That’s the question Darrell Wallace Jr. says many young race car drivers must ask themselves at some point in their career.
It’s the question Wallace is asking himself weeks after his fourth and final Cup Series start in the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports.
Wallace and Ryan Blaney were guests on NASCAR America and they discussed the struggles and opportunities young drivers have in today’s NASCAR landscape. Both friends, Blaney and Wallace find themselves in very different positions.
Wallace doesn’t have a NASCAR ride after sponsorship money ran out for his No. 6 Ford in the Xfinity Series owned by Roush Fenway Racing. His stint in the No. 43 ended once Aric Almirola returned from a back injury.
Blaney, who won his first Cup race last month with Wood Brothers Racing, was able to announce last week he will move over to Team Penske full-time next season in the No. 12 Ford.
“Congrats to Ryan Preece and winning that race this weekend at Iowa, that was awesome to see,” Wallace said. “Racing against him and knowing where he came from with the modified background. He won that race, but at the same time…what’s next? He was probably on the phone with Coach (Joe Gibbs), ‘Hey, thanks for driving our car. Have a nice day.’ That’s the tough part about it.”
Blaney talked about how early drivers can break into NASCAR now compared to when his father Dave Blaney reached NASCAR, with 16-year-olds being able to start at small tracks in the Camping World Truck Series.
“That’s incredible to race a truck at 16, granted it’s not a mile-and-a-half, you have to wait until you’re 18 for that,” Blaney said. “That’s an experience you can’t ever ask for.”
Said Jeff Burton, “Young drivers having success opens doors for other young drivers.”
Watch the above video for the full discussion.