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Co-Owner of Racing Team Bubba Wallace Drives for Drops the Hammer: In-House Penalties Go 'Above and Beyond' NASCAR Sanctions

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Bubba Wallace missed Sunday’s NASCAR race, and that’s evidently not his only sanction after losing his cool in Las Vegas last weekend.

Denny Hamlin — who, along with Michael Jordan, co-owns the 23XI racing team that Wallace drives for — said Oct. 22 that the team has dealt with matters in a way that goes “above and beyond” the penalties handed down by NASCAR.

Hamlin didn’t say what that means, choosing to keep those matters in-house.

“He understands where I stand, where the team stands, the values that we want to present on the racetrack, and he just didn’t represent it that well last week,” Hamlin said. “But, you know, in the grand scheme of things, we’re very happy with his progress. And he knows he’s still got some stuff to work on when he gets out of the race car.”

It’s not just Wallace in the spotlight right now.

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Recently, NASCAR issued $200,000 in fines after finding that Stewart-Haas Racing driver Cole Custer slowed on the backstretch of the final lap of a race in Charlotte and helped teammate Chase Briscoe move up enough to reach the next round of the playoffs. Custer and his crew chief, Mike Shiplett, were both fined $100,000 after NASCAR determined Custer’s slowdown was deliberate.

A week later, Wallace intentionally wrecked reigning Cup champion Kyle Larson at Las Vegas in a dangerous act of retaliation. Wallace got suspended for the next week at Homestead-Miami, and playoff contender Christopher Bell got caught up in that wreck — smashing his car and denting his chances of becoming NASCAR champion. Bell remains in the playoffs, but needs to rally.

“NASCAR’s like your parents a lot of times,” playoff leader and title contender Joey Logano said. “There’s a line of, you know, you’ve got to let the boys figure it out sometimes, and they’ll figure it out together and move on — or mom and dad has to step in a little bit and control the situation because it’s gotten out of hand. So, I believe NASCAR kind of decided it’s getting out of hand.”

Drivers tended to agree with NASCAR on these calls.

Do you think Bubba Wallace should be suspended?

“In my opinion, those moves were extremely, extremely dumb — both of them,” driver Daniel Suarez said of the decisions made by Custer and Wallace. “And with both of them, I was going to be extremely surprised if they were not penalties. … You have to be smarter. I don’t know what those guys were thinking.”

That question — “what was he thinking?” — has been a storyline for much of this NASCAR season, with no shortage of temper-flaring incidents.

Ross Chastain, who has had a big first season for Trackhouse Racing, has been featured prominently in a few of those. He has clashed with Hamlin, had a starring role in a wreck that put a good dent in Kevin Harvick’s title chances, and his name was converted to a verb by Kyle Busch. Getting wrecked by Chastain is now, in NASCAR parlance, getting “Chastained.”

“Look, some of the things I did throughout the summer were just not … looking back, I would do them different,” Chastain said. “Some of it would just be my stance after the race. I would prefer it be different. But a lot of on-track stuff, I could definitely clean up.”

Wallace wasn’t at Homestead last weekend, even to watch. He planned to be in the team garage, and Logano said he doesn’t think Wallace owes his fellow drivers an explanation.

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“It’s kind of all in front of us. We all see,” Logano said. “I’m not looking for anything. He didn’t do it to me. If he did it to me, yeah, we’d have big problems.”

Wallace, of note, has been finding himself dealing with “big problems” lately.

The 29-year-old driver garnered some infamy when he claimed that a noose had been tied in his garage as a hate crime. The FBI found that Wallace was not a victim of a hate crime.

Wallace has also raised some eyebrows with his comments on a Christian rival driver, as well as Kyle Rittenhouse.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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