It’s safe to say the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has likely not gone the way Bubba Wallace had hoped.
The 23XI Racing driver kicked off the season with a second place finish, but things have gone relatively downhill since as a pattern of pit crew mistakes continues to flare in recent weeks. The miscues led to part of Wallace’s pit crew being swapped for Christopher Bell’s, who holds the final playoff spot with a 20-point lead on Kevin Harvick.
Joe Gibbs Racing leases pit crews to 23XI Racing, and according to NBC Sports, Bell’s team will feature two new tire changers and a new tire carrier this weekend. The move comes two weeks after a botched pitstop for Wallace in Nashville. Wallace pitted under caution, and the crew left a wheel loose on his car. The 23XI Racing driver was told by his crew chief to slowly drive the vehicle back to pit lane so the wheel could be tightened, something that understandably frustrated Wallace.
He ended up losing a lap because of this, and although the rain delay helped him get it back, Wallace expressed his emotions over the team radio.
“Leave me the f--- alone, dude,” Wallace said crew chief Bootie Barker. “Don’t talk to me the whole f------ race.”
This isn’t the first time Wallace has run into trouble with his pit crew this season. The crew also left a wheel loose at Circuit of the Americas, which ended up falling off. Additionally, left wheels were loose at Richmond and Talladega. Wallace endured a pit road penalty at Kansas that cost him the chance at a potential win, and during the Coca-Cola 600, he finished last despite leading because of a misunderstanding of the sport’s damaged vehicle policy.
Wallace only has two top-10 finishes this season, and since joining 23XI Racing in 2021, he’s only tallied five overall.
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