After being granted his release from Joe Gibbs Racing less than two weeks ago, Darrell Wallace, Jr. has a new home. The 21-year-old signed a deal Thursday to pilot the No. 6 Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015. Wallace is expected to race full-time for the organization, but sponsorship is still being finalized.
“I’ve had a remarkable journey over the last few years thanks to people who have put me in a position to win the races that I have,” said Wallace. “When I first joined the sport, many said I would never compete with the real drivers. Now, as I join the winningest team in NASCAR history, I take that as a responsibility to add more wins to the team’s legacy and help tear down the barriers for the next generation of NASCAR drivers.”
In 2014, Wallace won four races in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series with Kyle Busch Motorsports. Signed under a developmental contract with Gibbs, the Drive for Diversity graduate raced two full-time seasons in the Truck Series. Third in the points last season, he’s the first African-American driver to find victory lane in NASCAR since Wendell Scott more than 50 years ago.
Originally, the plan was for Wallace to move up into the XFINITY Series, joining Daniel Suarez at Joe Gibbs Racing in hopes of winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title. But after team executives struggled to find funding, promising only a partial schedule Wallace asked for and was granted his release.
“We are very excited to bring Bubba Wallace into the Roush Fenway fold,” said team president Steve Newmark. “He is viewed in industry circles as one of the brightest young drivers and I feel that we are very fortunate to be able to bring him on board. He has a charismatic personality and, at the same time has exhibited the ability to win. We are looking forward to getting him in our race cars next season.”
RFR, while holding off on sponsor announcements is prepared to run him for what appears to be the full season. Financial backing will determine Wallace’s schedule, according to multiple reports from the Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass. After fielding Chris Buescher’s car out-of-pocket, running Roush Performance Products on it for the majority of the 2014 season RFR has proven they’re willing to invest in young talent when necessary.
The signing means Roush Fenway Racing’s XFINITY Series team will expand to four cars in 2015. Buescher, Wallace, second-year driver Ryan Reed and veteran Elliott Sadler, who also made the swap from Gibbs will fill out the roster.
“We are certainly pleased to have Bubba Wallace come on board,” said team co-owner Jack Roush. “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 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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