logano leaps five spots in the rankings after a brilliant run to victory at Atlanta. He led 140 laps, none better than the last as he pushed past Brad Keselowski for the win.

5. Alex Bowman (third last week) — Bowman scored top-10 finishes in the season’s first four races but wasn’t a factor at the front Sunday, finishing 14th.

6. Ross Chastain (fourth last week) — With Sunday’s 13th-place run, Chastain has had three consecutive finishes of 12th or worse.

7. Denny Hamlin (eighth last week) — Hamlin led 14 laps Sunday and continues to hang around the front group. He finished sixth.

8. Kyle Larson (fifth last week) — Larson struggled to make the inside line work Sunday at Atlanta and couldn’t push to the front. He was collected in an accident on Lap 209 and finished 31st.

9. Kevin Harvick (seventh last week) — Harvick led one lap at Atlanta but lost control of his car in tight racing at the front with Ross Chastain. He crashed and finished 33rd.

10. Brad Keselowski (unranked last week) — Keselowski had one of the day’s best cars at Atlanta and held the lead with one lap to go before Joey Logano’s surge into first. Keselowski continues to impress in his second year running operations at RFK Racing.

Dropped out: Ryan Blaney (10th last week).

Corey LaJoie calls fourth-place finish ‘huge’ for him, Spire Motorsports


HAMPTON, Ga. — With about 30 laps left in Sunday’s Cup race, Joey Logano looked around and suddenly saw Corey LaJoie’s car near the front.

“Oh, there he is,” Logano, the eventual winner, said he thought to himself. “Where has he been all day?

“Corey just kind of popped up there.”

LaJoie took a methodical approach — he ran in the top 10 for only 13 of the first 167 laps — and found himself toward the front for the third consecutive race since Atlanta Motor Speedway was reconfigured. 

His career-best fourth-place finish Sunday continued his strong runs at Atlanta, but also showed the growth in his Spire Motorsports team. While it’s only five races into the season, LaJoie is 14th in the points. He’s never finished better than 29th in Cup.

LaJoie placed fifth at Atlanta in March 2022 and was passed by Chase Elliott for the lead two laps from the finish in the July 2022 race there. Sunday, his push launched Logano on the final lap to pass Brad Keselowski for the win. 

While LaJoie continues to seek his first career Cup win, he was excited about his result.

“Hell, yeah, there’s moral victories,” he said after Sunday’s finish. “If you get … smashed 35 weekends out of the year, here’s an opportunity where you can win. When you can run fourth, there are so many good things wrapped up in that. … For me, it’s huge. For our team, it’s huge.”

Also significant was that LaJoie was the top-finishing Chevrolet.

“That’s a really big deal for us,” crew chief Ryan Sparks told NBC Sports. “Just kind of prove ourself and hopefully continue to build a relationship with Chevrolet. It’s always great to be (Chevrolet’s) top finisher. Obviously, we want to win the race. We’re getting closer. I think we’ll get up there for the year is done.”

After failing to make the feature in the Clash at the Coliseum exhibition race, LaJoie finished 16th in this year’s Daytona 500. He followed that by placing 14th at Fontana, California and then was 20th at Las Vegas and 26th at Phoenix before Sunday.

He has an average finish of 16.0 in the first races of the season. He’s never had an average finish better than 24th in his previous full-time Cup seasons. 

His performance this year has him in a playoff spot and ahead of in the standings:

  • Three cars from Stewart-Haas Racing
  • Both cars from 23XI Racing
  • Both cars from Legacy Motor Club
  • Both cars from Front Row Motorsports
  • All the Hendrick cars (although their penalties will be appealed)
  • Both Kaulig Racing cars

“We’ve started the year off really, really solid,” LaJoie said. “I don’t think we could have started any better. We messed up at Phoenix, but we came back and rebounded and put a good payday in the bank and a couple of points around the guys we are racing as well.

“It’s inevitable that a lot of the guys we’re in front of are going to catch us, those guys are the ones that run top 10 and top 15 consistently, so we have to get to where we can, on any given intermediate or any given short track, run in the top 15 a little bit better. We’re getting there. Days like this give us more confidence.”


