NASCAR's Bubba Wallace quits iRacing series midrace, sponsor pulls support

Wallace quit after another driver appeared to deliberately wreck his car.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Bubba Wallace's eNASCAR Series race car

It's not a great look for everyone involved.

Bubba Wallace/Twitter

As the world yearns for real-life motorsport, esports have surged in prominence, and NASCAR is perhaps leading the charge with its eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series.

These are real race car drivers taking to virtual versions of well known race tracks, and sponsors continue to pony up monetarily to get their due airtime. After huge viewership of the digital series last month, Fox agreed to air the entire series across its broadcast networks. This past weekend's race, however, played host to some immature behavior.

The incident involved Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. and Clint Bowyer on a virtual Bristol Motor Speedway. After a move by Bowyer pushed Wallace into the wall, Wallace was clearly upset -- do note there's adult language in the video below.

After Bowyer rejoins the track, he appears to purposefully crash into Wallace, sending his car to the pits. But immediately, Wallace decides to call it quits and tells viewers to "have a good one" before adding this type of incident is why he doesn't "take this shit seriously."

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That didn't sit well with sponsor Blue-Emu, which agreed to sponsor Wallace and the iRacing-based series race this past Sunday. 

"Bubba's actions were disrespectful to iRacing, NASCAR and especially their fans. That's why Blue-Emu discontinued his sponsorship," said Ben Blessing, Blue-Emu's executive vice president. "We look forward to continuing our partnership with Landon Cassill, iRacing and NASCAR. We are friends of RPM and Bubba but we are not long-term partners, this was a small iRacing deal and has no direct impact on RPM as a team."

The situation continued to unfold on a separate digital platform: Twitter. Wallace tweeted about the incident and joked he "ruined so many peoples day by quitting a video game." He added, "Damn quarantine life is rough."

Blue-Emu's official Twitter account first responded with a gif of President Trump delivering his famed "You're fired" line from The Apprentice before saying, "(Good to know) where you stand. Bye bye Bubba. We're interested in drivers, not quitters."

As for Bowyer, he didn't have much to say about the situation and only tweeted once about the incident, saying, "Maybe this shit is more real than I originally thought. One guy leaves happy everyone else leaving Bristol Motor Speedway pissed off."

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