Since its NASCAR Cup Series date moved away from Labor Day Weekend after the 2014 season, the variable of warmer temperatures has been less of a factor at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But, as Bubba Wallace discovered, the dangers of heat exhaustion can still rear their ugly head down in Georgia.
A rescheduled event from March to June put those conditions front and center in Sunday’s (June 7) Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. While the average high temperature on March 15, in Hampton, Ga., is 66 degrees, according to Accuweather.com, the average high on June 7, the date of Sunday’s race is 84 degrees. It’s an adjustment of 20 degrees to go along with the late-spring high humidity.
After the race, both Wallace and Ryan Newman were showing signs of physical fatigue after getting out of their cars. Wallace nearly fainted after getting out of his car and then, during a live post-race interview with FOX Sports, nearly did so again.
Scary moment during a live post race interview…
After finishing 22nd @amsupdates, @BubbaWallace seemed to have some apparent heat related issues. According to the @NASCARONFOX broadcast, he is ok, but being attended to by medical personnel.@FOX5Sports pic.twitter.com/J6CM1iryrW
— Buck Lanford (@BuckFOX5) June 7, 2020
Wallace was later treated and released for post-race exhaustion in the infield care center.
— Richard Petty Motorsports (@RPMotorsports) June 8, 2020
Glad to hear @BubbaWallace is ok. Been there before, those hot hot days are excruciatingly tough. Anyone who says drivers aren’t athletes, I’d like to see you to 500 miles in a 140 degree oven of a cockpit at 200mph 😮
— Matt Tifft (@matt_tifft) June 7, 2020
Wallace and Newman weren’t the only ones under the weather. Josh Bilicki, who drove for Premium Motorsports at Atlanta, also suffered from some sort of heat exhaustion.
Got sent to the Gulag..
Where we dropping.
Aka I’m good.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 8, 2020
Started getting a bit overheated with about 50 to go. Figured a trip to the infield care center was the best option. Glad I did! Feel great now. Now for the real race. 800+ miles back home to WI 🤪 https://t.co/ItNoptPV6j
— Josh Bilicki (@joshbilicki) June 8, 2020
Newman wound up 14th in a race won by Kevin Harvick. Wallace was 21st while Bilicki ended up 34th.