Sunday’s race matched two drivers who are among the best in the sport at speedway style racing dueling for the win in former teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

It marked the first time they had finished 1-2 in a speedway style race, as Logano passed Keselowski on the last lap to win Sunday at Atlanta.

“I feel like Brad is one of the top five best speedway racers on the racetrack,” Logano said. “I feel like I’m in there. A few others that are in there that you just know are really, really good at it.

“We were kind of duking it out back and forth, side by side, side drafting each other. Okay, this is what you would expect. It’s fun going up against the best like that.

“He works really hard at it. He studies it. He’s really smart at speedway racing, for sure. When you think of driver and spotter combinations, you’re going against two of the best right there, right? Whether it’s T.J. (Majors) and Brad or myself and Coleman Pressley) , if I’m picking a couple pairings of people that understand the draft, those two groups are the best at it. So it was fun to kind of go back and forth there at the end.”

Said Keselowski of racing Logano: “We know each other’s moves pretty well, for sure, but it’s just a matter of how the cookie crumbles and it kind of came his way there at the end and he made a good move. Kudos to him.”

It was a much different ending from their duel on the final lap of the 2021 Daytona 500. Logano led Keselowski when they made contact, triggering a multi-car crash and allowing Michael McDowell to win the race.


Brad Keselowski’s runner-up finish continued his improved start to the season compared to last year. 

“We’re right there, though, as our team just continues to improve and show what we’re made of,” Keselowski said, “so I’m proud of that.”

A look at how much better this season has started for Keselowski compared to last year:

His average finish in the first five races of this season is 13.2 compared to 19.2 at this time last year.

He’s run in the top 15 in 85% of the laps run this season compared to running in the top 15 in 37.4% of the laps in the first five races of last season.

His average running position in a race is 9.5 this year compared to 18.3 at this time last year.




Several Cup drivers running extra race at COTA


Seven Cup drivers will do double-duty this weekend at Circuit of the Americas.

Four Cup drivers are entered for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at the road course in Austin, Texas. They are:

Aric Almirola (No. 08 SS Green Light Racing)

AJ Allmendinger (No. 10 Kaulig Racing)

William Byron (No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports)

Ty Gibbs (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing)

Three Cup drivers are entered for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at COTA. They are:

Alex Bowman (No. 7 Spire Motorsports)

Ross Chastain (No. 41 Niece Motorsports)

Kyle Busch (No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports)

In the Cup Series, there are 39 entries that includes a few road racing specialists:

Jordan Taylor (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports)

Jenson Button (No. 15 Rick Ware Racing)

Kimi Raikkonen (No. 91 Trackhouse Racing)

Also entered this weekend is Jimmie Johnson in the No. 84 for Legacy Motor Club and IndyCar driver Conor Daly in the No. 50 for TMT Racing.

COTA Cup Entry List

COTA Xfinity Entry List

COTA Truck entry list





Winners and losers at Atlanta Motor Speedway

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A look at winners and losers in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway:


Joey Logano — Logano had won 31 Cup Series races entering Sunday’s 400-miler, but none had come at Atlanta. He changed that statistical column in a big way, leading 140 laps and making a risky move around leader Brad Keselowski on the final lap to record win No. 32.

Brad Keselowski — Keselowski’s struggle to return RFK Racing to prominence has taken many months, but he has had impressive runs this year. He led 47 laps Sunday and was on the verge of victory.

Christopher Bell — With better organization from the Toyotas at the front, Bell would have had a shot at a win. He finished third and has been in the top six in four of the season’s five races.

Corey LaJoie — Sunday’s fourth-place run was LaJoie’s best in 205 Cup starts, and his smart start to the season is an indication that better things might be ahead.


William Byron — Byron’s two-race winning streak ended with a thud — literally — Sunday as he was involved in a multi-car crash and finished 32nd.

Kevin Harvick — From one instant to the next, Harvick fell from first place to out of the race. He lost control of his car in tight racing with Ross Chastain and hit the wall. He finished 33rd.

Kyle Larson — Larson fought the good fight with the more dominant Fords much of the day in the top 10, but his car was damaged in a crash with Aric Almirola. Larson parked and finished 31st.