Camping World Truck Series standout Darrell Wallace, Jr., may be showing up more often in the Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) series much more often next year. He has been released from his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and will drive a fourth car for Roush Fenway Racing in 2015.
Bubba Wallace made headlines last year for being the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national series race in fifty years. That wasn't a one-off, though. He won four races in the Camping World Truck Series in 2014, put himself on the podium an additional five times and finished third for the season.
Wallace had been racing with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series, but only competed twice for them in 2014. Joe Gibbs Racing had teamed up with Kyle Busch Motorsports to give Wallace drives in the Camping World Truck Series, as the two teams are closely related.
Wallace deserves a shot at a full-time ride in the now-Xfinity Series, though, and JGR was unable to deliver that. JGR had hoped to get Wallace at least ten or fifteen Xfinity rides for 2015, but had trouble finding sponsorship to back those drives. This baffled Kyle Busch, who told Sporting News:
Darrell Wallace, if he's not the most marketable driver in the truck series, I don't know who else would be. He's fun. He's engaging. He's witty.
He loves to do anything you want him to do. He's a PR dream. We were unsuccessful at selling the guy (for the truck), his agency was unsuccessful in selling him, JGR has been unsuccessful in selling him. We have three or four sales forces trying to sell Darrell Wallace and we can't. I don't know if it is because of the series or what, but we struck out and I feel really bad for that.
Kyle Busch Motorsports, unfortunately, has replaced Wallace in their Camping World Truck Series lineup for 2015, leaving Bubba without a full-year's drive anywhere.
All eyes were on Bubba as he won the Camping World Truck Series season ender at Homestead-Miami Speedway. If Joe Gibbs Racing wasn't able to find enough sponsorship to get Wallace in the car more often, it's not hard to believe that someone else may have. That someone, per multiple sources, is Roush Fenway Racing.
Roush Fenway Racing's Xfinity lineup for 2015 includes Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed. Bubba Wallace would join as a fourth car, likely crewed by ex-Carl Edwards/Trevor Bayne crew chief Chad Norris, per Motorsport.com.
Best of all, Roush only fields three Sprint Cup cars at the moment, one shy of the maximum. While Joe Gibbs had a full slate of Sprint Cup drivers in Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway could (in theory) just add a fourth entry if they wanted to bump Wallace up to a Sprint Cup drive.
"I'll take what I can get," Wallace said in interviews, as quoted by That's Racin' Lucky Dog. "I can only go out there and continue to run up front, lead laps, and win races."
Roush Fenway Racing has yet to officially confirm the addition of Wallace to their Xfinity lineup for next year, but we expect that confirmation to come soon as teams gear up for the 2015 season.
UPDATE: Confirmed! Roush Fenway Racing announced on Dec. 18 that Wallace will drive the number 6 Ford Mustang for RFR in the Xfinity series. Per team co-owner Jack Roush, as quoted in Autoweek:
We are certainly pleased to have Bubba Wallace come on board. He is certainly a great young talent, and I feel it will be mutually beneficial for us to be able to put him into a team environment with a veteran driver like Elliott [Sadler] and the young guys Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed. We have had a great deal of history in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and we are happy to have Bubba as the latest piece of that rich legacy.
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