Bell says Wallace apologized on flight home from Las Vegas

Oct 18, 2022, 8:18 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2022, 8:32 am
Bubba Wallace, center right, shoves Kyle Larson (5) after they crashed during a NASCAR Cup Series a...

Bubba Wallace, center right, shoves Kyle Larson (5) after they crashed during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

(Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Bubba Wallace and Christopher Bell shared a flight home from Las Vegas, and Wallace apologized during the trip to his fellow Toyota teammate for the incident that crippled Bell’s championship chances.

Bell said Wallace also apologized to the entire Toyota group in the Monday competition meeting. Wallace has been suspended one race by NASCAR for a dangerous act of retaliation that inadvertently collected Bell.

“We actually flew home together on Sunday night and he did apologize Sunday, and then he addressed our entire group on Monday and the competition meeting,” Bell said Wednesday. “He just apologized for what went down and the fact that we got taken out is unfortunate circumstances.”

Wallace has been suspended for Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for deliberately retaliating against reigning NASCAR champion Kyle Larson at Las Vegas. Wallace hooked Larson in the rear corner of his car to spin him directly into traffic, where Larson drilled Bell and ended Bell’s race.

Bell drives for Joe Gibbs Racing and Wallace drives for 23XI Racing, which is co-owned by JGR driver Denny Hamlin. The two teams have an alliance, and Toyota demands its teams work together.

Bell and Hamlin are the only two Toyota drivers still eligible to qualify for next month’s winner-take-all championship finale, and Bell is now ranked last in the eight-driver field.

There are four slots in the championship finale and Joey Logano claimed the first spot for Team Penske and Ford with his win Sunday at Las Vegas. But the entire opening race of the third round of NASCAR’s playoffs has been overshadowed by Wallace, who lost his cool when he and Larson were racing for position and neither would give an inch of room.

Larson ended up running Wallace into the wall, and Wallace immediately retaliated by chasing Larson down the track and hooking him back into traffic. By hitting the passing car of Bell, Larson’s trajectory was stopped before he slammed directly into the wall.

Wallace then had a shoving match with Larson after the crash and also pushed away a NASCAR official. The suspension handed down Tuesday falls under NASCAR’s behavioral policy and technically covers most of Wallace’s actions at Las Vegas.

But Steve O’Donnell, the executive in charge of competition and racing operations, said the penalties were for Wallace’s dangerous and deliberate retaliation against Larson, not the fracas a few moments later. O’Donnell said Wallace’s hooking of Larson was “really a dangerous act that we thought was intentional and put other competitors at risk.”

Kevin Harvick, one of the most outspoken drivers on safety issues of late, condemned Wallace’s retaliation.

“Intentionally hooking people in the (right rear) should never be acceptable,” Harvick posted on social media. “Protect us from ourselves. I hope this is the beginning of the end of it happening.”

Wallace is the first driver suspended for on-track actions since Matt Kenseth was suspended two races in 2015 for returning his wrecked car to the track to deliberately crash Logano at Martinsville.


More AP auto racing: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano speaks during the NASCAR Championship media day, Thursd...
Associated Press

Logano celebates 2nd NASCAR Cup title already wanting 3rd

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Joey Logano has a simple target for the future even as he celebrates his 2022 NASCAR Cup championship. Add yet another. Logano this season joined Kyle Busch as the only active NASCAR drivers with multiple Cup series titles, adding to the first Cup championship he won in 2018. Being the only […]
15 hours ago
Japan's Ritsu Doan celebrates scoring his side's first goal during a World Cup group E soccer match...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: World Cup highlights from Day 12

Highlights from the 12th day of the World Cup in Qatar on Thursday. ___ AP World Cup coverage: and Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2 days ago
Germany's Serge Gnabry scores his side's opening goal during the World Cup group E soccer match bet...
Associated Press

Germany out of World Cup despite 4-2 win over Costa Rica

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Germany was eliminated from the group stage of the World Cup for the second tournament in a row. The four-time champions beat Costa Rica 4-2 Thursday but it wasn’t enough to reach the round of 16. Japan’s 2-1 victory over Spain in the other group game allowed both of those […]
2 days ago
Japan's Ao Tanaka, second right, heads the ball to score his side's second goal during the World Cu...
Associated Press

Japan beats Spain 2-1 as both teams advance at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Same stadium. Same result. Similar shocking victory for Japan at the World Cup. After beating Germany in the team’s opener, Japan worked its way into the round of 16 of the World Cup on Thursday by defeating Spain 2-1 — the same score as last week. Spain also advanced despite the […]
2 days ago
Morocco fans attend the World Cup group F soccer match between Canada and Morocco at the Al Thumama...
Associated Press

Arabs unite in celebration as Morocco advances in World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — First Qatar was out, exiting the World Cup with the worst record of a host country. Then the Saudi national team’s run ended, despite a historic upset against Argentina last week. Finally Tunisia was eliminated, after a dramatic victory against already-qualified France. Now, at the first World Cup ever to be […]
2 days ago
FILE - NASCAR Xfinity Series auto racing driver Ty Gibbs speaks during the NASCAR Championship medi...
Associated Press

Ty Gibbs declines to discuss sudden death of his father

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ty Gibbs on Thursday declined to discuss the death of his father, which occurred just hours after the young NASCAR driver clinched the Xfinity Series championship last month. Gibbs was asked about his grandfather, Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, telling the employees at Joe Gibbs Racing they all had to move […]
2 days ago
Bell says Wallace apologized on flight home from Las Vegas