The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season will be Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.’s last as driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet. Despite an offer from RPM of a bigger ownership stake in the team [Wallace already had a small ownership stake in the team], Wallace has notified RPM on Thursday morning that he would be leaving the #43 seat at the end of the season.
“Earlier this morning, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. informed Richard Petty Motorsports he will not be returning for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season,” a statement from Richard Petty Motorsports read. “We will complete the season with Wallace behind the wheel of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. 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.”
The 2020 season is Wallace’s third season with Richard Petty Motorsports and his third full-time season in the Cup Series. In 103-career starts in NASCAR’s top division, he has three top-fives and nine top-10 finishes, including a best finish of second in the 2018 Daytona 500. He has six wins in 48 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races and six top-five finishes in 85 NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
“This was not an easy decision, as I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Petty and his family, but I believe it’s time for someone else to take over the reins of the No. 43,” a statement from Wallace [@BubbaWallace] on Twitter read. “Thank you to the King and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to start my Cup Series career. I’ve grown so much as a driveer and as a person since joining them. We’ve got nine more races together, and I hope we can finish the 2020 season on a high note.”
Popular speculation puts Wallace in the #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in 2021. Both Wallace and CGR owner Chip Ganassi have confirmed an offer was made by the race team to the drivers, but there has been no official news of the team for which Wallace will drive next year.
Worth noting, though, Matt Kenseth recently stated during a Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio interview that he would likely not be racing in NASCAR next season. Kenseth has been driving the #42 since NASCAR’s return from a coronavirus-related hiatus. The car’s previous driver, Kyle Larson, was fired from the team and suspended by the NASCAR during the break after Larson used a racial slur during a live online steam of an iRacing event.
“I would say that it’s probably more than likely I will not be racing again next year,” Kenseth said.