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EXCLUSIVE: Bubba Wallace Talks About Return to RPM

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Bubba Wallace is headed back to the cockpit.

Wallace, the charismatic 23-year-old Alabama native, will drive a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford in the Sept. 16 Chicagoland 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

In an exclusive interview with POPULAR SPEED, Wallace said he is excited to reunite with RPM and extend his existing relationship with Nickelodeon. The television network is sponsoring Wallace at Chicagoland, where he will drive the Green Slime car from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.

“It came together fairly quickly,” said Wallace, who drove 12 XFINITY Series races for Roush Fenway Racing earlier this year before that team shut down due to a lack of sponsorship. “Nickelodeon and myself have formed a good relationship, a good partnership over the last three years, with our first race being the SpongeBob car at Talladega in 2015 and then the Shredder car last year at Chicago.

“This year, it’s a Nickelodeon-based paint scheme based on their whole brand,” he said. “It’s an exciting opportunity for me to get back behind the wheel of a race car. I’m ready to go. I wish it was this weekend.”

It’s been an interesting year so far for Wallace. He was impressive in a four-race stint this summer subbing for the injured Aric Almirola, posting a best finish of 11th at Kentucky Speedway in July. Wallace also won his only NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start of the year at Michigan International Speedway.

Wallace and car owner Richard Petty have become fast friends, and Wallace has enjoyed building relationships with the RPM team. “It’s a fun group to be around,” he said. “It’s always a pleasure to pop up at the race track and head over to the 43 hauler.”

Wallace’s performance subbing for Almirola and winning the Michigan truck race have raised his profile. “Going out and doing well in the 43, that brought a fresh, new light to the scene and … the truck win that really opened up some eyes.”

For his part, Wallace is ready to go race again.

“I’ve just got to go out there and make the most of it, have fun, and see what we can do to help that team, that organization grow and hopefully treat it just like the Michigan truck race: Go out there and win it,” said Wallace. “That’d be awesome.”

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with FOXSports.com, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.