Richard Petty Motorsports and the U.S. Air Force will continue their sponsorship deal into 2018, sponsoring Darrell Wallace Jr.‘s No. 43 Chevrolet in two races.
The Air Force will be on the car for the July race at Daytona International Speedway and the Nov. 11 race at Phoenix Raceway, which is on Veteran’s Day.
The deal extends RPM’s relationship with the Air Force to its 10th consecutive year.
The Air Force has been on the No. 43 for at least two races per year since 2011. It was a sponsor for three races in 2015.
“I’m proud to join the men and women of the Air Force and represent them on and off the track,” Wallace said in a press release. “I’m also really looking forward to meeting the next wave of Airmen and play my part to engage, inspire and bring awareness to the unique opportunities which lie within our United States Air Force. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with some Airmen and they are the best at what they do. I admire them for their service and the protections they provide our country.”
It is the third sponsor deal announced for Wallace’s rookie season in the No. 43.
STP, which has been associated with Richard Petty since the early 1970s, will also be back with the team. STP sponsored Aric Almirola in the Southern 500 and the spring Martinsville race last season. It has sponsored the No. 43 in two races each year since 2013.
Kurt Busch posted the fastest single lap in the final practice for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway with a speed of 94.061 mph.
He beat second-place Denny Hamlin (94.012 mph) by .040 seconds.
Martin Truex Jr. (93.718) had the third fastest lap, but the team will have some work to do before Saturday’s qualification. With nine minutes remaining on the clock, he ran into the back of Bubba Wallace in the esses and did significant damage to his nose. Wallace landed 34th on the chart with a speed of 91.641 mph.
“I’ve been very good this year about not replying to mean people, and you all should do the same,’’ Hamlin said Friday at Sonoma Raceway.
“I’m making a (request) right now to every driver, every team owner, every NASCAR executive and every media member, stop replying to people who make nonsense comments. They have 16 followers. Don’t give them your 100,000. Do not give them your 100,000 as their stage. No one will ever see their comment, just brush it by, talk about the positives and I’m not a positive person.”
Asked how does one ignore such divisive comments, Hamlin said: “You just scroll by it. Forget it. That person doesn’t exit. They’re an admirer that has lost their way.’’