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Wallace suspended by NASCAR for Homestead after Larson clash

NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace has been assessed a one-race suspension as a result of his altercation with Kyle Larson last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On Tuesday, NASCAR suspended 23XI Racing Toyota driver Wallace from this weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for intentionally wrecking Larson's Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet during last Sunday’s race at Las Vegas. No fine or points penalties were assessed.

Wallace is the first driver to be suspended for actions in a race since 2019, when Johnny Sauter was suspended one race for intentionally wrecking Austin Hill in a Truck event at Iowa. He is the first Cup driver suspended for an on-track incident since Matt Kenseth in 2015 when he intentionally wrecked Joey Logano at Martinsville.

On lap 95 of 267 in Sunday’s Cup race, Larson slid up into Wallace – who had won Stage 1 and led 29 of the first 94 laps – and knocked him into the outside wall.

As Wallace came back down the track, he slammed into Larson’s right-rear corner, sending both cars spinning and damaged beyond repair. Playoff driver Christopher Bell was also swept in the crash, the Joe Gibbs Toyota driver out of the race as a result.

After exiting his own car, Wallace walked over to Larson’s wrecked car and started shoving Larson, who in interviews following the clash accused Wallace of retaliating.

In an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's chief operating officer, said Wallace's suspension was the result of what happened in the race car and that the decision was made based on the rate of speed of the choices made in the incident.

"It's been very rare, if ever, that we suspend drivers," he said. "We don't take that action lightly."

23XI Racing has named John-Hunter Nemechek as Wallace's replacement this weekend and stated that the team accepted the decision. 

"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," it said.

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Toyota Camry, fight

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Toyota Camry, fight

Photo by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

"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."

On Monday night, Wallace issued an apology "for my actions following the on-track incident with Kyle Larson" on his Twitter account.

"My behaviour does not align with 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," he wrote.

"I want to apologise 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 frustrations follow me out of the car. 

"You live and learn, and I intend to learn from this."

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