NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr. will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Pocono Raceway this weekend as the replacement for injured Aric Almirola.
Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed today that Wallace will drive the No. 43 until Almirola is well enough to return. Almirola suffered a T-5 compression fracture in his back during a crash at Kansas Speedway in May. Regan Smith replaced Almirola at Charlotte Motor Speedway and this past weekend at Dover International Speedway.
Wallace’s debut wasn’t all the news confirmed, however. His XFINITY Series team, Roush Fenway Racing, confirmed that Wallace will “transition” from the team following this weekend’s race at Pocono. The team only had funding for the driver who sits fourth in points for the first six races of the season, but consistently strong runs allowed for the team to continue with additional sponsorship.
“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 No. 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.”
It’s unknown at this time exactly how long Wallace will be in the No. 43 as it’s all dependent on Almirola’s recovery process.