Bubba Wallace is currently midway through the 2020 Cup Series season and is pursuing a spot in the playoffs. His contract with Richard Petty Motorsports expires at the end of the season, but he will reportedly avoid looking for a new home. Richard Petty Motorsports is reportedly planning another contract extension.
"We plan on running Bubba in the famous 43 next year and hopefully for many years to come," team co-owner Andrew Murstein said. "Bubba in his own special way is a great ambassador for the sport." Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal first reported the news when Wallace was showing support for Black Lives Matter. The driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet has two top-10 finishes in the 2020 Cup Series season, and he briefly led the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Wallace originally joined Richard Petty Motorsports as a temporary replacement for the injured Aric Almirola in 2017. He competed in four total races while driving the iconic No. 43 Chevrolet. The team later hired him to be Almirola's full-time replacement ahead of the 2018 season.
Wallace impressed in his first race with the team, securing a second-place finish at the Daytona 500. He later secured another top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway and led during multiple races. Following the opening practice at July's Pocono race, Petty held a press conference and announced that the team had exercised the option to keep Wallace through the 2020 season.
"I see NASCAR changing as far as all the drivers and stuff are becoming younger, all us old guys, and the ones coming now is moving on," Petty said in 2018. "So, we're going to have a new chapter with the racing crowd and the drivers. So, we wanted to get in on the ground floor on this. If you look back, a lot of the drivers I've had kind of went through their deal and then we picked them up on the back end [of their careers]. We want to start out a little bit different this time. We're going to start out on the front end. Bubba was a logical choice for us."
While Wallace has not won a race during his Cup Series career, Richard Petty Motorsports has expressed optimism about his future in the sport. If the team gives him the extension as planned, it will remove his name from a sizable list. This would leave Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, Almirola, Ty Dillon and Corey LaJoie as the remaining pending free agents.