NASCAR issued a behavioral penalty to Richard Petty Motorsports driver Bubba Wallace on Saturday for intentionally manipulating competition in last Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Wallace was fined $50,000 and docked 50 driver points for violating four sections – 12.1.a General Procedures; 12.8 NASCAR Member Conduct; 12.8.1 Member Conduct Guidelines and 10.8 In-Race Violations – in the NASCAR rule book.
On Friday in the ISM Raceway garage area, Wallace told NBC Sports’ Dustin Long when asked about a potential penalty for the intentional spin: “Until they do anything, no. I’m not the only one to do it. I’m racing for myself.”
Wallace’s comments led to the penalty.
“The reaction today was after a complete admission of guilt,” said NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller. “That’s really what led to the penalty today.”
Richard Petty Motorsports issued the following statement:
“Our team met with NASCAR officials this morning to discuss Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.’s post-practice comments on Friday, November 8, concerning an on-track incident which occurred at the Texas Motor Speedway,” Philippe Lopez, Richard Petty Motorsports director of competition, said. “We fully understand NASCAR’s position and expectations of its competitors. NASCAR has a difficult job officiating race events and we do not need to make the task more challenging. Wallace will not appeal the penalty, and will direct his immediate focus to this weekend’s event at the ISM Raceway.”
Playoff driver Kyle Larson was impacted by Wallace’s spin in the Texas race.
“I understand it’s a judgement call, but there’s so much data out there now that I don’t think it’s as much of a judgement call as people think it might be,” Larson said Friday.
Miller said it’s hard to judge intent based on data with a car that has flat tire.
“I would dispute that the data clearly shows it,” Miller said. “We don’t have a lot of data comparisons of a guy trying to drive a car with a flat tire. We looked at all of that and we don’t really feel it’s as straight forward as some of the others do as far as the data showing definitively that he did it on purpose.”