ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Bubba Wallace says the pointed criticism he leveled at his crew members last weekend was a result of his passion for winning and shouldn’t hurt his relationship with them.

“We have a team that can win, cars that can win,” Wallace said as he prepared for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Road America. “It just creates passion.”

This passion was exposed last weekend in Nashville.

Wallace was in sixth place on Sunday when a loose wheel during a pit stop sent him to the back of the field and caused him to insult his crew. The problem caused him to restart in 31st place before finishing 12th.

The 23XI Racing driver was eager to put the incident in the past on Saturday. He said one of his passions is to “make it feel like we’re one team and one family.”

Wallace will start in 25th place on Sunday as the Cup Series comes to Road America for the second straight Fourth of July weekend. Points leader Chase Elliott won at Road America last year and holds pole position this time around.

Wallace said his crew members understand the kinds of comments that can be made in the heat of competition. He said he had a great relationship with team manager Bootie Barker, who tried to calm him down in Nashville.

“The team still has a great relationship,” Wallace said. “Not everyone will be happy in a sport like this and in a business like this. You just have to work to do your best. I will do better and I will be better.

Wallace finished second in the Daytona 500 this year, but has only one other top-10 finish and is 24th in the points standings. Nashville’s situation wasn’t the first time this season he’s been hampered by a loose wheel.

He was asked on Saturday if he regretted his remarks on Sunday.

“I don’t really have a lot of regrets in life,” Wallace said. “I said what I said. If I say I’m sorry, will that make anything better? People are still (checked). That’s how it is. Pass. I evolved .

THE FUTURE OF ROAD AMERICA

NASCAR’s premier series came to Road America for the first time since 1956 last year as part of the programme’s renewed emphasis on road journeys. This is the second straight summer that the Cup Series has been here for the July 4 weekend.

But there is no guarantee that it will be a long-term marriage. NASCAR has not yet announced whether the Cup Series will return to Road America next year.

“We hope to be part of it, but at the end of the day, the ball is in their court,” said Road America President/CEO Mike Kertscher.

Road America, which opened in 1955 and bills itself as America’s national speed park, is located on 640 acres midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay. The course is surrounded by approximately 1,600 campsites and has a sprawling layout that allows fans to walk around and view the race from different vantage points.

Although most drivers didn’t express an opinion on whether they thought Road America should become an annual 4th of July stopover for the Cup series, they did say how much they liked that this site was included. in the calendar.

“I don’t know how long NASCAR plans to be here this weekend, but I feel like it’s really good for us,” Elliott said. “People here really accepted us with open arms and brought a lot of energy.”

KING OF THE ROAD

Elliott won at Road America last year despite starting 34th. He has pole for his title defense as he tries to build on his victory last weekend on the concrete oval track in Nashville.

Seven of Elliott’s 15 career wins have come on road courses. He won at Road America last year starting 34th.

A victory on Sunday would allow Elliott to tie Tony Stewart for second place with eight career road wins. Jeff Gordon had a record nine road course victories.

TIPS

Elliott enters Sunday with a 30-point lead over Ross Chastain in the standings. … The list of spectators at Road America this weekend includes former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat, who was unable to race this year on the European circuit due to the ban on Russian drivers since the Russian invasion from Ukraine. … This is the third road course Cup Series race of the season. Chastain won at Circuit of the Americas and Daniel Suarez finished first at Sonoma. … The Road America course is 4,048 miles long and has 14 turns. Sunday’s race features 62 laps and a distance of 250.98 miles.


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