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Darrell Wallace Jr. to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2018
Full-time ride after 4-race stint in 2017
 
Published Wednesday, October 25, 2017 2:04 pm
by Herbert L. White

FILE PHOTO
Darrell Wallace will compete full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, making him the first full-time African American driver in the top series since Wendell Scott in the 1970s.

Darrell Wallace Jr. is the new driver of the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43.

Wallace, 24, will compete full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and for the Sunoco Rookie of The Year beginning at the 2018 Daytona 500. A graduate of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs, Wallace, who replaces Aric Almirola, is the first full-time African American driver in stock car racing’s top series since Wendell Scott in the 1970s.

"This is a dream come true to race for 'The King,' Richard Petty Motorsports, the iconic No. 43 and for all the fans and partners that have and continue to support this team," Wallace said. "I believe in what Richard Petty Motorsports is doing and their desire to win races. I believe this team, its partners and fans are ready to see some great things again. I'm humbled that they have chosen me to take that next step with them. I'm ready for next season to begin and to prove to people that we can compete at the level we all expect to be at."

Wallace made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut June 11 as a substitute driver for the injured Almirola at Pocono Raceway. Wallace competed in four races, with a best finish of 11th at Kentucky Speedway on July 8.

"We have hired a lot of different drivers in the past, but Wallace brings a lot of youth and talent to our team," Petty said. "He's proven at a young age to be able to be consistent on a weekly basis, give feedback to the team to help improve the car and race hard to get the best finish possible. He knows how to win, too. His records leading up to the top levels of NASCAR speak for themselves. We feel that Bubba can immediately come in and compete. He's really eager to show what he can do and that he belongs in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series."

Drew Blickensderfer will be Wallace’s crew chief.  

Wallace earned a place in NASCAR history with a 2013 Camping World Truck Series win at Martinsville, to become the first black racer since Scott 50 years earlier to take the checkered flag at a NASCAR national touring series event. A year later, Wallace finished third in truck series points with four wins for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Wallace moved up full-time to the Xfinity Series with Roush Fenway Racing in 2015, where he earned 31 top-10 finishes over three seasons. He lost his ride earlier this season when the team’s sponsorship funding ended, but moved up to RPM when Almirola broke a vertebra in a May 13 crash at Kansas Speedway.

 

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