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Bubba Wallace not returning to RPM after this season

Kevin Harvick is the recipient of some good luck at Darlington, Ryan Blaney is in an early points hole, Alex Bowman and William Byron are surging for Hendrick Motorsports, and Austin Dillon could be a playoff dark horse.

Bubba Wallace will not return to Richard Petty Motorsports after this season, the team confirmed Thursday.

The team issued a statement Thursday:
“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.”

MORE: Silly Season scorecard for 2021

Wallace posted a statement on social media, saying: “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. ... We’ve got nine more races together, and I hope we can finish the 2020 season on a high note.”
The news was first reported by The Athletic.

The 26-year-old Wallace is the only Black driver competing full-time in NASCAR’s premier series. Wallace is in his third season at Richard Petty Motorsports.

He has been active in helping lead NASCAR through social changes, including the banning of the Confederate flag at series events and tracks.

Wallace stated Aug. 9 that he had contract offers from RPM and Chip Ganassi Racing. Wallace has an ownership stake in Richard Petty Motorsports.

Wallace has made 103 career Cup starts and has nine career top 10s. His best finish this season is fifth at the Daytona oval in August. He finished a career-high second in the 2018 Daytona 500.

Wallace has amassed a collection of sponsors lately that could move with him, providing some sponsorship for another team for next season.