Bubba Wallace Leaves His Seat
A year full of headlines for NASCAR Cup driver Bubba Wallace added another one Thursday. The 26-year-old from Mobile, Alabama, announced he will leave his seat in the “43” car for Richard Petty Motorsports at the conclusion of the NASCAR season.
“This was not an easy decision as I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Petty and his family, but I believe it’s time for someone else to take over the reins of the No. 43. Thank you to the King and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to start my Cup Series career. I’ve grown so much as a driver and as a person since joining them. We’ve got nine more races together, and I hope we can finish the 2020 season on a high note.”
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) September 10, 2020
The only Black driver on the circuit has been with RPM for his entire Cup career. After being a substitute driver in the No. 43 car for four races in 2017, he took over the full-time ride. He’s still looking for his first career Cup Series win.
Wallace’s average finish this season is 20th, but the 43 team had five top-10 finishes at this point, compared with one in 2019 and three in 2018.
The Noose Incident
He was in the center of the spotlight, not by his own doing, when a garage pull was found in the shape of a noose at his car’s area at Talladega in June.
His fellow Cup drivers pushed his car to the front of the grid the following week.
The FBI did an investigation into the incident.
NEWS: The FBI has just released a statement about the NASCAR noose incident at Talladega, indicating it was a misunderstanding. No crime was committed. The noose was already there as early as last year. pic.twitter.com/j2MGrOvUN3
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 23, 2020
Wallace has been an activist and was extremely vocal in the push that led to NASCAR banning Confederate flags from its event and the sport.
“Earlier this morning, Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr., informed Richard Petty Motorsports he will not be returning for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season,” the team said in a statement.
“We look forward to the next chapter in the making for the iconic No. 43 team. We will announce our new driver in the near future.”
“Silly season” is when NASCAR drivers either are relieved of their drives or find new ones. The path Wallace follows to his next team will be one of the biggest stories of 2020.