Bubba Wallace to make first Cup Series start with Richard Petty Motorsports at Pocono

Wallace to make the jump from Xfinity Series to No. 43 car at Pocono as Roush Fenway Xfinity team suspends operations

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Darrell Wallace Jr. stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway on June 3

Bubba Wallace will finally get his opportunity at the Monster Energy Cup Series level — in the iconic No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports.Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, 23, will make the jump from the Xfinity Series to the Cup Series with RPM starting in Pocono on Sunday. After two races from Regan Smith at Charlotte and Dover, Petty has decided to make a switch to Wallace on a full-time basis until Aric Almirola is able to return from a back fracture.”We are excited for Bubba to get this opportunity to drive the iconic No. 43 Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports,” said Dave Pericak, global director of Ford Performance. “We couldn’t be happier with the progress of Aric Almirola’s recovery and can’t wait to get him back. In the meantime, this is a great opportunity for Bubba to show what he can do at the top level of the sport and we are committed to helping RPM win races.”We are proud of the collaboration between RPM, Roush Fenway and Ford to make this driver transition happen, and it’s a great example of the One Ford mentality we have in order to make the overall Ford NASCAR program better.”As a result, Roush Fenway has suspended operations for the No. 6 program at the Xfinity Series level with Wallace making the jump.In two seasons at the Xfinity level with Roush, Wallace had a career-best second-place finish at Dover in 2016 and was running fifth in points this season. Ironically enough, he had six sixth-place finishes in the No. 6 car this season prior to moving up with RPM.Despite not having a full-time sponsor at the Trucks or Xfinity Series level, Wallace still captured five Trucks Series wins between 2013 and 2014 while leading 963 laps. He became the first African American since Wendell Scott to win a race in one of NASCAR’s three national series when he won at Martinsville in 2013.Wallace wound up 28th at Charlotte after issues late in the race, but gave his best friend Ryan Blaney fits throughout the race while fighting for the lead. He even passed Blaney to lead three laps, prompting Blaney to promote his friend after earning the win.”Yeah, get him a sponsor,” Blaney said. “He passed me on a restart and drove away from me, and that was awesome.”Richard Petty Motorsports did him one better by bringing him up to the top series in the sport. Now it’s up to Wallace to prove he should get similar opportunities in the future prior to Almirola’s return.