NASCAR: Bubba Wallace ‘middle finger’ theory shot down

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, North Wilkesboro, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, North Wilkesboro, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Bubba Wallace flipped the bird before his post-race interview following the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Following his second place finish in Sunday evening’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace was about to be interviewed by Fox Sports’ Jamie Little in the pits when he flipped the bird on camera as he appeared to be adjusting his firesuit.

Of course, that set off a social media firestorm, as you might expect. The fact that it was the polarizing Wallace, of all drivers, who did it only created that much more backlash.

There had been talks on social media of somebody hacking into Wallace’s radio and making derogatory comments, and recordings of those comments served as evidence to back up the speculation. The comments were not “made up” like some suggested they might be, citing past instances of overblown drama.

The comments included “Go back to where you came from you a–hole” and “You’re not wanted in NASCAR.”

So naturally, people began to jump to conclusions, which is ironic given how that lesson should have been learned a few years ago.

People suggested that the driver of the No. 23 Toyota flipped the bird in response to these derogatory comments, while others attempted to justify the comments because of Wallace’s gesture.

But as it always does, context matters, and as it turns out, the situations were isolated. According to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass, NASCAR understands that Wallace was gesturing to a friend and won’t be penalized.

Additionally, we have seen instances of drivers flipping the bird before and going unpunished, so there is precedent for Wallace to be let off with just a slap on the wrist for the “inappropriate” gesture.

Having said that, there is still an investigation surrounding the derogatory comments. But Wallace would not have heard the comments on the radio firsthand, as he had reportedly already unhooked his radio when the breach occurred.

Wallace was, however, booed during driver introductions. But as he usually does, he embraced it and moved forward.

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Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that a fan has managed to tap into a team radio, nor is it the first time that Wallace has been a target of derogatory remarks. Whether or not anything comes as a result of the ongoing investigation remains to be seen.