Wallace has few regrets over splashing Bowman
Bubba Wallace has few regrets over his splashand-go incident with Alex Bowman.
Wallace met with NASCAR officials on Thursday in the wake of tossing his drink at Bowman after the race ended last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Wallace said his frustration stemmed from previous run-ins with Bowman on the track and again early in the race on the Charlotte Roval. Wallace, who drives for Richard Petty Racing, was not punished.
“I’d been run over multiple times by that car and I’d had enough,” Wallace said Saturday at Dover.
Bowman desperately tried to avoid elimination from the playoffs last week at Charlotte. He wrecked his fast car in the closing minute of the final practice session, spun on the opening lap, and deliberately spun Wallace because he didn’t like Wallace flipping him the bird.
On a day with scorching temperatures, Bowman climbed from his car and slumped to the ground, dehydrated and overcome by the heat. Wallace found him sitting next to his car, surrounded by NASCAR’s medical director and Jeff Gordon, and angrily splashed liquid in Bowman’s face after a brief verbal exchange. Gordon and the medical director were splashed.
“I regret getting the medical staff, Jeff Gordon, (and others), getting them involved, getting them soaked,” Wallace said.
Wallace said he texted Gordon hours after the incident and eventually the other bystanders.
“If he was just sitting down trying to catch his breath and no one was around, he would have been OK,” Wallace said. “I agree with the fans. Bringing Jeff Gordon (and others) involved, that’s where we crossed the line there. It could have been handled at a different time. Emotions run high.”
Bowman finished second in the race to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
“I understand it. People are mad inside and outside the race car,” Bowman said. “I didn’t think it was as big of deal as everybody made it out to be.”
Bowman said he hasn’t talked with Wallace about the incident and downplayed any potential for retaliation on the track.
But it was good for a laugh at Dover: Corey LaJoie playfully tossed water on Bowman during a media scrum.
HAMLIN WINS DOVER POLE:
Denny Hamlin turned a lap of 166.984 mph at Dover to start the second round of the playoffs on the pole.
Hamlin will lead the field to green in his 500th career NASCAR Cup Series start. He has never won on the mile concrete track in 27 races dating to 2006. He has only four top-five finishes, did not finish four times and his average finish is just 17.5. He finished 21st in the No. 11 Toyota in the May race at Dover.