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Bubba Wallace: ‘They Don’t Want Me to Get Into Details’ About Almirola Altercation

Bubba Wallace Aric Almirola altercation what happened? 2024 Nashville NASCAR Cup Series

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett, LAT Images for Toyota Racing

Bubba Wallace had a chance to address the recent reports that a confrontation between he and Aric Almirola at a Toyota Racing competition meeting led to an internal suspension for Almirola at Joe Gibbs Racing heading into the NASCAR race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a suspension that will be lifted heading into Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Wallace opted to not go into detail about what happened, and said that it’s best to keep, “Some people’s images good,” you would imagine he is referring to Almirola.

“They don’t want me to get into details. It keeps some people’s images good. I think I said enough at Charlotte last year,” Wallace explained.

What Wallace is referencing from Charlotte last year is an altercation between the two drivers that took place under a red-flag for weather during the Coca-Cola 600. Almirola shoved Wallace.

Last year, when asked about that ordeal, Wallace called Almirola, “Two faced.”

According to a report from Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic earlier this week, Almirola was determined to be in instigator in the altercation between the two drivers, which is why he began serving a suspension for the altercation.

Wallace says that he is past the most recent situation with Almirola, as it is now a month in his rearview mirror. Now, he’s focused on the upcoming birth of his first child off the track, and focused on working his way back inside the Playoff Cutline on the track.

“All-in-all life is good for me. That shit happened over a month ago,” Wallace stated. “And a lot of good is coming my way, and that is what I’m focused on. Focused on getting our stuff turned back around. And off the race track, I’m focused on my wife and baby boy that’s growing and growing. That’s all you can really ask for. Things are good for me off track, not so much on track. That’s what we’re focused on right now.”

In his media scrum, Wallace, who enters the weekend 13 points outside of the Playoffs cutline, was asked if he felt he could point his way into the Playoffs like he did a year ago. Wallace went on the defensive with that line of questioning.

“I’m only [13 points] back, sounds like you don’t think I can do it,” Wallace jabbed back at the reporter who asked the question. “Sounds like you don’t have confidence in me, are you confirming that?”

Wallace would then begin to laugh to ease the tension, and said had it not been for getting swept up in a crash at the hands of Noah Gragson a week ago, he’d still be inside the Playoff cutline.

“I mean look, eight races left. One bad race last weekend took us out thanks to ole Gragson. But we just gotta throw that behind us and focus on tomorrow.”

Wallace would go on to explain that he and Gragson have talked following their incident on track last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and the two drivers are, “good,” Wallace even said Gragson sounded overly sympathetic in his apology phone call.

“He sounded like he was about ready to cry. I don’t know. Playing a good face,” Wallace smirked.

Now, the task at hand for the 30-year-old Wallace is maximizing his points total in Sunday’s Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway, a track that he has yet to record a top-10 finish at over his three previous starts at.

Wallace will try to check off that achievement on Sunday from the 24th starting spot. And while his past finishes at the track aren’t much to write home about, and his qualifying position is less than stellar, Wallace feels he and his No. 23 23XI Racing team could turn some heads on Sunday if they can simply minimize mistakes.

“We’ve been really good here, but we haven’t had a green race here though,” Wallace explained. “That’s what we’re focused on. That’s what we’ve said a lot this week. Having a green race here, showing up with speed. Didn’t get the good qualifying draw, but it is what it is. We didn’t crash, we learned a lot about the car in practice, that’s what we’re focused on.”

If Wallace can get a top-10 finish on Sunday, it’ll be a much-needed one. The Alabama-native started off the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season by firing on all cylinders with top-five finishes in the opening two races of the season. He then collected a fourth-place run at Martinsville, and a seventh-place result at Texas, which placed him ninth in the championship standings after the ninth race of the year.

It’s been a free-fall ever since.

In his last nine starts, Wallace has just one top-10 finish, a seventh-place run at Darlington Raceway, and he’s dropped outside of the Playoffs cutline. But if he can get a complete race in on Sunday at Nashville, perhaps that’ll provide the spark that he, Bootie Barker, and the No. 23 team need to turn things around.

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