With real-life race events canceled, drivers have taken their talents to esports and unsurprisingly, the usual conflicts have followed. On Sunday during the Food City Showdown from Bristol Motor Speedway in a race that was airing on Fox, Bubba Wallace and Clint Bowyer got together on lap 11, spinning Bowyer out and putting Wallace’s car in the wall.
Yeahhhhh. Car high homie. Still there still there https://t.co/qN73mdB39S
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) April 5, 2020
Wallace was so frustrated that he quit the race on the spot — not an entirely unusual response even in real-life racing, Kyle Busch ended a race early last year during the playoffs — and later tweeted “I ruined so many peoples day by quiting (sic)..a video game.. Bahaha. A video game. Damn quarantine life is rough.”
Still, even though it was just a game, Wallace’s real-life sponsor was not amused at the withdrawal, saying he was fired and tweeting “We're interested in drivers, not quitters.” Tonight Wallace took part in another race, the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge, and his car wore the US Air Force recruiting colors.
Sure was cool to see the virtual @USAFRecruiting Warthog flying around @RockinghamSpeed!
P4 finish for @BubbaWallace in tonight’s short track challenge 🦈@NASCARonNBC #AimHigh pic.twitter.com/aVSsNNj7cg
— Richard Petty Motorsports (@RPMotorsports) April 6, 2020
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) April 6, 2020
Update (4/11): Wallace appears to have landed on his feet after the incident, racing again from the Fox studio later this week with a new sponsor, Sunoco, and joking with Bowyer who blamed shoddy spotters for the on-track incident.