Despite search for sponsorship, Darrell Wallace Jr. says he’s not in danger of missing races

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DALLAS – A sight regularly seen every week in NASCAR is of a car pulling into Victory Lane with a laundry list of sponsor decals plastered all over the body.

The driver’s first priority in post-race interviews, after he’s finished celebrating, is usually to list said sponsors, thanking them and his team.

This is a scenario Darrell Wallace Jr. has been fighting for the last 12 years of his career.

In his rookie season in both the Xfinity Series and with Roush Fenway Racing, Wallace has a very short list to thank when he gets out of a car.

“It’s a struggle for everybody in the sport,” Wallace said during Texas Motor Speedway’s Media Day at the House of Blues. “I’ve never had an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, I’m Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the No. 6 … such and such.’ It’s just been Ford Mustang.”

During his prior two years with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, Wallace competed in 44 races and won five. The majority of the time the sponsor on his truck was some variation of its manufacturer, Toyota.

In his second-to-most-recent win, at last fall’s Martinsville race, his sponsor was the induction of Wendell Scott into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, while Toyota Care graced his Truck in his most recent win in last year’s season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Through the first five Xfinity races this year with Roush Fenway Racing it’s more of the same, with Wallace racing with the decals of Ford EcoBoost or Roush Performance Parts on his No. 6 Ford Mustang.

But even devoid of additional sponsorship, Wallace says there’s no danger of him missing any races.

“Our goal and our mission is to be at Homestead at the end of the year and winning that race,” said Wallace, whose early racing career was primarily supported financially by his father’s industrial cleaning company in Tennessee. “We also just have to keep performing on track to earn that sponsorship.

“My dad’s company, I don’t count that as a sponsorship. I’m just thankful for the opportunity we had growing up,” said Wallace. “The sponsorship is still a battle, and we’re still fighting that. But I think we have some really good things in the works, for sure.”

To this point, Wallace believes his on-track performance speaks for itself. He’s fifth in the season standings. Wallace just needs to convince a sponsor to believe in him. Prospective sponsors want the right person representing their brand, especially when a season’s sponsorship in the Xfinity Series can go for as much as $10 million total, according to recent reports.

“The sponsors really just want to get to know you and know what you’re about off the race track and how you carry yourself and that’s the main thing,” Wallace said. “It’s just all about being yourself, impressing them in the right way. Not just saying what they want to hear, but delivering the message in a positive and 100 percent real way.”

While he battles his way on track to be able to thank a permanent sponsor in Victory Lane, Wallace is grateful to have car owner Jack Roush’s support.

“He wants to run for a full season,” Wallace said. “He believes in me and that’s the biggest thing. You have the support from Jack and he wants us to succeed, and I think it’s really cool that he’s in the debrief meetings with us on Monday at 2 o’clock and he want’s to know why did we finish like that? What do we need to improve on? He’s a racer. He gets it.”

Updated entry lists for Cup, Truck at Martinsville

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Here are the entry lists for this weekend’s races.

Cup – STP 500 (2 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox Sports 1)

Thirty-six cars are entered for the sixth Cup race of the year. D.J. Kennington is listed in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports entry.

Jeb Burton is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 Ford.

Click here for the entry list.

Gander Outdoors Truck – Martinsville 250 (2 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1)

Thirty-nine trucks are entered. Those also entered in the Cup race are Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Ross Chastain. Bubba Wallace is entered in AM Racing’s No. 22 truck.

Click here for the entry list.

NASCAR America Motormouths at 5 p.m. ET with Bubba Wallace

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America presents Motormouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Rutledge Wood hosts with Kyle Petty and they’ll be joined by special guest Bubba Wallace.

Fans will have the chance to call into the show to ask questions.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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Bubba Wallace entered in Truck race at Martinsville

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AM Racing announced Wednesday that Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 22 entry in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway.

AM Racing tweeted: “In an effort to advance the performance component of our program, we will be putting a different Chevrolet driver in the seat of the No. 22 Chevrolet Silverado for Martinsville Speedway this weekend.”

AM Racing stated that Wallace “has been selected with very specific objectives regarding program feedback and development. His record at the track speaks for itself.”

Wallace, who will be on Wednesday’s NASCAR America (5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN), has two wins in four starts in the Truck series at Martinsville. He won there in 2013 and in 2014. Both times he won driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Austin Wayne Self had driven the No. 22 entry in the first three Truck races of the season. He finished ninth at Daytona and followed that with a 27th-place finish at Atlanta and a 15th-place finish in Las Vegas. He is 12th in the points.