Bootie Barke, the 23XI Racing crew chief, along with two crewmembers, Caleb Dirks and Adam Riley, have been suspended for the next four NASCAR Cup Series races after the left rear wheel of their car fell off during the latest race at Circuit of the Americas.
The team's No. 23 Toyota, driven by Bubba Wallace, had been running inside the top 20 and earned a stage point when the left rear wheel fell off on Lap 45, bringing out a caution as Wallace's car spun and was disabled. The ensuing suspension damage resulted in Wallace's first DNF of the 2022 season, and now results in the loss of Barker and a pair of crewmembers.
Following the penalty being issued, 23XI Racing announced that they do not plan to appeal. Dave Rogers, 23XI Racing Performance Director, will serve as acting crew chief.
The 23XI Racing No. 23 team becomes the latest to be issued suspensions for the loss of a wheel, a problem which has plagued several teams as they try to adjust to the transition from five lug nuts to one with the Next Gen car. Among the teams to have wheel trouble include The Money Team Racing No. 50 team, Kaulig Racing's No. 31 team, Front Row Motorsports' No. 38 team and Spire Motorsports' No. 7 team.
The wheel failure on Wallace's car continues what has been a very uneven start to his 2022 season. Although he finished second in the Daytona 500 and contended for the win at Atlanta, accidents and other issues have prevented Wallace from finishing inside the top 10 since his runner-up at Daytona.
Wallace's weekend at Circuit of the Americas, which began with him wiping out while taking his skateboard out on-track, was plagued by mechanical gremlins. In addition to his wheel failure in the Cup race, Wallace had been running inside the top 5 in Saturday's Xfinity Series race when he lost second gear in his transmission, relegating him to a disappointing 28th place finish.