F — It’s all a game, until it isn’t. Jonathan M. Gitlin – Apr 6, 2020 8:09 pm UTC Enlarge / When Bubba Wallace (top left, #43 car) got into a wreck with Clint Boyer (middle, #14 car) during an iRacing event on Sunday night, he rage-quit after respawning in the pit lane.As NASCAR turns…
It’s all a game, until it isn’t.
As NASCAR turns to esports as a way to continue racing in an age of social isolation, one up-and-coming driver has found out there are consequences for rage-quitting. Bubba Wallace, whose regular job is driving the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports car, was wrecked in a race held at a virtual Bristol Motor Speedway in iRacing. When his car respawned in the pitlane, Wallace told his Twitch stream “That’s it. That’s why I don’t take this shit seriously. Peace out,” as he quit the game instead of rejoining a lap or three down on the leaders.
Fans on Twitter weren’t shy of criticizing Wallace’s move, which is where things went quickly downhill. After Wallace made light of the fact that he “ruined so many peoples [sic] day by quiting.. [sic] a video game”, his major sponsor for the race, Blue Emu, quit him, replying to his tweet with the news that “We’re interested in drivers, not quitters.”
GTK where you stand. Bye bye Bubba. We’re interested in drivers, not quitters.
— Blue-Emu (@BlueEmu1) April 5, 2020
During our last visit to a NASCAR race, a visibly angry Wallace burned rubber in the paddock (and nearly sideswiped this writer) after being wrecked and having to retire early. As we’ve noted before, the sport is aiming to bring as much of a sense of normality as possible in its temporary switch to esports, and in that regard Wallace’s rage-quit seems par for the course. Only that time, it didn’t cost him a sponsor.