NASCAR: Erik Jones to replace Bubba Wallace in 2021

Erik Jones is set to replace Bubba Wallace behind the wheel of the #43 Chevrolet at Richard Petty Motorsports for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Over the summer, Bubba Wallace confirmed that he would not be back for what would have been a fourth consecutive year behind the wheel of the #43 Chevrolet at Richard Petty Motorsports in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

A few weeks earlier, it had been confirmed that Erik Jones would not be back for what would have been a fourth consecutive year behind the wheel of the #20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021.

It was later announced that Christopher Bell, the rookie who currently competes for the Joe Gibbs Racing-affiliated Leavine Family Racing after winning 15 races over two years for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series, would be his replacement.

Now it has been confirmed that Jones is set to replace Wallace, who is set to drive for a new team owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin next year, behind the wheel of the #43 Chevrolet.

Here is what Jones had to say about this opportunity.

“It is an incredible honor to have Richard Petty want you to drive for his race team and with the car number he made famous. Richard Petty Motorsports has a rich history in the sport, but they are not resting on that history. They still have something to prove, and I have something to prove. We are both motivated to write a new chapter. I am proud to be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports.”

Here is what Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports, had to add.

“Erik is an exceptionally talented driver, and we are excited to have him join our team. At only 24 years old, Erik is part of NASCAR’s next generation of stars. He has won races at every level in NASCAR he has competed in — including in the NASCAR Cup Series. Erik is a proven winner and we look forward to providing him with the opportunity to add more wins to his already impressive resume.”

Jones is a two-time winner in the Cup Series, having won at Daytona International Speedway in July of 2018 and then at Darlington Raceway last September.

He qualified for the playoffs in both 2018 and 2019 thanks to his victories, and he finished in a career-high 15th place in the championship standings in 2018. He sits in 15th place on points alone in 2020, but he can not finish higher than 17th in the championship standings as a result of the fact that he failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Jones’s best finish of the 2020 season is his second place finish at Talladega Superspeedway behind teammate Denny Hamlin earlier this month.