Joey Logano Taught Bubba Wallace an Important, Violence-Free Lesson Last Weekend at Las Vegas
Bubba Wallace made headlines last October in Las Vegas for an ugly incident with Kyle Larson that ended with the 23XI Racing driver violently shoving the 2021 Cup Series champion multiple times before being escorted away by safety officials.
This past weekend NASCAR returned to the track, and interestingly enough, Joey Logano, who had some harsh criticism of Wallace following last year’s incident, found himself in a very similar situation on the track. His response, however, was considerably different and showed the younger driver the proper way to react in such an incident.
Bubba Wallace upset and retaliates against Kyle Larson in October
Joey Logano won the October race in Las Vegas and advanced to the Championship 4, but it was what happened between Bubba Wallace and Kyle Larson early in the race that everyone was talking about.
It happened at the start of Stage 2 when the momentum from Larson’s No. 5 car coming out of Turn 4 escorted Wallace up the track and into the outside wall. The No. 45 bounced off the wall and promptly turned down the track into the right rear of Larson, which sent both cars up the track, across traffic, toward the fence.
Larson spun and collected Christopher Bell before a hard hit on the driver’s side. Several minutes later, Wallace exited his destroyed car and walked straight toward the HMS car, where once he arrived, began violently shoving Larson. A few tense moments later, the 23XI driver was escorted away from the scene by a medical safety worker.
“Super fast car. Had no short-run speed as you were seeing. We were kind of falling there,” Wallace said to NBC’s Marty Snider after exiting the infield care center. “Larson wanted to make a three-wide dive bomb. Never cleared me. And I don’t lift. I know I’m kind of new to running up front, but I don’t lift.”
Joey Logano offers harsh criticism of Wallace
After Logano won the race at Vegas, which he would later say was a huge stepping stone to him eventually winning his second Cup Series title in Phoenix, he addressed the incident between Wallace and Larson on SiriusXM.
“Bubba got squeezed,” Logano began. “I didn’t see contact, but he got squeezed, and they both kind of got in a pocket of air with the wind blowing, and boom, everyone kind of slides up and hits the wall. The retaliation is not OK and the way it happened. If he spun him to the infield, maybe it’s a little better. Maybe. But right-rear hooking someone in the dogleg is not OK.
“I don’t know if everyone realizes how bad that could have been. That could have been the end of Kyle Larson’s career. That, to me, was what was on the line. Or his life. That is the worst spot to get right-rear hooked into a corner. The dogleg is pretty sharp, and when you come in and hit the angle that he hit. In a way, he’s lucky he hit the 20 to soften it probably a little bit. He might have flush-hit that thing on the side and then game over. There’s no room for that. You can’t do that.”
Logano in similar situation at Las Vegas and offers tempered response
Joey Logano started on the pole in Las Vegas this past weekend. However, when the race started, the No. 22 quickly faded. He finished 13th in Stage 1 and 14th to close out Stage 2.
He never finished the final stage because, like Wallace months earlier, found himself on the outside with Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch to his inside heading into Turn 4. Similar to what happened in October, the RFK car moved up the track and squeezed the Team Penske car into the wall, which bounced off and got sideways before sliding through the infield grass.
Logano didn’t have the opportunity to immediately retaliate on track like Wallace, but his car was still drivable, and he took it to pit road. He didn’t drive it and find the No. 6 car. He didn’t physically confront the driver later. That didn’t mean he wasn’t upset. He was, but offered a much calmer response.
“Yeah, I just got squeezed up into the wall,” Logano told Fox’s Jamie Little after exiting the infield care center. “It is what it is. I don’t know what to say about it. Just running three-wide for a lap, lap and a half there. Just got squeezed up.”
While understandably disappointed, the two-time champion chalked up what happened to racing and moved on. And in the process, he taught Wallace an important lesson on how you respond after an incident, even when you feel like you’ve been wronged.
For the latest breaking news and information about NASCAR’s three national series, check out @kdsportswriter on Twitter.