Bubba Wallace confronts Alex Bowman with postrace splash
CONCORD, N.C. -- Bubba Wallace angrily splashed liquid in the face of runner-up Alex Bowman as he was being attended to by medical personnel after Sunday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bowman was sitting on the pavement beside his No. 88 Chevrolet and being attended to by Dr. Angela Fiege, medical director of NASCAR’s AMR Safety Team, when he was approached by Wallace, whose No. 43 Chevy was spun by Bowman into the Turn 3 wall on Lap 42 exiting the backstretch chicane.
“He don’t like to race,” Wallace told NASCAR.com about Bowman as he left the track. “He just runs over everybody.
“He gets to Lap 1, and he runs over me and (Austin Dillon) into the back chicane. We’re back there in the trunk, man. Just take it easy for a lap. He had a fast car and he just run over us. Shoot us through the chicane and then we get a penalty for it. Every time he gets to me, he just runs over me.
“Smooth move of playing the sick card so I couldn’t bust him in his mouth.”
The liquid splashed on Fiege, Bowman and Fox Sports analyst and Hendrick Motorsports executive Jeff Gordon, who was kneeling to check in on Bowman (watch the video above). A NASCAR spokesman said officials would be talking to Wallace about his actions in the postrace incident.
Bowman, who was in a backup car after crashing Saturday and spun on the first lap Sunday after starting at the rear, advanced to the playoffs by finishing second behind Chase Elliott. Dehydrated after a long day in a hot car, Bowman received treatment at the care center postrace.
After wrecking Wallace, he radioed his Hendrick Motorsports team that he was upset by being continually shown the finger.
“He probably wouldn’t have gotten wrecked if he had his finger back in the car,” Bowman told reporters afterward.
Asked what Wallace had said to him, Bowman said, “I probably shouldn’t repeat what he said to me. Nothing classy by any means.”
Wallace, who rebounded to finish 24th and on the lead lap, declined to retaliate on track against Bowman as he had after getting wrecked at Watkins Glen International last month.
Wallace’s crew chief, Derek Stamets, told NBC Sports that he didn’t need to coach Wallace on avoiding revenge on a playoff driver.
“No. he takes care of that himself,” Stamets said. “That’s his world right there. For the most part, I pay attention to springs, bars, shocks and tires, getting them in and out and keeping the car under him. Got to let the guys go out and race out each other. Be boring if we told him what to do every week.
“I’m glad it didn’t just get worse than it did. It can just perpetuate forever, so maybe they’re done. NASCAR needs some rivalries, so it doesn’t hurt.”
Stamets said his team was disappointed that Bowman had wrecked Wallace with an obviously faster car after bumping him through the chicane.
“We’d rather he raced us clean,” Stamets said. “I know he’s frustrated to be behind us there, but we weren’t horrible. It’s probably the best Bubba has run on a road course all year, if not total.
“It was kind of blatant for (Bowman) to just take us out. If he was that much faster, you saw how fast he was at the end, he could have passed us clean somewhere else. He just lost his patience, I guess.”