Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that NASCAR XFINITY Series regular Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. will pilot the #43 Ford while Aric Almirola recovers from his injuries.
Wallace brings five years of NASCAR experience in both the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series and has been a member of the Ford Performance team since 2015. Wallace, a graduate of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program and inaugural member of NASCAR Next, will make his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono Raceway this weekend.
The 23-year-old Mobile, Ala., native has five years of experience in the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, where he's tallied five wins, 20 Top Fives, 60 Top 10s and five Pole awards.
"Driving the famed 43 car is an unbelievable opportunity for any race car driver," said Wallace. "With all that Richard Petty has contributed to the sport, I'm honored to start my first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event with this team. I'm incredibly grateful that Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports and Smithfield have the confidence in me
to help fill the seat until Aric (Almirola) fully recovers, which is the most important piece of this. Moving up to the Monster Energy Series is a tremendous challenge, but I am ready to represent this organization, help the 43 team get the best results possible and prove that I belong at this level."
Richard Petty Motorsports has partnered with Ford Performance and Roush Fenway Racing since 2010, and now are teaming up once again during Almirola's absence. Almirola, who suffered an acute compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway, is currently recovering from the injury which has a standard healing time of eight to 12 weeks.
"We're excited to have Bubba in the #43 car and to give him his first Monster Energy Series start," said Brian Moffitt, CEO Richard Petty Motorsports. "He has shown success in NASCAR's national series and we look forward to him continuing to display his abilities in our car. We're fortunate to have someone with
Bubba's potential in the Ford Performance family who can step in for us until Aric is healed."
"We are excited for Bubba to get this opportunity to drive the iconic #43 Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports," said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. "We couldn't be happier with the progress of Aric Almirola's recovery and can't wait to get him back. In the meantime, this is a great opportunity for Bubba to show what he can do at the top level of the sport, and we are committed to helping RPM win races. We are proud of the collaboration between RPM, Roush Fenway and Ford to make this driver transition happen, and it's a great example of the One Ford mentality we have in order to make the overall Ford NASCAR program better."
Wallace will jump in the #43 Smithfield Ford this weekend at Pocono Raceway starting with practice on Friday morning. He will have practice sessions and qualifying to work with the team to get the car ready for the Pocono 400 Sunday, June 11.
--- Richard Petty Motorsports / Breaking Limits ---
Wallace to Transition from Roush Fenway Racing; Make Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Debut in Iconic Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Ford
Roush Fenway Racing has announced that Bubba Wallace will transition from its #6 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) Ford Mustang to the iconic #43 Ford Fusion of Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) where the 23-year-old will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Pocono Raceway.
"We are very proud of Bubba and his development at Roush Fenway Racing," said team president Steve Newmark. "We believe that Bubba has tremendous potential and will continue to excel in NASCAR's top series. He has been a great representative of our organization both on and off the track and we've enjoyed being part of his growth as a driver. Our entire team is excited to see him take the next step in his career and make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in the #43.
"The transition shows the strong collaboration we currently have in the Ford stable," added Newmark. "We believe this will be a great opportunity for both Bubba and RPM, and will continue to strengthen the overall Ford program."
With Wallace's focus on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Roush Fenway Racing will suspend efforts on the No. 6 NXS team after this weekend's event in Pocono. Roush Fenway and Wallace will continue to evaluate additional potential opportunities for Wallace to run in NXS races. Wallace has driven for Roush Fenway in the NXS for the past two and a half seasons, scoring a career-high finish of second at Dover last spring.
--- Roush Fenway Racing ---