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NASCAR Cup: Darrell Wallace Jr. assumes Almirola fill-in role

Darrell Wallace Jr. (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Darrell Wallace Jr. (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Darrell Wallace Jr. will be the driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the remainder of Aric Almirola’s absence. Almirola continues to recovery from a back injury sustained in the GoBowling.com 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City last month.
“Driving the famed 43 car is an unbelievable opportunity for any race car driver,” Wallace said. “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 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.”
Wallace moves to the No. 43 from Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Following RPM’s announcement of Wallace’s hiring on Monday, RFR sent out its own announcement that it would shutter its No. 6 Xfinity Series program following Saturday’s race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
Wallace also will make his Cup Series debut this upcoming weekend at Pocono, running his first race in the No. 43 in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Pocono. When he takes the green flag Sunday, he’ll become the first African-American driver to run a Cup Series race since Bill Lester in 2006. Wallace is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive 4 Diversity Program as one of the program’s first participants.
Wallace makes the transition from Xfinity to Cup and from Roush Fenway to RPM in the midst of what was expected to be his third full season of competition in the Xfinity Series. He has 83-career starts, prior to Sunday’s race at Pocono, in the series, resulting in six top-fives and 34 top-10 finishes. He has been a driver at Roush Fenway Racing since embarking on full-time Xfinity competition in 2015. Previously, he made a total of six starts for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012 in 2014.
Wallace also has significant experience in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, posting five wins, 14 top-fives and 26 top-10s in 44 starts across two full-time seasons in 2013 and 2014 as a driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“We’re excited to have Bubba in the No. 43 car and to give him his first Monster Energy Series start,” Richard Petty Motorsports CEO Brian Moffitt said. “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.”
Almirola already has missed two points-paying Cup Series races since his injury — the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 28 and the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on May 4 — and the Monster Energy Open exhibition race, also at Charlotte. Regan Smith drove the car in all three of those races. In the week following Almirola’s injury, a projected recovery time of eight to 12 weeks was announced.
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on June 6, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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