News Analysis: Bubba Wallace to drive Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car

What happened: Darrell Wallace Jr. will move to the Cup Series to drive Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 car next season, the team announced Wednesday. That will make Wallace the first full-time African-American driver in the Cup Series since Wendell Scott ran 37 races in the 1971 season.

What it means: Bubba gets a well-deserved shot at a Cup ride, and NASCAR gets an injection of excitement with a big personality getting to drive at the top level. NASCAR needs more characters after losing star power over the last few years with the departures of Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. — and Wallace’s edginess and enthusiasm will help with that. Also, you would assume this announcement means RPM feels like it will be able to find enough sponsorship to continue as an organization after anchor partner Smithfield decided to leave the team. The team’s news release announcing the decision said sponsorship for Wallace will be announced at a later date, so it’s unclear what that will entail.

News value (scale of 1-10): Seven. There are several distinct elements at play here, including Wallace’s skin color (which shouldn’t be notable in 2017 but will grab headlines based on NASCAR’s lack of diversity), the legend of the 43 car and the hope of an potential new star getting a chance at the Cup level. The news is not a surprise, though, based on the frequent updates from SportsBusiness Journal’s Adam Stern about RPM trying to sign Wallace.

Three questions: Does RPM have sponsorship secure, or is it making this announcement in hopes of drumming up funding now that it has a driver signed? Will Wallace, who was 11th at Kentucky earlier this year, be able to have more performances where he finishes ahead of where Aric Almirola typically did in the 43? Will Domino’s be involved with the team in any way, or will the company stupidly ignore a great opportunity to be paired with a rising star?

21 Replies to “News Analysis: Bubba Wallace to drive Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car”

  1. I’m a Dale Jr fan, and I don’t like Ford, but I love Bubba Wallace;’s personality and style. I just may have to overlook the Blue Oval on the 43 and become a fan next year.

    1. I couldnt agree more, been a Chevy and Earnhardt fan forever but may have to look at a Ford now 🙂

  2. There is a Domino’s in my area that I would consider patronizing…. IF THEY SPONSOR the #43…. BUBBA!!!

  3. I hope they will be able to find sponsorship to be able to field decent cars. Running in the back of the field all the time maybe a new allegiance with Hendricks to provide engines and technology like they did with Stewart-Hass.

  4. I’m so excited, I’ve been waiting for it to be official. I think Bubba is awesome and I’m excited to see what he can do next year!

  5. Love it! Just hope It’s not to ride around the the back, though. The King needs to spend some cash and hook up with a bigger team and get some better equipment.

  6. Wooo, so happy for Bubba and RPM. Now everybody needs to tweet Dominos and show how much they support the crazy, loveable Bubba’s Wallace. I already have.

  7. Hot Damn Tamale Charlie! Bubba has had a trying year and I’m glad to see him landing a home with the King. He’s an young guy with a TON of upside potential, and like Jeff said, he has some personality to grab attention. Sponsors best pay attention, this story will get TONS of press next season. STP, Dominos, and more, the next move is yours.

  8. So excited that Bubba has gotten the chance with RPM! What an exciting crop of young talent in Nascar lately! I hope Dominos is smart enough to back Bubba!

  9. I’m so excited about bubba driving next year. I saw the kid drive his way to victory at Eldoria and knew he had something. He’ll do great things for RPM and Nascar in general. #43.

  10. Here’s to rpm staying with Ford and using Roush-Yates power! I’m a Ford man but I don’t hate Chevrolet. It’s the Toyotas and some of those drivers I can’t stand! I hope Kenseth never drives again. What a slime ball!

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