Bubba Wallace may think his future is uncertain, but if Richard Petty Motorsports has anything to say, that future will absolutely be with them.
Andrew Murstein, in remarks reported by the Sports Business Journal in a tweet, said he’s “focused like a laser” on signing Wallace.
“Mike Tyson said everyone has a plan until they get hit (in the mouth). We got hit by Smithfield. True fighters and champions, though, get back up. The King is truly a champion — you don’t get to 200 victories and seven championships without being resilient. Step No. 1 in our plan is to sign Bubba (Wallace). I know he’s being courted by several teams, so we have been focused like a laser on signing him. He’s exactly what we need and, frankly, what the sport needs right now. With all that’s going on in the sports world, I can think of no better story line than having Bubba drive the most famous number in the history of the sport while making history himself.”
It’s been rumored for months Wallace would take Aric Almirola’s seat with Richard Petty Motorsports. Seemed natural. Wallace had filled in when Almirola was injured. And Richard Petty has made no secret he likes Wallace.
While it does seems like they’re headed down the aisle, as Murstein said, Wallace has other options, as he alluded to in a recent interview:
Wallace he told ESPN, “We’re working hard, trying to do everything I can to make sure that I have the best possible scenario for next year.”
When asked how many irons he has in the fire, he said, “We’ve got a couple. We’re working on some things. ”
He noted that he’s still working on joining Richard Petty Motorsports and taking the No. 43, “But obviously with the sponsorship deal they got going on it puts things in a different light, so we’re trying to work through a lot of things to figure out what is next for me and my … team.”
The Petty/Smithfield Foods divorce seems to have become the sticking point for Wallace. (Smithfield, unhappy with RPM’s results, dropped its sponsorship of the team). Without a regular Cup or XFINITY Series ride for 2017 because of a lack of a sponsor, Wallace seems to be looking for something stable — hence, the “more irons in the fire”.
We reported a couple weeks back that Front Row Motorsports possibly has interest in Wallace, either as a third ride or bumping another driver. Wallace doesn’t tell ESPN if FRM is the team he’s considering.