Wallace parting ways with RPM

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA - JUNE 22: NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard "The King" Petty (R) stands with Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 22, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama. A noose was found in the garage stall of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway a week after the organization banned the Confederate flag at its facilities. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Bubba Wallace will not return to Richard Petty Motorsports as the driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

The team confirmed the news Thursday via a statment.

“Earlier this morning, Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr., informed Richard Petty Motorsports he will not be returning for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) season. 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.”

Wallace followed up with his own statement shortly after.

“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. 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 driver 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.”

Wallace is the only Black driver competing full-time in NASCAR’s premier series and is in his third season at Richard Petty Motorsports.  He is widely known for his social activism in the wake of protests across the country this year and has worked to shift NASCAR through social changes, including the banning of the Confederate flag at series events and tracks.

Wallace has an ownership stake in Richard Petty Motorsports but also said early last month that he was entertaining offers from teams for next season including Chip Ganassi Racing. Due to his widespread media attention for his social activism, Wallace has signed several high-profile sponsors for personal services contracts.

The 26-year-old has 103 career Cup starts and nine career top 10s. His best finish this season is fifth at the Daytona oval in August, his best career finish came in the 2018 Daytona 500 when he finished second.