NASCAR announced the news with the release of the penalty report on October 18. The sanctioning body did not fine Wallace or dock the No. 45 team any points. Instead, NASCAR suspended him for the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He will be eligible to return for the trip to Martinsville Speedway.
According to the penalty report, the suspension stems from a violation of Sections 4.3A, 4.4C&E of the NASCAR Rule Book. These sections cover the member code of conduct.
The incident occurred after Wallace won Stage 1. Larson slid up the track while battling for position, which crowded the No. 45 into the wall and caused some damage. Wallace then rebounded and seemingly intentionally hooked into the right rear of the Larson’s No. 5. This maneuver wrecked them both, as well as Christopher Bell.
Wallace then climbed out of the No. 45 Toyota and walked across the track with his helmet in hand. He dropped his helmet as he approached Larson before repeatedly shoving the Hendrick Motorsports driver and yelling at him.
A NASCAR Executive Explained the Suspension
Following the announcement of the penalty, there were several questions about why NASCAR opted to go with a one-race suspension. COO Steve O’Donnell then provided an explanation during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
As O’Donnell explained to Dave Moody, the penalty specifically focuses on Wallace hooking the right rear of Larson’s car and sending it into the wall. He said that it “was intentional and put other competitors at risk.”
O’Donnell continued and said that this punishment also “draws a line.” He said that NASCAR had to be very clear that it does not want other drivers to cross this line in the future. Racing hard is fine, but intentionally wrecking others at these speeds is not.
“Going forward, we’re still about going out there, racing hard, bumping,” O’Donnell said. “That’s part of NASCAR racing. But when it’s intentional at speed and endangering others, we’ve got to take action. That’s going to be our focus.”
Wallace Issued an Apology After the Incident
Wallace made comments about the incident involving Larson after exiting the infield care center on October 16, but they mostly focused on the wreck itself. This changed on the evening of October 17 when he released a statement on Twitter, which he titled “Reflection.”
“I want to apologize for my actions on Sunday following the on-track incident with Kyle Larson and the No. 5 car,” Wallace wrote. “My behavior 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.
“I want to apologize 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 outside of the car. You live and learn, and I intend to learn from this.”