NASCAR announced that Bubba Wallace would be suspended for one race for shoving Kyle Larson following a crash over the weekend, reports NBC Sports. The penalty does not include a fine or points deduction.
The incident took place on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway when Larson attempted a three-wide pass with Kevin Harvick in the middle. When Wallace didn't lift to give Larson any room as he approached, Larson shoved Wallace's vehicle into the wall.
Wallace then sped down the track, following Larson's car, and then he appeared to deliberately hook him in retaliation, forcing him to collide with Christopher Bell which ended his championship bid.
When the race is over, Wallace walked to Larson, yelled at him, and then pushed him several times. Wallace then walked toward the pits where he allegedly pushed a NASCAR official.
Wallace claimed he didn't intentionally try to crash into Larson.
"I'm smart enough to know how easily these cars break, so when you get shoved into the fence deliberately like he did trying to force me to lift, the steering was gone," he said. "Larson wanted to make a three-wide divebomb, but he never cleared me and I don't lift."
"I know I'm kind of new to running up front, but I don't lift. I wasn't even at a spot to lift and he never lifted, either, and now we're junk. Just (very bad) move of his execution," he added.
When asked if he was trying to send a message to Larson, Wallace said, "He knows."
"He knows what he did was wrong. He wanted to question what I was doing, and he never cleared me," he continued.
Larson said he wasn't surprised Wallace hooked him.
"I obviously made an aggressive move into (turn) three, got in low, got loose, and chased it up a bit," Larson said. "He got to my right front, and it got him tight and into the wall. I knew he was going to retaliate. He had a reason to be mad, but his race wasn't over until he retaliated.”
According to the report, the suspension complies with NASCAR's behavioral policy.
Steve O’Donnell, the executive in charge of competition and racing operations, said the penalties were “for Wallace’s dangerous and deliberate retaliation against Larson,” not the fracas a few moments later.
“When we look at how that incident occurred, in our minds, (it was) really a dangerous act that we thought was intentional and put other competitors at risk,” O’Donnell said.
"Rule 4.4.C lists 'intentionally wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result' as one of five member actions that could result in a penalty," reported NASCAR.com.
On their flight back from Las Vegas after Sunday’s race, Wallace apologized to Bell and again at Monday’s Toyota competition meeting for his role in the incident.
“He just apologized for what went down and the fact that we got taken out in his unfortunate circumstances,” Bell said.