Aric Almirola could be cleared by doctors to return to driving in the next few days, which means Sunday’s race at Kentucky Speedway could be Bubba Wallace’s last Cup Series race.
Wallace filled in for Almirola for four races during his absence, and Wallace improved each time. He finished 26th at Pocono, 19th at Michigan, 15th at Daytona and 11th at Kentucky Speedway.
Wallace is only the fourth African-American driver to compete in the Cup Series since 1961, and his 11th-place finish at Kentucky was the highest finish of any African-American driver since Wendell Scott in 1971.
Wallace said it is “bittersweet” that his time in the Cup Series is coming to an end according to ESPN.
“It’s just a bummer we can’t keep going,” Wallace said. “It’s kind of heartbreaking. It is what it is. It’s the business side of it. We were able to keep on clicking away some good finishes and keep improving.
“Hopefully I made a name for myself in the handful of starts,” Wallace said. “We’ll see what’s next. … I’ve got a lot of people in my corner. It’s just a matter of what comes at the right time — the best opportunity will present itself when the time is right.
If Almirola isn’t cleared by doctors to return for Sunday’s race at New Hampshire, Wallace could race in his place one more time. But Almirola is on track to return, which means Wallace will most likely have the week off.
Wallace is also a free agent after his XFINITY Series car lost funding from Roush Fenway Racing, but his improving success in the Monster Energy Cup Series could lead Wallace to find new sponsorship with Richard Petty Motorsports for next season.