NASCAR’s Wallace to leave RPM after season

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace will be leaving Richard Petty Motorsports after the 2020 season, he announced on social media Thursday.

“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,” Wallace said in a Twitter post.

“Thank you to the King and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to start my Cup Series career. I’ve grown so much as a driver and as a person since joining them. We’ve got nine more races together, and I hope we can finish the 2020 season on a high note.”

RPM said it will announce a new driver “in the near future.”

Wallace has yet to win a Cup race during his three seasons driving for Petty. He has a career-best five top-10 finishes this season and is ranked a career-best 23rd in the Cup standings.

Wallace, the lone Black driver competing full time in NASCAR at the national series level, has gained national attention over the past several months as an activist, leading conversation among his peers about racial equality.

He was in the national spotlight in June, when he said during an interview with CNN that NASCAR should ban the Confederate flag from all of its tracks. Two days later, NASCAR enacted a ban, saying the flag at its events “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry.”

He also was in the spotlight after NASCAR announced that a noose had been found in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. A day after the race, NASCAR announced that the FBI had determined that Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime and that a pull rope fashioned like a noose had been on his garage door at Talladega since as early as October 2019, when the previous Cup Series race had been held at the track.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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