With Bubba Wallace getting a sponsorship, is Danica Patrick next?

NASCAR has made it very clear -- we want sponsors for Bubba Wallace and Danica Patrick.

One down, one to go.

Wallace signed his long-rumored deal with Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday, and now, all eyes shift to Patrick who -- with Dale Jr. retiring -- is arguably NASCAR's most popular driver.

The stars could be aligning.

She's been rumored to be a candidate for the No. 27 at Richard Childress Racing, a car that also needs sponsorship.  NASCAR CEO Brian France said he'd like to see her back.

RELATED: NASCAR CEO wants Danica Patrick back in the sport

More pointedly, in remarks reported by Forbes Magazine, NASCAR says -- quite plainly -- it needs Danica Patrick. Here's what Forbes said:

Jill Gregory, NASCAR's chief marketing officer, said Patrick's presence in the series was "hugely important," adding, "She kind of transcends NASCAR. She's kind of iconic. She really resonates with kids."

That's a very strong statement, with "hugely important," "transcends NASCAR," and "iconic" all in 16 words.

Richard Petty Motorsports has said that it has sponsors new to NASCAR, and hinted that NASCAR helped secure them.

Now, reading the tea leaves, it could be Patrick's time.