Given the current landscape of sports in the United States, there are two questions that remain unanswered. One, will there be an NFL team that finally signs Colin Kaepernick? And two, will there be a NASCAR team that finally gives Bubba Wallace a chance to be a regular in the Monster Series? The Kaepernick issue is one that has many layers to it but with regards to Wallace, there just might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Earlier this season, Wallace made his Monster Energy debut when he filled in for the injured Aric Almirola driving the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports. Wallace took advantage of the opportunity and certainly made an impression on RPM.
“We had him sub for our injured driver this year and he showed remarkable upside and improved every single race,” said RPM Co-Owner Andrew Murstein. “He went from 25th to 20th to 16th to 11th. For a driver to jump into a car and perform that well with no experience working with the team and crew chief is unheard of.”
Wallace became the first African-American driver at the highest level of NASCAR since Bill Lester in 2006, but he is looking for a new team after getting released by Roush Fenway Racing because of a lack of funding. Since then, he’s maintained a spot in the XFINITY Series driving the RPM affiliated No. 98 car but his status for 2018 is currently up in the air for a number of reasons.
While Kaepernick’s controversial decision to take a knee during the national anthem last year is a big reason why he’s not currently employed by an NFL team, the fact that Wallace doesn’t have a regular role in the Monster Energy Series might be a bit more baffling. Wallace is a potential game changer and an emerging star. At only 23-years-old, Wallace has had some success at other levels of NASCAR so perhaps the time is right for someone to take a chance on him.
“Just as Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been hired by an NFL team, I am surprised that no one in NASCAR has given Bubba Wallace a full-time ride at the Cup level yet,” said Murstein. “He is clearly talented enough, and has certainly put his time in having raced and excelled in the XFINITY and Truck Series for many years.”
Wallace broke a barrier in 2013 when he became the first African-American driver since Wendell Scott to win a race in one of NASCAR’s three national series.
Wallace is also big on social media and that just might land him a big opportunity for the 2018 season. He could go back to the Roush Fenway Racing team or perhaps join a NASCAR powerhouse like Joe Gibbs Racing or Hendrick Motorsports.
But the situation that might turn out to be the perfect storm for Wallace could be RPM who recently announced that Almirola will not return to the team next season. RPM gained some momentum recently by signing Grunt Style to a multiyear sponsorship agreement but they are still looking for a primary sponsor.
However, before Wallace and RPM can join forces, a top sponsor must be secured and there’s an intriguing situation that has been playing out on social media. Wallace is a huge fan of Domino’s Pizza and saw an opportunity to engage them recently on Twitter. On September 28, Domino’s sent out a tweet regarding National Poetry Day and Wallace couldn’t resist responding.
— Domino's Pizza (@dominos) September 28, 2017
Roses are red, violets are blue
And my fans will buy pizza from you.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) September 28, 2017
From there, Wallace filmed a video with Domino’s-themed shots on a golf course and posted it along with a special message that appears to have caught the eye of the pizza giant.
Maybe this will get their attention..??♂️? pic.twitter.com/tpgekV8Wi5
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) September 29, 2017
We see you, Bubba! ? DM us and let's talk!
— Domino's Pizza (@dominos) September 29, 2017
NASCAR fans might recall that after Wallace won a Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan, he ate a Domino’s pie during a live stream on Periscope. Sounds like Wallace, Domino’s and RPM could very well be the ingredients for a delicious partnership!
“I just watched (Bubba’s) Domino’s Pizza video and thought it was terrific,” said Murstein. “I would love to sign him in the near future and only can hope that no one does it before we do. It’s only a matter of time until a sponsor decides to go with him as it would be truly great for their brand, their image, NASCAR, and all of sports for that matter.”
The sports world could always use a new hero and perhaps Bubba Wallace could be the right man for the job in terms of giving fans a new star to cheer for as well as someone ready to break another barrier in the NASCAR world.
“Any sponsor that signs on to a potential Wallace/RPM partnership would be part of something special at a time when the sports world really needs it, especially with all that has gone on recently,” said Murstein. “Plus, NASCAR fans are unbelievably loyal to their drivers and sponsors and I am sure it would be a boost in sales for whoever is lucky enough to sponsor him.”
It seems like a perfect fit.
You have an up and coming star in Bubba Wallace looking for a NASCAR team to take a chance on him. You have a legendary name, mentor, and brand in Richard Petty Motorsports looking for a driver and a major sponsor.
The time is right for Bubba Wallace to make history and be a regular in the Monster Energy Series and it’s rare to have such a special opportunity to share in a landmark partnership that can be so much more than just a sports story. It’s history in the making.