Bubba Wallace may turn out to be half proprietor of Richard Petty Motorsports, however ought to he?

Final 12 months, Sporting Information watched as Bubba Wallace had Richard Petty’s autograph tattooed on the again of his thigh. Wallace had ended up on the unsuitable finish of a social media problem, and as a person of his phrase, he actually had Petty’s identify completely etched into his pores and skin.

This 12 months, it’s Petty’s race group that’s trying to figuratively get Wallace’s identify completely etched into its group.

Richard Petty Motorsports, which is co-owned by Andrew Murstein and the 83-year-old NASCAR legend, has offered Wallace an ownership stake within the group as a part of its contract extension provide, in accordance with Forbes. Wallace, who has pushed full time for RPM within the Cup Collection since 2018, is ready to be a free-agent driver after the 2020 season.

MORE: Why Wallace isn’t to blame for the noose case

This can be a uncommon however not unprecedented provide for Wallace, who at 26 is likely one of the greatest and positively hottest younger drivers in NASCAR’s Cup Collection. As Forbes notes, Jeff Gordon was given a bit of possession when he signed a lifetime take care of Hendrick Motorsports in 2002. Stewart-Haas Racing grew to become what it’s at present after Gene Haas gave Tony Stewart 50 % possession of the group after signing in 2008.

The report didn’t specify what share of possession RPM is providing Wallace.

Murstein advised Forbes he expects a deal within the coming weeks, however Wallace on Sunday advised NBC Sports activities reporter Marty Snider that he has “a lot of options on the table.”

In line with the Sports activities Enterprise Journal’s Adam Stern, a type of choices could possibly be Chip Ganassi Racing, which has an open Cup Collection seat for 2021 after firing Kyle Larson due to the driving force’s use of the N-word. Two of CGR’s major sponsors, McDonalds and Coca-Cola, additionally work with Wallace.

A transfer to CGR in idea could be an gear/assets improve for Wallace. RPM has been underfunded in comparison with its competitors throughout Wallace’s three-year run with the group, which is a part of the rationale he has by no means received a Cup race.

Nevertheless, due to the current recognition spike for NASCAR’s solely Black driver, that might change. Wallace has been a leader in NASCAR amid a worldwide push towards racism this summer time, and new sponsors are leaping on the probability to capitalize on his elevated fame.

“We went from most likely having one assembly every week with a possible sponsor to 5 the final 5 weeks or so,” Murstein mentioned. “I believe Bubba might be probably the most recognizable NASCAR driver now, apart from Richard Petty. So we’ve acquired most likely the 2 most recognizable names within the sport. It’s a marketer’s dream.”

The query is whether or not the rise in sponsorship {dollars} can result in sufficient enchancment in gear so Wallace can compete on the monitor whereas racing for Petty. Forbes this 12 months ranked RPM because the ninth-most valuable NASCAR group, value $28 million. Which is nothing in contrast with the $315 million Hendrick Motorsports operation, for instance. And it’s not like Wallace’s sponsorship potential is tied to his racing for RPM; that cash will observe him wherever he goes.

MORE: NASCAR’s explanation of the Wallace noose case

Most younger, promising racing skills like Wallace usually go away smaller groups like RPM for higher alternatives with richer groups, however on the similar time, most of them aren’t supplied an possession stake to remain.

Wallace is 22nd in NASCAR Cup Collection championship points after 20 races this season. With six races remaining earlier than the beginning of the 10-race NASCAR playoffs, Wallace is 4 spots and 118 factors behind the postseason cut-off place.

Merely put: Wallace wants a greater automobile. And it appears RPM is making an attempt to persuade him he can get one with out leaving the group.

“The great factor about this sport is that you are able to do higher rapidly if you happen to spend the cash,” Murstein mentioned. “It’s not like different sports activities the place you solely have a lot expertise. Right here, the know-how on the automobile is a part of the expertise.”