By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Richard Petty Motorsports will be looking for a new driver for its famous No. 43 car in 2021 after Bubba Wallace announced that he will be leaving the team when the current season comes to a close.
In a Thursday morning social media post, Wallace announced his departure, expressing his thanks and respect to seven-time champion Richard Petty and the team that bears his name for taking a chance on him by putting him in their car back in 2017 to start his NASCAR Cup Series career.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) September 10, 2020
When Aric Almirola was injured at Kansas in May 2017, Wallace was able to fill in for him as a relief driver for four races before taking over driving duties for the No. 43 team full-time the following season.
In the 103 races since his first Cup Series start, all of them have come in a Richard Petty Motorsports entry. Though Wallace has yet to visit Victory Lane, he has had some bright spots in his career, with three top-five finishes and nine top-10 finishes to his name.
Wallace’s best career Cup Series finish came in his first full-time season, finishing the 2018 Daytona 500 in the runner-up position.
Through 27 races, the 2020 season has been Wallace’s best season to date, scoring one top-five and five top-10 finishes. His best finish of the season came two weeks ago at Daytona, where he finished fifth. Currently, Wallace sits 23rd in points.
Where Wallace will drive in 2021 is still up in the air, but the rumor mill has been churning as of late with a number of possible landing spots for the 26-year old. As the current season has played out, Wallace has been able to land several sponsorship deals, all of which could be beneficial in helping him find a new team for next year.
As for RPM, the hunt is on for the team to find the driver to fill Wallace’s shoes in the No. 43 car when the green flag flies to kick off the 2021 season.
“We will complete the season with Wallace behind the wheel of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE,” Richard Petty Motorsports said in a statement. “We look forward to the next chapter in the making for the iconic No. 43 team. We will announce our new driver in the near future.”