By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Darrell Wallace Jr. finds himself in a precarious position heading into what he hopes will be his third full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Wednesday during Charlotte Media Tour, Wallace revealed that he doesn’t have a full season of sponsorship lined up for his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang.
“We’re in kind of a little tight spot here,” Wallace admitted. “We’re trying to figure out the rest of the game plan, but our goal is to be at Homestead for the season finale and win the Xfinity Series championship.”
Wallace continued, “We have the first six races right now with a 99 percent chance we’ll have more after that. The biggest thing is we haven’t had the best year the last two years, so we just need better results to bring and a more positive outlook.”
Leidos, a military defense company who sponsored Wallace a year ago has signed on for the first six events this year. Even with the uncertainty of the upcoming year, Wallace still has enthusiasm for what could be this season.
“I believe the changes we have made, along with the new format coming up for the whole sport of NASCAR, will definitely help [our performance]. I couldn’t be more excited about this season,” Wallace said. “Yeah, it’s not set in stone that it’s a full season, but that doesn’t change my outlook or my attitude or anything. I’ve still got the same old guy that walks around trying to put a smile on everybody’s face, and go out there and deliver out on the race track.”
Wallace, 23, is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity program and at one point he looked to be one of the hottest driving prospects in the sport. Wallace won five races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driving for Max Siegel’s team, which led to a development deal with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Wallace won a sixth time in K&N and then moved to the Truck Series in 2013 for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Wallace won five races over the next two years in trucks, but with a lack of sponsorship willing to back Wallace, he was forced to find a new team to climb the ladder with. Wallace landed at Roush Fenway for the 2015 Xfinity Series season, and things have not come as easy for the Alabama native as they once did.
Now he finds himself in another sponsorship snag. If Wallace runs well, and possibly wins a race in the first six races of 2017, perhaps he can keep his ride and run for a championship. But if things get off to a sluggish start, as they did last year when he notched just two top-10s in the first six races, Wallace will likely be without a ride yet again.
The pressure is on as Wallace finds himself at a career cross roads.