Bubba Wallace Operating As If Kentucky Could Be ‘Last Race’ Of 2017

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Like most of the NASCAR world, Darrell Wallace Jr. has no idea whether he might be racing after this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. He doesn’t sound like he’s letting that interfere with his preparation, though.

With Aric Almirola making steady progress to return to the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford, Wallace could be left out of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride very soon. Almirola could be back in the seat as soon as July 16 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and since Roush Fenway Racing shuttered Wallace’s former No. 6 team, the 23-year-old doesn’t even have an Xfinity Series car to fall back on.

That’s made it very easy for Wallace to treat Saturday’s Quaker State 400 like it’s his last race of the year — because it actually could be.

“Right now, if we’re going off of he-say, she-say stuff, then this weekend is my last race of the year,” Wallace said Thursday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I have no future plans after Kentucky unless Aric is not cleared to race Loudon. Then, obviously, I’m in the car until he’s cleared. This weekend could be my last, next weekend could be my last. Who knows?

“But I know once he’s back in it, I’ll be sitting on the sidelines until who knows when. That’s the tough part. I try not to think about that too much because we’ve still got a lot of racing left and a lot of on-track time left with this weekend. The last thing I need is to put pressure on myself to go out there and overperform and do the opposite of what ‘The King’ asked me to do, which was to not be a superhero.”

Since making his Cup debut at Pocono Raceway, Wallace has run three races, improving his finishing position each time out. His path back to Cup is murky, however, as NESN Fuel discussed in this week’s episode of “The Track Bar.”

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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