Bubba Wallace’s Team Commits All-Time Mistake During Coca-Cola 600

Bubba Wallace

Getty Bubba Wallace drives during qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Another major mistake by the No. 23 team has caused issues for Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace. This time, the team made a critical mistake during a Coca-Cola 600 caution that resulted in Wallace taking a car in good condition to the garage.

The stunning incident occurred after a massive wreck late in Stage 2. A spinning Ryan Blaney kickstarted the big one that collected Brad Keselowski, William Byron, and several other drivers. Wallace sustained some minor damage while sliding below the wreck, but he was able to keep driving. However, he ended up on the damaged vehicle clock.

The mistake was that Wallace received instructions to take it easy on his tires until the end of Stage 2. He nursed the car around the 1.5-mile North Carolina track and never met minimum speed. Wallace then pulled down pit road for the Moment of Remembrance, which is when the damage clock expired and forced him to take the relatively undamaged No. 23 Toyota Camry to the garage.

Wallace had a car capable of contending for a top-10 finish. He started the Crown Jewel race seventh overall after reaching the second round of qualifying. He then took the lead early in Stage 1 after receiving some help from team owner Denny Hamlin and then he ultimately finished the stage fourth overall.

The mistake disrupted the longest race on the schedule. Wallace was not able to continue after failing to meet minimum speed. Instead, his day came to an end early with a 28th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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The Rule Book Lays Out the Damaged Vehicle Policy

With Wallace falling victim to a stunning DNF, there were numerous questions about the damaged vehicle policy and why the No. 23 couldn’t continue. FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass provided an answer by posting a page from the NASCAR Rule Book.

“A damaged vehicle that requires repairs in the vehicle’s assigned pit box must be able to reach the posted minimum speed requirement,” the Rule Book states. “The wrecked or damaged vehicle will be permitted a three consecutive lap run under green flag conditions on the racetrack to reach the posted minimum speed requirement. If the vehicle does not reach the posted minimum speed requirement by the completion of the third lap, the vehicle will not be scored or permitted to continue in the race.”

Once the damaged vehicle reaches minimum speed, the six-minute clock will not be an issue. The driver can head back down pit road for further repairs. The team can continue to focus on the damaged vehicle without the six-minute clock playing a role.

Denny Hamlin Previously Called Out Wallace’s Crew

Bubba Wallace

GettyBubba Wallace’s crew has come under fire in recent weeks.

This mistake at Charlotte Motor Speedway is far from the only incident involving Wallace’s crew. The team has had numerous issues that have disrupted otherwise strong outings. The recent list includes a lost wheel at Circuit of the Americas and two separate penalties at Kansas Speedway.

The first penalty at Kansas Speedway was for a crew member going over the wall too early on Lap 83. This dropped Wallace to the rear of the field, but he bounced back and secured stage points.

The second penalty took place on Lap 198 as drivers made pit stops under caution. Wallace headed down pit road in the fifth position, but he had to drop to the rear once again. One of his crew members tossed the tire to the right instead of toward the pit road wall. This tire rolled out onto pit road, where several drivers hit it and launched it back over the roof of Wallace’s stock car.

“Just, you know, we as an organization have kind of let these guys down,” Hamlin told FOX Sports after the race. “I’m talking about Bubba and Kurt with so many mistakes that we’ve made on pit road and whatnot. Bubba got let down again on the last stop, but he was fast. I thought he was a little better than I was. We had to go back again three times today.”

The critical mistake at Charlotte Motor Speedway continued this streak and put the No. 23 team into an even bigger hole after it entered the Coca-Cola 600 22nd in points. Wallace is running out of time to secure a spot in the playoffs, which will put him into a must-win situation for the final 12 races of the regular season.

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tom spriggs
tom spriggs
1 year ago

Wallace had a car capable of contending for a top-10 finish.
they almost always have a car capable, they just don’t have a driver capable