Altercation Between Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace, Forces Joe Gibbs’ Hand

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - APRIL 06: Aric Almirola, driver of the #20 He Gets Us Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series DUDE Wipes 250 at Martinsville Speedway on April 06, 2024 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Racing in NASCAR puts all kinds of pressure on drivers. So sometimes things can get heated even with teammates. A heated altercation between a pair of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers is making waves in the garage. That appears to be what happened between Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace in late May.

For several drivers, Joe Gibbs Racing has long fielded cars in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Most of the time the car is for their full-time Cup drivers.

Almirola a three-time race winner in the NASCAR Cup Series stepped away from full-time Cup racing and has since rejoined JGR, the team that gave him a chance many years ago. He has been behind the wheel of their No. 20 Toyota several times this season including a win at Martinsville earlier this year.

Altercation Between Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace, Forces Joe Gibbs’ Hand

Almirola hasn’t been seen at the race track as of late. Fans were puzzled as to why Almirola who was removed from the May 25th race at Charlotte. Rumors began swirling over the last several weeks, and many of them weren’t good.

Those rumors entailed that Almirola and Wallace had a heated altercation during a team meeting. Those rumors included that Wallace had said something about Almirola’s family and it led Aric to throw hands at Wallace. Many fans began speculating that Almirola was fired.

Jordan Bianchi from The Athletic cleared the air this week, confirming that an altercation between Almirola and Wallace did occur. The incident led to Joe Gibbs Racing suspending Almirola indefinitely for being the aggressor in the confrontation.

The alleged incident occurred before the Charlotte race weekend and team owner Joe Gibbs quickly replaced Almirola with his grandson Ty Gibbs for that weekend’s Xfinity Series race. Nothing is clear as to the specifics of the altercation, and JGR has yet to officially address the report by Bianchi. It certainly isn’t a good situation for anyone involved.

Not The First Incident

Then again Almirola and Wallace have an iffy history as it is. The pair initially were tied together, when Almirola got hurt in 2017 at Kansas Speedway.  Bubba was tabbed to drive the No.43 while Almirola recovered from a back injury.

That relationship certainly soured since then as the pair had a major argument during last season’s Coca-Cola 600. Almirola and Wallace were seen getting in a shoving match on pit road during a rain delay. Almirola seemed to take issue with Wallace claiming he kept flipping him off while they were battling for position during the race.

The incident is easily viewable on’s YouTube channel.

At the time, Almirola also claimed that all Wallace was doing at the time was “mouthing off and cussing at me.” Wallace later responded with a simple response calling Almirola ‘two-faced’. It’s very clear that Almirola and Wallace have issues with each other, but it isn’t clear what caused the altercation in the team meeting.

What’s Next

It isn’t clear what is next for either driver, but JGR has made it clear that Almirola will return for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis on July 20th. As for Wallace told Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass that he denied the rumor that the pair got in a fight.

“No, we’ve had our disagreements before, but damn, that’s crazy,” Wallace said.

It’s clear JGR held Almirola responsible and he was rightfully suspended, hopefully, nothing else happens between the pair. Wallace has a lot more to lose given he is a full-time Cup driver fighting to get his No. 23 Toyota into the Cup Series playoffs for the second straight year.

Wallace doesn’t need the drama, and frankly neither does Almirola.


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