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Bubba Wallace apologizes to Christopher Bell

The members of the Motormouths team offer their takes on Bubba Wallace’s run-in and ensuing confrontation with Kyle Larson and how they think NASCAR should respond.

Christopher Bell said Bubba Wallace apologized to him on their flight back from Las Vegas after Sunday’s race and apologized in Monday’s Toyota competition meeting.

“He just apologized for what went down and the fact that we got taken out in his unfortunate circumstances,” Bell told reporters Wednesday.

Bell, a playoff driver, was a victim of Wallace intentionally wrecking Kyle Larson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bell finished 34th and is last among the playoff drivers heading into Sunday’s Round of 8 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Wallace was upset that a move by Larson forced Wallace into the wall. Wallace then hooked Larson in the right rear, sending both cars into the wall. Larson’s car hit Bell’s car. After the incident, Wallace exited his car before safety crews arrived and walked along the track to Larson’s car and repeatedly shoved Larson.

NASCAR suspended Wallace one race for his actions. 23XI Racing announced that John Hunter Nemechek will drive in place of Wallace this weekend at Homestead.

NASCAR chief operating officer Steve O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the penalty is specific to “what took place on the race track. When we look at how that incident occurred, in our minds it was really a dangerous act. We thought that was intentional and put other competitors at risk. As we look at the sport and where we are, we thought that definitely crossed the line.”

Bell is 23 points out of the final transfer spot to next month’s championship race at Phoenix.

“I’m feeling better now,” Bell said of his mindset. “Monday and Sunday I was just incredibly sad. Sad and disappointed because ... at least we had a good finish at Vegas well within reach, and we did everything that we needed to do to put ourselves in position to go race for a championship at Phoenix.”

Facing a must-win situation at the Charlotte Roval to advance to the Round of 8, Bell won that race. That performance provides some comfort for Bell, knowing what he and his team can do while facing difficult circumstances.

“Especially after the last round, I haven’t written it off,” Bell said of reaching the title race. “We’re in a much better spot than we were after Texas or even Talladega in the Round of 12. I don’t think it’s over by any means, but it’s certainly got a lot more difficult, and it appears we’re going to have to win. I do feel a lot better off having the opportunity to win at Martinsville and Homestead than I did at the Roval or Talladega.”

That has been a part of the up-and-down playoffs for Bell.

He scored top fives in each of the three races in the opening round. He failed to finish Texas in the second round after tire issues and placed 17th at Talladega putting him in a must-win situation at the Charlotte Roval to win. He also recently signed a long-term contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing.

“It’s definitely been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows back-to-back-to-back,” Bell said. “With that being said, I feel like I’ve always done a really good job throughout my career of managing my emotions when it comes time to perform at the level I have to perform at.

“Even at the Roval, I was extremely down. ... Whenever it was time, I was able to perform at my best. I’m going to go into Homestead this week with the same mentality that regardless of where we’re at in the standings or what our position is, I’m going to have to perform at my best.”