What is the meaning of ‘money shift’? Bubba Wallace ‘done' after 10 laps

Bruno Cooke June 13, 2022
What is the meaning of ‘money shift’? Bubba Wallace ‘done' after 10 laps
Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images


Bubba Wallace finished just nine laps at the Sonoma Highway Cup race on Sunday – he suffered what Yahoo Sports called a “sick engine”. Viewers have described his issue as a “money shift”, prompting something of a debate over the meaning of the phrase.

What is the meaning of ‘money shift’ in the context of motor racing?

A so-called money shift is when you accidentally miss the gear you’re intending to shift into. 

Or, Motor Biscuit adds, “aggressively downshift”.

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For example, you might intend to shift into third and accidentally shift into fifth, or vice-versa.

But why is it called “money shifting”?

Because when it happens, it could cause problems that’ll cost you a lot to repair. While you can probably get away with doing it once or twice, making a habit of it could cause serious damage to your clutch or gearbox.

Reddit users discuss the meaning and likelihood of ‘money shifting’

In a Reddit forum on the topic posted two years ago, drivers have been discussing what it means to “money shift”, and how likely it is that doing so will cause damage to your gearbox and/or clutch.

“The only time it’s going to happen is when you’re driving aggressively,” claims one user, “and shifting hard.”

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Another adds: “Money shifting only ruins your engine if it makes it over-rev.” That’s when you accidentally downshift, rather than shifting up. In other words, if you’re travelling at high speed and jump down to a low gear, that’s when problems could arise.

“Money shifting isn’t common,” writes one user. In many modern manual vehicles, they continue, “the gears are generally very tall (and) as such it’s incredibly difficult to money shift a modern manual”.

NASCAR viewers have been diagnosing Bubba Wallace’s engine issue

“Kaboom, Bubba Wallace,” intoned FOX’s NASCAR commentator as the driver was forced to pull over yesterday. Wallace was “done for the day” after just ten laps, the outlet added via Twitter.

“Bubba downshifting for turn 4A coming down the hill, that’s when that one went loose.”

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NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass later added that Wallace’s car was “smoking” and “dropping oil on the track”. 

It didn’t take long for claims to surface on Twitter that Bubba Wallace had “money shifted” his car. The below tweet prompted a retort from another, who argued “you can’t money shift a sequential”, meaning a fuel injection system with a fuel injector for each cylinder.

Meanwhile, Bubba himself seems to have been able to make light of the situation. 

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.