NASCAR driver loses sponsorship after rage-quitting iRacing event
NASCAR in mid-March postponed all upcoming races through May 3 amid the Covid-19 outbreak. In lieu of actual racing, Fox, iRacing and NASCAR teamed up to air the iRacing Pro Invitational Series, putting pro drivers behind the wheel of virtual rigs to compete in video game racing.
Professional stock car driver Bubba Wallace is topping headlines this week after unceremoniously bowing out of Sunday’s iRacing Pro Invitational Series.
Wallace, one of 32 drivers competing in the Food City Showdown at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, got into a dust-up with fellow driver Clint Bowyer shortly after the race started. On lap 11, Bowyer bumped into Wallace as they were coming out of a turn. Seemingly thinking it was Wallace’s fault, Bowyer retaliated and intentionally smashed his car into Wallace, running him into the wall and dragging others into the mess.
Both drivers seemed a bit peeved about the incident but Wallace took it a step further, dropped a profanity before rage-quitting the game.
It’s the sort of behavior that you witness all the time in the gaming world but when professionals are competing for a national audience, I guess you sort of expect a bit more professionalism. And so, too, did one of Wallace’s sponsors.
Blue-Emu, who sponsored Wallace for the race, didn’t care for the fact that Wallace wasn’t able to keep his composure under pressure and publicly dropped his sponsorship. It’s significant because Blue-Emu also sponsored one of Wallace’s real-world races last year and recently signed a multi-year agreement as an official NASCAR partner.