Even in the world of virtual auto racing, making the sponsors happy is one of a driver's top priorities.
Bubba Wallace learned that the hard way Sunday, losing a sponsor after apparently losing his cool and quitting the race.
On Lap 10 of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway, Wallace and Clint Bowyer got tangled up, with Bowyer exclaiming during the TV broadcast, "I got Bubba'd!" before yelling "C'mon, Bubba!" and finally claiming, "I need a beer really bad right now."
While Bowyer seemed to take in stride, Wallace had a different reaction, "rage quitting" -- a gaming term for someone quitting a game early out of anger.
After yelling, "C'mon Clint!" during his livestream, Wallace said, "alright, y'all have a good one" and then, "that's why I don't take this (expletive) seriously," before yelling "Peace out!" and leaving the race.
After taking plenty of heat for the move on Twitter, Wallace tweeted back, "Bahaha I'm dying at my mentions right now... I ruined so many peoples day by quiting..a video game.. Bahaha. A video game. Damn quarantine life is rough," with three crying tears of joy emojis.
Among the Twitter followers who weren't happy about Wallace's antics was the feed of muscle rub Blue-Emu, which sponsored Wallace for the race.
"GTK where you stand. Bye bye Bubba. We're interested in drivers, not quitters," Blue-Emu replied to Wallace's tweet.
Later Sunday, The Action Network's Darren Rovell spoke with Blue-Emu executive vice president Ben Blessing, who confirmed the company dropping Wallace was real.
"We aren't sponsoring Bubba anymore," Blessing told Rovell. "Can you imagine if he did that in real life on a track?"
Blue-Emu used to sponsor Richard Petty and for the last five years has sponsored Richard Petty Motorsports teams. Wallace drives Petty's famed No. 43 car in the Sprint Cup circuit. According to Rovell, Blessing said an official with RPM reached out after the race and said Blue-Emu would not be charged any money for their sponsorship for Sunday's race.
It is not known how much money Blue-Emu agreed to pay Wallace for sponsorship Sunday.
Blue-Emu is also sponsoring Landon Cassill, who has yet to race in a Sprint Cup race this season but has his in-home rigged littered with Blue-Emu decals for his Pro Invitational Series races.
"Landon has been a real pro," Blessing told Rovell. "He's practicing six to eight hours a day with our brand in the background."
Wallace officially finished the 32-car race in last place, credited with only nine laps completed. Bowyer finished 11th in his Stewart-Haas No. 14 car, completing all 150 laps. Hendrick Motorsports' William Byron won the race.
--Field Level Media