Wallace had a top 10 car from most of the race at Nashville Superspeedway; But, his race was filled with headaches
On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series raced at Nashville Superspeedway. The race saw a mult-hour delay due to weather, ending close to Midnight.
Wallace finished 7th in stage one. He had a fast car that could compete solidly in the top 10.
In stage two, Bubba Wallace was still running inside the top 10. He pitted under caution and became the latest to fall victim to a loose wheel.
Soon leaving the pit lane, Wallace was told that he needed to stop. When he did, Tyler Reddick drove into the back of him, making things worse.
Bubba Wallace cusses out his crew chief
Wallace was understandably frustrated. No. 23 crew chief Bootie Barker attempted to calm his driver down. Wallace wasn’t having any of it…
“Leave me the fuck alone, dude,” Wallace responded to Barker.
He drove the point home with, “Don’t talk to me the whole fucking race.”
Wallace was on a charge back through the field. However, a green flag pit cycle was underway with just 50 laps to go.
Chris Buescher lost a wheel after his pit stop. That brought out the yellow.
The caution flag came out shortly after Wallace’s pit stop. The no. 23 was placed a lap down as a result. The team was able to skip a pit stop (since they just pitted), take a wave around and get back on the lead lap.
However, he ran out of time to drive back through the field. He was able to get back to 12th.
Recent mistakes with the No. 23 crew
Pit crew strategies were thrown out the window at the start of the 2022 season. The Next Gen car has caused teams to go back to the drawing board as they have an entirely different way of completing 4 tire stops.
Additionally, the car features just a single lug nut, making it easier for a wheel to fall off after a pit stop. If the jack is dropped too soon, then the lug won’t get tight enough to lock in the safety pin. We’ve seen it over 10 times since the start of the season.
The new strategies have likely created more errors than usual. We’ve seen many drivers frustrated with pit crew members, most recently Kevin Harvick who had two new crew members for Nashville.
Previous errors from Wallace’s crew
This was not the first time Wallace’s crew missed a wheel. The No. 23 had a wheel come off back in March at Circuit of the Americas. That incident resulted in a four-week suspension for Barker and two crew members.
In May, during the Coca-Cola 600, Bootie Barker suggested that Wallace hang out in the back of the field to avoid an unnecessary accident. However, in doing so, Wallace failed to meet minimum speed and was black flagged to the garage despite having a car well fast enough to meet minimum speed.
Earlier in May, Wallace was penalized twice for crew member violations at Kansas Speedway. He was sent to the rear for an equipment violation as well as a crew member jumping over the wall too soon.
“We look at the possibility of winning that race and it was very high and we never gave ourselves a chance every time we hit pit road,” Wallace after Kansas.
Wallace is in his second season with the newly formed 23XI Racing. He has two top-10 runs in the 17 races so far this season.
Kurt Busch joined the 23XI Racing team this season. Busch has 5 top-5s and a win.