Bubba Wallace’s car failed inspection twice for Sunday’s Daytona 500 and had to start at the back of the field.
Greg Emmer, the car chief for 23XI Racing, was ejected as punishment. The No. 23 Toyota passed inspection on the third attempt.
Wallace drives a new entry owned by NBA great Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin. He had been slated to start “The Great American Race” in the third row. Instead, Wallace was one of 10 drivers who had to drop to the back of the pack during pace laps.
Nine others already lost their starting spots because of modifications made after NASCAR’s twin 150-mile qualifying races Thursday. Former Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and front-row qualifier William Byron switched to backup cars because of wrecks. It was the same case for Chase Briscoe, Kaz Grala, Anthony Alfredo, Cole Custer and Ross Chastain.
Martin Truex Jr.’s team had to change a radiator and oil cooler. Erik Jones’ team changed an engine.
Fourteen laps into the Daytona 500, Aric Almirola turned into pole-winner Alex Bowman and started a 16-car pileup. Minutes later, the race was stopped by lightning and fans who had been socially distanced in the grandstands instead had to seek shelter in the crowded concourse. Heavy rain followed, shutting down the race for a delay that lasted nearly six hours.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.