Seven races into the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, we are seeing a huge regression from Bubba Wallace and Richard Petty Motorsports. At this same point last season, Wallace already had recorded a top-five and two top-10 finishes. Fast forward to the here and now and Wallace’s best effort of 2019 is a 17th-place finish at Martinsville.
It’s frustrating, but a lot of it can be attributed to sponsorship dollars. The team lost Click ‘N Close Mortgages and STP as primary sponsors in the offseason and Wallace admits the team is behind on the most important thing in racing — money.
“We are kind of behind,” Wallace said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I think the biggest thing is dollar signs and over the years we have kind of tip-toed around that, but that’s enough of that. We are kind of behind on money. It’s all about being up front and being blunt. It’s coming down to a crucial time. I mean we just have to start running better. I have asked why would new companies want to come in and sponsor the No. 43? You can play the racecar number all you want. You will get a lot of attention, sure. But, for me, I’m competitive and look at results and new companies don’t understand that. The more money you spend, the better you do. It is hard to get their heads wrapped around that.”
Wallace will roll from the starting grid in the 28th position in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol. In this race a year ago, Wallace led six laps (the first laps led of his career) en route to a 16th-place effort. At this point, a 16th-place finish would feel like a win for the 43 team.