Kyle Petty On Bubba Wallace Refusing To Do Interviews Amid Playoff Pressure: “If Mentally He Is That Fragile, Maybe This Is Not The Game For Him”

Bubba Wallace NASCAR
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Kyle Petty‘s never one to hold back.

The outspoken former NASCAR driver and current commentator for NBC Sports has developed a reputation for giving his unfiltered and passionate opinions on all things racing.

And this week, he didn’t hold back on one of the most polarizing drivers in the sport.

Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 car for 23XI Racing, which is co-owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and future NASCAR Hall of Famer Denny Hamlin, is well known for being an emotional guy who wears his heart on his sleeve.

He’s spoken in the past about how hard he is on himself and the mental toll that it takes on him, and how he’s working on improving his mental state going into race days.

Wallace just made the Cup Series playoffs for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, and his relief was evident during his postrace interview and celebration with his team owner Michael Jordan.

But heading into the race at Daytona this past weekend, Bubba reportedly declined to do media interviews to eliminate the mental toll that the questions about making the playoffs was taking on him.

And Kyle Petty had some harsh words for Bubba while on Motorsports on NBC:

“For professional athletes to refuse interviews is unacceptable in any game. Unacceptable. Unacceptable to your fans, unacceptable to the sport, it’s just not.

Ty Gibbs did the same thing. He didn’t want to do an interview. And I don’t know how these guys think that’s acceptable in any world, because that’s what you’re here for. That’s what you’re here for. That’s what they pay you the money for.

And that’s that stupid saying, that’s why you make the big bucks, dude. You gotta handle it. Put it on your shoulders and carry it.

If mentally he is that fragile, then maybe this is not the game for him.”

Kyle also said that Bubba went into the race with the wrong attitude, knowing that he was in position to advance to the playoffs:

“All Bubba has to do is do what he can do, because he’s a good race car driver, and he’s a solid race car driver. And on the speedways, those are his moments.

He was 32 points up. Come and get it from me.

Bubba should have had the attitude going in there, a strong driver has the attitude, ‘Come and take it dude. You’re gonna have to take it from me.'”

And he also said that he thinks the “trial by fire” of these experiences will make him stronger over time, but he said that Bubba needs to realize that interviews are part of the sport:

“Not doing interviews is never acceptable. You’ve got to take the good with the bad in this sport. When you win, if you want us to come talk to you, expect to come talk to us also when you lose. And when things are good, if you want us to talk to you, you got to talk to us when things are bad.

I just think that’s a slap in the face in a lot of ways, to fans and the media and to everybody. Because you’re not above that.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock