Race Weekend Central

Bubba Wallace Frustrated With Chicane Rules Following Playoff Elimination

CONCORD, N.C. — Up to this point, Bubba Wallace was having a remarkable NASCAR Cup Series playoffs by advancing to the Round of 12 when many said he and the No. 23 team wouldn’t even make the playoffs this year. However, following a 16th-place result on Sunday (Oct. 8) at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, his playoff hopes came to an end after he missed the cut by 17 points.

Wallace entered the ROVAL on the wrong side of the cut line, trailing Brad Keselowski by nine points for the final transfer spot into the Round of 8. Never known as the greatest road racer, the narrative surrounding Wallace entering the ROVAL was that he might be an easy out. That changed once cars hit the track for the first time Saturday morning.

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Wallace put down the fastest lap from either Saturday morning practice session, then followed that up with a fourth-place qualifying effort, making it very clear the No. 23 was going to be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday. 

Needing points, Wallace stayed on the race track at the end of both stage one and two to get stage points, passing up the opportunity to keep track position by short pitting before the end of the stage. Wallace gained nine stage points by virtue of a second-place result in the first stage, and gained another four points with a sixth-place result in the second.

From that point on, everything started to go south for Wallace. After restarting stage two deep in the field, Wallace struggled in traffic to pick his way back to the front like other frontrunners such as teammate Tyler Reddick

Later on in the final stage, Daniel Suarez made contact with Austin Cindric on a restart, which sent Cindric spinning into the backstretch chicane, and the No. 2 collected Wallace in the process. NASCAR then deemed that Wallace never came to a stop after missing the chicane, and that he had to make a stop on the front straightaway despite the wreck.

From that point on, it was an uphill battle for Wallace, and ultimately, a 16th-place result was not enough for Wallace to advance to the next round. When reflecting on the day, Wallace made sure to note of his own mistakes that contributed to the eventual elimination.

“I knew we had our work cut out for us,” Wallace said. “We gave up a lot of points last weekend. What I look at is the last restart at Texas, I look at how I put ourselves in a situation to get wrecked today, so I need to work on that and be better.”

Despite being eliminated, Wallace was still happy with the team’s performance overall, even if they didn’t get the results they were seeking. 

“Just a bummer,” said Wallace, “But a lot to be proud of, can actually focus on the positives out of here, qualified fourth, top of the board in practice, stage points, you know, so it’s a really good day. Hard to hang your head over that.”

Wallace was specifically frustrated with the incident on the backstretch and the rule in place that required him to stop on the front straightaway despite getting spun out by another car. When asked about it, Wallace voiced his displeasure toward the entire situation. 

“Honestly, it’s such a B.S. rule,” Wallace said. “I lost so much track position and I didn’t completely come to a stop, but I got blown through the chicane, so I thought I’d just keep my momentum up and get back going, fall back in line, and you can go race it out from there. But we had to stop on the frontstretch, and we’re the only series that does that ass backwards, so not surprised.”

When asked if it’s time to re-evaluate the rule, Wallace said, “They don’t care. They love the entertainment factor and screwing somebody else.” He later added, “I need to work on that, put ourselves in better spots to not get wrecked, I’m honestly surprised no one’s walked up and said sorry, that’s kind of bulls–t.”

Going forward, the main goal for Wallace in the final four races is simple: win. In the end, it was a solid effort for Wallace and the No. 23 team, and despite being eliminated, they still have plenty to hang their hat on. They made sure the world knew they were here, but ultimately will have to wait until next season to make it one step closer to a championship.

About the author

Chase began working with Frontstretch in the spring of 2023 as a news writer, while also helping fill in for other columns as needed. Chase is now the main writer and reporter for Frontstretch.com's CARS Tour coverage, a role which began late in 2023.  Aside from racing, some of Chase's other hobbies include time in the outdoors hunting and fishing, and keeping up with all things Philadelphia sports related.

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Michael

Bye bye Bubba race car drivers will race and since social media came into our lives NASCAR has dropped in popularity and your big part of that. My feelings are hey drive the damn car leave your short cumming at the gate. Oh real talent let’s driving do the talking. Express your talent in driving skills not you cry baby skills

DoninAjax

Really Bubba? The rule knocked you out? That’s your story?

Tom B

As much as Bubba is unlikable to me, he does have a point about that rule in his case.
Not only AJ had won the race but he gets the most obnoxious celebration award for the year. Act like you been there before AJ.

Bill B

Agree with you on AJ’s celebration. A little over the top for me.

Bill B

A rule is a rule. I don’t see any problem with it. You can’t gain an advantage by cutting the track, whether it’s your fault or not. Besides, he was well below the cut line before that happened.
He should be happy he made it to the second round. He barely made it into the playoffs, so if his expectations were that he was going to roll through to the finals, he was delusional. He showed great improvement this year, so that’s what he should be taking away from the year.

WJW Motorsports

Agreed. And I didn’t notice him committing any felonies on the track this year either, so that’s a step in the right direction too!

Bill B

LOL…. Amen!!!!

Brian

Any car that gets spun through one of these chicanes has lost advantage not gained any advantage what so ever. The rule does need to be looked at as in the case of Hamlin and Keselowski they just missed the chicanes or put themselves into position to miss it. A driver that has no control due to another’s mistake or action should not be penalized.
Nascar essentially is telling the drivers go ahead and spun the guy in front of you each time you get a the chicane so as long as you make the corners the driver you “wrecked” into missing it has to stop.
So yes the rule needs tweaking.Cars side by side same thing car on the left can just get pushed past the curbing to “miss” the chicane.

Bill B

Let’s just say if you run off the track there should be a wall there which would take care of the problem. At any other track you suffer the consequences of others around you, why should missing the turn on a road course be any different than having someone blow a tire on a restart. Thems the breaks.

Stuart

Simply because it IS a ROAD race not a oval! I agree with BUBBA! The rule should be looked at and tweeked! BUT, the rule in place should also be adheared to as well. If he had stopped, where could he have ended up instead of having to stop on the straight away?

Marc

It’s like the locking bumpers rule in Xfinity and Trucks on plate tracks. Safe in points and want to hurt a rival (or a teammate’s rival)? Lock bumpers and don’t back off. Just don’t discuss it over the radio. It will happen. Every team is pushing the limits or falling behind.

Johnny

They took away a legendary track Talladega in place of this trash of a road course, they could have did it in Pennsylvania and made that a road course or California so I do not watch the Roval

Pool Medic

Yo Johnny, Talladega was last week

Fed Up

Weekly PR from 23/Gibbs PR? Anything on the other non-qualifiers?

DoninAjax

Bubba should get Michael Jordan to campaign NA$CAR to go to the Mosport real road course. It is fast, it is scary and there are NO CHICANES!

Gough Jeff

Same rule for everyone else.

John

Wallace bitches about everything. Man up for a change. Bye, bye crybaby.

Jeremy

Is it any surprise? Look who he drives for!

I’d still rather see Bubba win than Denny.

DoninAjax

It’s not just Denny. It’s in the job description for Reverend Joe drivers. They pick their cheese with their whine.

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