John Hunter Nemechek will drive at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend in place of Bubba Wallace, who was suspended for one race by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Kyle Larson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In a statement via social media, 23XI Racing announced Nemechek in the No. 45 Toyota. The team co-owned by Cup Series championship contender Denny Hamlin and six-time NBA champion and legend Michael Jordan also said it was “aligned with NASCAR on the one-race suspension issued to Bubba, and we understand the need for the series to take a clear stand on the incidents that took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“Bubba’s actions are not in keeping with the values of our team and partners. We have spoken to Bubba and expressed our disapproval of how he handled the situation. Bubba has made impressive strides this season, and this experience is an opportunity to further learn and grow as a competitor in NASCAR.”

Wallace crashed Larson after being squeezed into the outside wall on Lap 95 at Las Vegas, where Wallace had won Stage 1 of last Sunday’s race. He was driving the same Camry that he took to victory lane last month at Kansas Speedway for his second career victory in the Cup Series.

Nemechek has been a Toyota-affiliated driver the past two seasons, driving full time in the Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and part time in Xfinity for Joe Gibbs Racing.

The second-generation driver finished third in the truck series points standings last season. He currently  is ranked sixth this season with two victories after qualifying for the playoffs.

Nemechek will be making his 40th start in NASCAR’s premier series, having run full time in 2020 with Front Row Motorsports. His career-best finish is eighth, twice at Talladega Superspeedway as a Cup rookie. He tested one day at Homestead during a two-day test in September for 23XI Racing.


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