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NASCAR Cup: Richard Petty Motorsports names Darrell Wallace Jr. driver of No. 43

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 replace Aric Almirola as driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports entry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, according to an announcement from the race team Wednesday.

“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 subbed for Almirola in the No. 43 earlier this season when Almirola was sidelined by a back injury. During Almirola’s two-month absence, Wallace drove the No. 43 in four Cup Series racing, improving his position in the finishing order with each race before a career-best finish of 11th at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Those four races in the No. 43 have been Wallace’s only career Cup Series starts, to date.

Wallace started the season as a driver for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, running the first 12 races of the season before RFR shuttered operations of its No. 6 team of which Wallace was driver in the series. Wallace was fourth in the Xfinity Series points standings when the team was shut down. He has made one Xfinity Series start since

In all, Wallace has made 85-career starts in the Xfinity Series, resulting in six top-fives and 35 top-10 finishes. He also has 45-career starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, resulting in six wins, 15 top-fives and 27 top-10s. He won in his only Truck Series start this season at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Wallace was victorious in his two most recent Truck Series starts, dating back to the 2016 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“We have hired a lot of different drivers in the past, but Wallace brings a lot of youth and talent to our team,” RPM co-owner Richard 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.”

Veteran crew chief Drew Blickensderfer will remain with the No. 43 team next year to be Wallace’s crew chief.

No sponsor, manufacturer or shop location announcements have been made. Current sponsor, Smithfield, is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports for Stewart-Haas Racing at season’s end. The team is in its final year of a manufacturer contract with Ford, and its current race shop was recently listed for lease.

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 October 25, 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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