Race Weekend Central

Bubba Wallace Tangles with Aric Almirola, Surges to 4th

Bubba Wallace came into 2023 with just six career NASCAR Cup Series top-five finishes on non-superspeedways. On Monday, May 29, he scored his third of the season, finishing fourth in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

And boy, did he earn it.

Wallace restarted outside the top 10 on the final restart with just 20 laps to go and picked off his opponents one at a time in a 20-lap surge to an impressive fourth-place finish.

See also
Ryan Blaney Snaps Winless Streak With Coca-Cola 600 Victory

“You just go where they’re not,” Wallace told Frontstretch post-race. “It sounds easy, but it’s super hard because you’re trying to find the cleanest air possible.”

Wallace hadn’t spent that much time near the front and was in no way a factor for the win. Prior to the rain delay, he found himself fighting with Aric Almirola for position, which wasn’t the best scenario for Wallace, as Almirola, as well as every other Stewart-Haas Racing car, was on a backslide to the point where none of them were inside the top-30 at one point.

When the race was red-flagged for rain, Wallace and Almirola got into a heated argument, with the latter shoving Wallace aggressively before the two were separated.

“Just frustrated with how we raced each other in stage two of the Coca-Cola 600,” Wallace told FOX Sports after the race.

Wallace later added, “When you walk around with two faces, that’s what you get.”

“I felt like he ran me all over the racetrack, and when he got by me, he shot me the bird,” Almirola told Frontstretch post-race. “So I just went to ask him why he shot me the bird. I felt like I gave him a lot of room and gave him a lot of respect, and he started mouthing off and saying a lot of bad things and cussing at me after he shot me the bird.”

When asked if everything was settled, Almirola added, “I got my point across. I let him know that it’s not acceptable. He’s not going to cuss at me and shoot me the bird.”

There was no further incident between the two when the race resumed, but Wallace struggled to find consistency throughout the race. However, with two lap fresher tires and a 20-lap sprint to the finish, the No. 23 charged to the front and even passed teammate Tyler Reddick, who had spent considerable time trading the lead with eventual race winner Ryan Blaney, to take home another top five.

With another great finish for the No. 23 team, Wallace feels that his first win of the season is just around the corner.

“We still got a lot of work to do,” Wallace said. “We continue to throw our name in the hat, and we’re there. We’re becoming a factor.”

Despite that, Wallace is just as elated that his best friend Blaney snapped a 59-race winless streak to reach victory lane, he told Performance Racing Network.

“How about Blaney? About time!”

About the author

Frontstretch.com

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. 

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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Hogs&Horsepower

Big difference between 21-22 and this year is that the #23 team would’ve fallen back to 25th on their bad stop or penalty today and stayed there. They fought back and put themselves in a position to get a great finish. Bubba was a wheelman on that restart, from 17th to 4th in 20 laps. Congrats to YRB as well, he’s a class act. Knew that win was coming!

DoninAjax

Bubba spent the whole event between 16 and the mid twenties losing positions the longer the run until a bunch of cautions at the end gave him the opportunity for a good finish. It’s not the first time. It’s too bad he ran out of nitrous before he could catch Blaney.

Echo

Bubba waits for those cautions at the end. If he is really the great driver he thinks he is then he wouldn’t be racing mid pack for 580 miles miles.

Hogs&Horsepower

He’s usually racing mid pack because his pit crew has a slow stop or a penalty, which happened several times last night. Got boxed in behind the #48, equipment interference penalty, and a second stop to tighten a lugnut. Get a brain, dude, he restarted 17th and drove his way up to 4th. Keep crying and making excuses, if that’s cool with you, though.

DoninAjax

Bubba got a free pass!

Theo Jazz

?

DoninAjax

When a caution flag comes out the first car one or more laps down is allowed to pass the pace car and gain a lap back. It’s a free pass. Bubba has a lot of them. As do the 15, 51, 77 and 78. The 78 got the free pass each of the first two cautions in Charlotte.

Echo

You need to pay attention to how people get to where they finish. No crying or excuses, facts speak for themselves.

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