Sixes stick together.
It’s been more than a decade since Mark Martin last climbed out of the No. 6 Ford, but for a generation of race fans, he and that number might as well be one and the same.
So it was little surprise when Martin reached out to another former driver of a No. 6 car, urging him to keep his head up.
After the news Wednesday that Paul Menard will join Wood Brothers Racing in 2018, filling a void created by Team Penske expanding to bring Ryan Blaney into the fold, it appeared that Darrell Wallace Jr. had lost out on yet another opportunity to find a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ride. Almost immediately, the 58-year-old NASCAR Hall of Famer reached out to the 23-year-old on social media, telling him not to get discouraged.
Wallace and Martin are linked through their digits with Roush Fenway Racing — Martin for 18 years in the No. 6 Cup car and Wallace more recently in the No. 6 Xfinity Series car. Wallace, who this season became the first African-American to start a Cup race in more than a decade, is without a home for the rest of this season after RFR shut down his Xfinity team due to lack of sponsorship.
Ford and Wallace’s agency reportedly are working hard to get the Mobile, Ala., native into a full-time Cup ride next year, but the Wood Brothers news removes one of his possible destinations rumored for 2018.
Despite the setback, options still remain for Wallace. Richard Petty Motorsports, which hired him on a part-time basis to fill in after primary driver Aric Almirola suffered a broken back, reportedly is seeking sponsorship to add a second car next year, with Wallace as the driver.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images