Aric Almirola Suspended For Physical Altercation With Bubba Wallace

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Aric Almirola Suspended For Physical Altercation With Bubba Wallace

Post by HiddenHollow »

A physical altercation between Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace is the reason why Joe Gibbs Racing removed Almirola as driver of its No. 20 car for the May 25 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, then subsequently indefinitely suspended him, multiple industry sources briefed on the matter told The Athletic.

The altercation occurred early in the week leading into the Charlotte race during a weekly competition meeting that includes both the drivers of JGR and 23XI Racing — Toyota supports both teams, and they have a close technical alliance.

The exact reason for the dispute is unknown, but those sources said the team viewed Almirola as the instigator. The decision was then made to suspend Almirola for the Charlotte race for which he had been originally listed as the driver of the No. 20 car.

On May 22, JGR removed Almirola from the entry list and replaced him with Ty Gibbs, the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs. JGR did not disclose a reason for the change.

Ty Gibbs said during the Charlotte race weekend he found out Wednesday of race week that he’d be racing that Saturday. When The Athletic asked Joe Gibbs following the Charlotte race why his grandson was driving and not Almirola, Gibbs said it was a “team decision.”

Almirola’s suspension is set to be lifted soon. He is expected to return to the team for the July 20 Xfinity race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to sources briefed on the team’s plans.

Almirola returned to JGR’s Xfinity program this offseason after the past dozen years competing full-time for various teams in the Cup Series, where he amassed three wins in 460 career starts. Almirola previously drove for JGR in Xfinity across parts of two seasons (2006-07). He was brought back to the team to serve as a mentor to JGR’s bevy of young drivers.

Almirola has driven for JGR in five Xfinity races during the 2024 season, with a best finish of first (Martinsville). Gibbs drove the car to a ninth-place finish at Charlotte after setting the fastest time in qualifying.

Christopher Bell most recently drove the No. 20 car, winning last Saturday’s Xfinity race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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