bristol motor speedway

Bubba Wallace All-Star bumper raises $20,034 for charity

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July 29 Update: Front Row Motorsports announced that one of its sponsors, carparts.com, made the winning bid for Bubba Wallace‘s front bumper from the July 15 All-Star Open, with the proceeds going to Motor Racing Outreach.

The team also announced that the compnay would make an additional $20,043 donation to Victory Junction in honor of Wallace and Richard Petty Motorsports.

“We are proud and excited to be a participant in the NASCAR community,” said Lev Peker, CEO of CarParts.com, in a media release. “We felt that making the final bid allowed us to continue to do good for everyone in the community – and beyond. We’re proud to donate to Motor Racing Outreach on behalf of Front Row Motorsports and Michael McDowell and make an additional donation to Victory Junction on behalf of Richard Petty Motorsports and Bubba Wallace.”

Said Michael McDowell: “I have to thank our partner, CarParts.com for making such a generous impact to MRO, through The NASCAR Foundation, and to Victory Junction. It’s amazing to see the attention the auction got and what an impact we’ve all made. I must thank Bob Jenkins (owner) of Front Row Motorsports for having this idea and then letting us all put it together for such great causes.”

Said Wallace: “It’s like I said before, we’re making lemonade out of lemons. And now we’re making a lot of lemonade for the children at Victory Junction and that’s pretty cool. Thanks to CarParts.com for making this donation and creating a big win for everyone.”

Original story

How much is someone willing to pay for the torn front bumper off a Bubba Wallace race car that failed to finish an exhibition race?

Well, if it’s the front bumper Wallace deposited at Michael McDowell’s Front Row Motorsports hauler after the July 15 All-Star Open, someone is willing to pay $20,034.

That’s how much the bumper was auctioned for Monday on eBay. The identity of the buyer is not available.

The torn bumper from Wallace’s No. 43 Chevrolet was a result of a wreck after contact from McDowell’s No. 34 Ford at Bristol Motor Speedway. The All-Star Open was the final chance for drivers to qualify for the All-Star Race that night.

Front Row Motorsports teamed up with the NASCAR Foundation to auction the bumper. The proceeds will go to Motor Racing Outreach.

 

Bid on Bubba Wallace’s bumper from All-Star Open wreck

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Break out your wallet for the “Bubba bumper.”

Front Row Motorsports is auctioning off the front bumper from Bubba Wallace’s No. 43 race car that was torn off after contact with Michael McDowell in Wednesday’s NASCAR All-Star Open at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The damaged bumper was deposited at McDowell’s hauler after the race. So in the spirit of finders-keepers, Front Row Motorsports decided to do good by partnering with The NASCAR Foundation to auction the bumper and raise money for Motor Racing Outreach.

“Everyone has an opinion of what happened,” said McDowell in the media release. “I have my side of things, Bubba has his and all of the fans have theirs, too. It’s one of the reasons NASCAR wanted to go to Bristol for the All-Star Race. We created the excitement and now fans can make a difference and own a piece of history.”

Bids on the bumper can be submitted by going to www.nascarfoundation.org/motorracingoutreach.

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Chase Elliott All-Star win helps make up for some of season’s struggles

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When he’s been good this season, Chase Elliott has been very good, with one win, seven top five and nine top-10 finishes. And now you can add his $1 million win in Wednesday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway to that list.

“To me, this is one of those prestigious events that the Cup Series only has,” Elliott said after his first career All-Star Race win. “You’re racing against the very best over recent times and anybody’s career that have locked themselves into this event. To beat the best I think is always special.”

But even with the excitement of Wednesday’s win, Elliott was quick to point out that he and his team have also struggled this season – including six finishes of 20th or worse.

“I feel like I needed to hit the reset button, not overthink things, do what I feel is right,” Elliott said. “That’s a hard thing to do all the time. You try to get better, you try to learn. A lot of times you can take yourself down a road, this or that, that may not necessarily be benefitting you.

“But we all want to improve. I certainly have room for improvement. Tonight was a great night for us, but I still think I can do better and there’s areas I can improve on. I’m going to keep working on that.”

In addition to the winner’s check going a long way toward helping his wallet, Elliott was happy to have fans back in the stands. The racetrack capped admission at 30,000 fans — and The Associated Press estimated 20,000 attended —  but it was still the country’s largest crowd at a sporting event since the COVID-19 pandemic halted U.S. sports four months ago.

“To me, tonight felt like an event again,” Elliott said. “I feel like we’ve been missing that piece for a couple months. I mean, NASCAR is built on the fans. Once the race starts, it’s hard to engage with them because you can’t hear them. Before a race, the atmosphere was energetic again. I felt like the vibe was back.

