Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. recently received great news when Richard Petty Motorsports announced he would be the full-time driver for the team in 2018. This was a very warranted decision by RPM. Wallace is a great talent behind the wheel and a great spokesperson for any brand he represents.
Furthermore, Wallace has a great personality. He is definitely one of the most likeable people in the garage area. This is a key element of success that sponsors look for when deciding where to invest their advertising dollars.
The young driver from Mobile, Alabama has visited victory lane six times in just 45 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Also winning his one and only start in the series in 2017.
Wallace moved to the Xfinity Series full-time in 2015. In 85 total starts in the series, Wallace has racked up 35 top-ten finishes. Solid stats, especially considering he was driving for Roush-Fenway Racing, a team that has struggled in each of NASCAR’s national touring series in recent years.
Unfortunately, the decision was made to release Wallace just 13 races into the 2017 season, leaving him looking for a ride.
Earlier this season, Wallace was pegged as the relief driver for a few races in the iconic No. 43 for Aric Almirola who suffered a back injury in a major crash at Kansas Speedway.
Wallace started four races scoring two top-20 finishes, which were not indicative of how well he performed on track. It was, however, impressive enough to secure the opportunity to drive for RPM in 2018.
Once the news broke about Wallace, it became the “feel good” story of the season. Many fans and NASCAR insiders were rooting for the well liked young gun.
Unfortunately, many of the articles written, along with many radio and television interviews and stories about Wallace, focused more on his race than his racing ability.
However, the need to point this out in multiple interviews and articles is unnecessary. In this writer’s opinion, this belittles the accomplishments of a great driver and a great person. This fact, though likely not the intent, gives the perception that his race is the primary reason why he has this opportunity. This is simply not the case.
Media take note: Bubba Wallace has a full-time ride for 2018 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He will be the driver of the iconic No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports. He earned this opportunity because he is a great driver and great spokesman. That is all that needs to be said.
Is it great that another African-American driver is getting an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Elite Series? Absolutely. This opportunity should be available to any driver with talent regardless of race, not because of race.
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