During Stage 2 of the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson wrecked down the frontstretch on Lap 94 after the two made contact off Turn 4. The No. 45 Toyota hit the wall and came back down the track, spinning Larson and himself and crashing into the outside wall.
“When you get shoved in the fence, deliberately like he [Kyle Larson] did, trying to force me to lift – the steering was gone, and he just so happened to be there,” Wallace said after the wreck. “I hate it for our team. We had a super-fast car – not on short-run speed, we were kind of falling back there and (Kyle) Larson wanted to make it a three-wide dive bomb.
“He never cleared me. I don’t lift. I know I’m kind of new to running up front, but I don’t lift. I wasn’t even in a spot to lift, he never lifted either and now we are junk.”
Larson admitted to making an aggressive move that led to the initial contact that caused the wreck.
“I got in low, got loose and chased it up a bit and he got up to my right front and got tight,” Larson said. “I knew he was going to retaliate. He had a reason to be mad but his race wasn’t over until he retaliated. Just aggression turned into frustration.”
Playoff driver Christopher Bell was also involved in the wreck. The No. 20 driver, who entered Sunday +3 above the elimination line, was clipped by Larson and slammed the wall, ending his day in 34th place.
Despite his day ending early, Bell said he still has confidence going into Homestead and Martinsville the next two weeks.
“The good thing is I feel better about winning one of those two races than I did winning the Roval,” Bell said. “We’ve just had really, really strong Camrys — really all year long. We will see if we can go pull another rabbit out of the hat.”
Before the incident, Wallace had led 29 laps and won Stage 1 after Kyle Busch spun with just three laps to go in the opening 80-lap segment.
Tempers boiled over after Wallace climbed out of his wrecked car, with the 23XI driver walking toward the 2021 Cup champ and engaging in a shoving match with Larson.
NASCAR stated that they will review the entire incident between Wallace and Larson this week but did not call Wallace to the hauler after the incident.