Richard Petty Motorsports returns for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with Bubba Wallace back behind the wheel.
Wallace will embark on his second full schedule driving the iconic No. 43 Chevrolet as RPM continues its alliance with Richard Childress Racing. Wallace ended last year 28th in the final series point standings a mark he hopes to improve on this coming campaign.
A key to achieving the team’s performance goal is securing additional funding and sponsorship throughout the entire season.
"For us we are a small team, a really small team our biggest thing is having the resources to prolong us throughout the season," Wallace explained. "We are fighting hard behind the scenes of getting more downright funding to make our program better. We are doing the best with what we got, and we are out there putting everything on the line and some just to get to the track."
Once on track, Wallace understands there were some challenges in 2018 the team plans to tackle in the coming year to boost the level of performance.
"Some days it’s going to be a tough weekend and those build character and make you appreciate the other weekend’s when things are going really good and something is taken away from me and it’s your fault or not," Wallace said.
"It’s going to make you appreciate those moments. We’ll continue to fight hard and dig deep and last year was a rookie season. A lot of mistakes on my end but a lot of highlights on my end."
Wallace ended up with one top five and three top-10 finishes last year with his best run coming in the season-opening Daytona 500 when he came home second. That effort provides a great deal of optimism as Wallace gets ready to head back to Daytona to start the year with the 2019 edition of "The Great American Race."
"It helps out a lot, we all know and us racers know how up in the air speedway racing is," he said. "It’s not like we’re going to put the same exact thing in the car and it better run second, doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t even work like that at any other track. It’s crazy how much setups do change from race to race.
"So, we have to go back and hopefully have the same amount of luck, if not a little bit more to finish one spot better. I’m excited, looking back at out speedway resume our worst finish was 14th which is solid for our camp. If we can build of that and hope it wasn’t beginner’s luck and hopefully we can show up and continue that and become a 2 car (Brad Keselowski) or 11 (Denny Hamlin) car, a guy you have to lookout for on the speedway stuff."
There will be a new wrinkle for RPM in 2019 with Derek Stamets taking over the crew chief duties from Drew Blickensderfer, who left for Front Row Motorsports. Wallace has confidence in working with Stamets,who was the former lead engineer of the team.
"Derek has a lot of knowledge of our program," Wallace said. "He’s not having to learn a new program and I’m not having to learn a new personality. I’m comfortable working with Derek and this makes the most sense for improvement."
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