NASCAR: Erik Jones to replace Bubba Wallace at Richard Petty Motorsports

Nathan Solomon
NASCAR
TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – JUNE 22: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, and team owner, and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty stand for the national anthem prior to the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 22, 2020 in Talladega, Alabama. A noose was found in the garage stall of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway a week after the organization banned the Confederate flag at its facilities. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Richard Petty Motorsports has announced that Erik Jones will be replacing Bubba Wallace in 2021, driving the iconic No. 43 car.

Jones, 24, is currently with Joe Gibbs Racing, but the organization announced on August 10th that Christopher Bell would be taking his ride. Bell spent 2018 and 2019 under Gibbs in the Xfinity series, and is driving for Leavine Family Racing in 2020. His announcement to Gibbs in 2021 came after Leavine Family Racing announced they were ceasing operations after this season.

After spending his rookie season with Furniture Row Racing in 2017, Jones filled Matt Kenseth’s seat in the No. 20 car in 2018. Jones has picked up two wins in three seasons for Gibbs, finishing in the top-10 48 times and finishing in the top-five 28 times.

In four full-time Cup Series seasons, Jones has finished in the top-20 in points in all four seasons while making the playoffs twice. He failed to advance to the round of 12 both times that he made it.

Jones will be taking over the reigns from Bubba Wallace, who will be departing to a team owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan. In Richard Petty Motorsports’ 12 year history, the team has picked up five wins and 46 top-five finishes in 861 races. However, the team hasn’t won since 2014 when Aric Almirola took the No. 43 to victory lane at Daytona in the Coke Zero 400. In 109 races with Richard Petty Motorsports, Wallace picked up nine top-10s and three top-fives.

With the confirmation of Jones to RPM, it leaves just one high-tier ride available in the Cup Series. The No. 88 for Hendrick Motorsports remains free, a ride where Jones was originally rumored to be a favorite.

In 2021 and beyond, Erik Jones will look to get The King and the No. 43 back into victory lane for Richard Petty Motorsports.