NASCAR 2023: Bubba Wallace Upset; Pilots Get No Breaks At COTA; Jimmie Johnson’s Day Ends On Lap 1

bubba wallace upset at cota race 23 (1)

NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace couldn’t make one of the turns. Coming upon one of the sharp turns at Circuit of The Americas, Wallace failed to break properly. He collided with the cars of Kyle Larson and Erik Jones, ending his day. 

After exiting his No. 23 Toyota early during Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix, Wallace was visibly frustrated with himself. 

A team member leaned over and patted the veteran on his back as he stood next to the damaged racer. The soothing gesture didn’t help much. As Wallace started to walk away, he slammed the hood of the machine with his clenched fist. 

Fox Sports caught up with Wallace a short time later. 

He was still upset.  

At himself. 

“Just trying my hardest not to go down the slippery slope of self-doubt right here,” he said. “Two weeks in a row making rookie mistakes.” 

During the Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway last Sunday, Wallace placed 27th after losing control of his Toyota. It spun out and crashed into the wall on Lap 10. 

Wallace opened the season with consecutive DNFs, suffering a crash at Daytona and engine problems at Fontana. He rebounded with a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas, but has led just five laps this season. 

Wallace shaded his future with 23XI Racing. 

“Need to be replaced,” he said, abruptly ending the interview. 

Pilots Get No Stage Breaks At COTA 

For the first time in seven seasons, NASCAR race officials did not include stage breaks for Sunday’s event at COTA. 

Without the two predetermined stops, race teams will have to recalculate their pit-stop strategy. Stage points for the top 10 finishers will be awarded, but the action will not pause on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile track.

Driver Austin Cindric predicted some of his peers will struggle to handle the old-school style of racing. 

“Someone is going to fall out of the seat,” Cindric said, as reported by “That’s my prediction for the weekend. I can tell you it’s not going to be me, but I think it’s more possible this weekend than any other weekend.”

William Byron captured Stage 1 and Tyler Reddick won Stage 2 and both kept on going.

7-Time Champ Jimmie Johnson Suffers 1-Lap DNF

In his first two starts since coming out of retirement, Jimmie Johnson has endured a bumpy road.  

The seven-time Cup points champion placed 31st during the season-opening Daytona 500 and “sadly, we didn’t take one lap under green” during Sunday’s road course event in Austin, Texas. 

In his rookie season as co-owner/driver Johnson was involved in a multi-car crash at the end of the first rotation. Ty Dillon also retired. 

The mele started with Brad Keselowski spinning out. RFK Racing teammate Chris Buescher touched the left rear of Dillon’s machine, which spun out of control and into Johnson. 

“It’s really disappointing,” Johnson told Fox Sports. “It’s part of it. Those things can happen.”

Arrow to top