“I felt like that fire and intensity in me was back even more so than it has been, a piece that had been missing. I think that’s driven by the people, the cars pulling in, the prerace parties and everything that you see.”

Elliott saw that fan excitement up close, admitting he “snuck up” into the grandstands to watch the All-Star Open, which preceded the main event.

“I’m looking around, seeing all these kids and families, people wearing their respective drivers, a lot of 9 gear,” he said. “You don’t realize how much impact you have on people you never met, you never will meet, who genuinely want to see me do well and they don’t even know me. It’s pretty dang cool to experience that.

“I felt like I had a special night sitting up there with them watching that Open from the grandstands, really seeing and getting back to the roots of what this sport is built on. Then to engage with them after the race, to me it made it mean that much more.”

The All-Star win helped Elliott make up for his disappointing 23rd-place finish last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

But he feels some semblance of redemption to give Hendrick Motorsports its series-record 10th All-Star Race win. And Elliott joins father Bill as the only Cup drivers to win the All-Star Race when it was held somewhere other than Charlotte Motor Speedway. The elder Elliott won the exhibition event when it was held in 1986 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Any race is hard to win, but this is a special race to win, something that locks you in the All‑Star Race for life,” he said. “That’s extremely special to join dad.”

Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, had one regret after the race.

“I certainly wish this was a points race,” Gustafson said. “We’ve had a couple races, a stretch, that haven’t been the greatest for us. … That’s the way it goes sometimes, you just don’t get the finishes that you feel like you deserve. That’s certainly the case at Indianapolis (11th) and Kentucky (23rd) and the first Pocono (25th). We have some points to make up.”

Elliott is fourth in the standings, but he’s 100 points behind series leader Kevin Harvick.

Wednesday’s race was the second leg of a string that will see Cup teams compete in four races in 11 days. Next up are Texas (this Sunday) and Kansas (July 23), then there are nine days off before returning to action at New Hampshire on August 2.

“To be honest with you, Texas and Loudon aren’t two of our better tracks,” Gustafson acknowledged. “Those tracks we’ve circled to work hard on and try to improve. I feel like we can. I think we learned some things from Kentucky we can take to Texas. We’re looking forward to putting that to use. Loudon is a place we need to work on. We’ve had some decent runs there. I wouldn’t say we’ve got that one circled as one of our favorites.”

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Winners and losers at Bristol All-Star Race

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WINNERS

Chase ElliottScores what he considers his first signature win with his first All-Star victory and the sport’s most popular driver did so in front of the largest gathering of fans at a U.S. sporting event since March. “To me tonight felt like an event again. I feel like we’ve been missing that piece for a couple months. It just felt really good to get NASCAR back. I mean, NASCAR is built on the fans.” 

Kyle BuschFinished second. He’s still winless in Cup in points races and non-points races but this was a step in the right direction for a team that normally has won by this point in the season.

Clint Bowyer He won the fan vote and got into the All-Star Race. That would the highlight of his night, as he finished 15th.

LOSERS

Bubba WallaceWrecked after contact from Michael McDowell early in the Open and never got a chance to make the All-Star Race. A frustrated Wallace said after the incident: “Just disrespect.”

Jimmie JohnsonHis final All-Star appearance was forgettable, finishing 17th. Of the three cars he placed ahead of, two were in crashes.

Chip Ganassi Racing — Matt Kenseth finished 18th and Kurt Busch finished 20th in the 20-car field Wednesday night.

To glow or not to glow? That is the question for NASCAR

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Wednesday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race featured underglow lighting on Cup cars similar to what has been showcased under cars in “The Fast and Furious” films.

Blue lights were underneath Fords. Orange lights were under Chevrolets. Red lights were under Toyotas.

Consider William Byron a fan of the lights.

“The lights under the cars were cool to see,” he said after the race.

Not everyone was sold on the concept, though.

“I wish mine would have fallen off,” Kevin Harvick said, laughing. “The only person that I talked to that thought that that underglow light was good was my 8‑year‑old. Hopefully the kids liked it. It was definitely something that I’m way out of that age group for.”

All-Star Race winner Chase Elliott also wasn’t a big fan of the lights under the back of the cars.

“I didn’t think it did much of anything, to be honest with you,” he said. “It sure didn’t do anything for me.”

Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, had his driver turn off those lights — drivers had a switch on their dash — when Elliott came in for pit stops.

“I didn’t want to take a chance and have the lights ‑‑ we didn’t get the lights until pretty late in the game,” Gustafson said. “We hadn’t had experience doing it. I don’t think it would be a problem ultimately. Certainly we weren’t going to take that chance.”

So now the question for NASCAR is to glow or not to glow in future races.