A ragequit has Blue-Emu raging mad at Bubba Wallace.
The company pulled its sponsorship of Wallace and Richard Petty Motorsports after Wallace quit mid-race during Sunday’s (April 5) NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway.
Wallace was competing in the third iRacing event featuring drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series. But he left early on after a dustup with Clint Bowyer that left both drivers wrecked. Bowyer, who was serving as an in-race analyst for Fox Sports, clipped Wallace on the exit of turn 4. He then intentionally hit the Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet on the opposite side of the speedway in turn 2. Both crashed on the back straightaway but had resets that could make their cars good as new.
But a final incident came shortly thereafter. This contact, which also involved Chris Buescher and Chase Elliott, Bowyer admitted was done on purpose. However, the veteran insisted Wallace caused him to lose his cool with plenty of previous bumping.
Wallace was none too pleased about what happened and chose to abruptly quit the game.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) April 5, 2020
Wallace officially left on lap 11 of 150, earning him a last-place finish in the field of 32 cars. Shortly before disconnecting, Wallace exclaimed in a brief expletive-laden rant on Twitch, “Y’all have a good one. That’s it. That’s why I don’t take this (expletive) seriously.”
The 26-year-old later took to Twitter to further express his frustration. The anger caused his followers to believe that he “ragequit.”
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) April 5, 2020
Blue-Emu, who was sponsoring Wallace’s virtual entry, took note of his actions. The company, which has backed Wallace in his real racing efforts, has chosen to pull their financial support going forward. The company posted a message on their Twitter feed saying, “Bye-bye Bubba. We’re interested in drivers, not quitters.”
Executive Vice President of Blue-Emu Ben Blessing also expressed his displeasure with “ragequit.”
“I ain’t paying him a cent,” Blessing said. “We aren’t sponsoring Bubba anymore. Can you imagine if he did that on the real track?”
The company has not announced its NASCAR sponsorship plans going forward. Along with Wallace, Blue-Emu sponsored fellow iRacing entrant Landon Cassill at Bristol. The company also backed last weekend’s event at virtual Texas Motor Speedway.
While Blessing remained irked at Wallace, he praised Cassill.
“Landon has been a real pro,” he said. “He’s been practicing six to eight hours a day with our brand in the background.”
In addition to the Cassill sponsorship, Blue-Emu also has a personal deal with retired driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace. The company also had a contract with Wallace’s team owner Richard Petty, but mutually agreed to end the relationship in 2015 after a sponsorship conflict.