“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,” Wallace wrote in a post on Twitter. “We’ve got nine more races together, and I hope we can finish the 2020 season on a high note.”
In a statement, Richard Petty Motorsports said, “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 will announce our new driver in the near future.”
This season has been Wallace’s strongest year of his three with Petty, including one top-five finish and five Top 10s. Wallace finished 23rd in the NASCAR regular season, after which only the top 16 drivers qualify for a shot at the championship. Wallace has yet to win a Cup race.
Sponsors have not been deterred. Wallace signed multiple sponsorship deals this season with Cash App, Beats by Dre and Doordash.
Wallace, who is the only black driver competing at the top level of NASCAR, came under the national spotlight in June, when he called for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag from its tracks. Two days later, NASCAR placed such a ban.
Not long after the ban was enacted, NASCAR announced a noose had been found in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. However, a day after the race concluded, the FBI determined that Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime. Instead, it was determined that a pull rope fashioned like a noose had been there since as early as October of 2019.