It was just 4 races, but I believe Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. proved he is ready to get behind the wheel of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car full time in 2018.
Wallace subbed for injured Aric Almirola in the iconic #43 Ford and got better every week. Almirola will be back from his back injury this week in Loudon.
Wallace got his first ever start in the Cup Series at Pocono and finished 26th. If not for 2 speeding infractions on pit road, he might have had a better finish in that one and might not have finished a lap down.
In his next start in Michigan, he finished 19th and ended the race on the lead lap.
Next up was Daytona and he would finish the race 15th and once again ended the race on the lead lap.
And last Saturday in Kentucky, Wallace finished 11th-- one lap down. He shouldn't feel bad about being a lap down as 31 of the 40 cars in the field ended at least one lap down. That's how dominate Martin Truex Jr was on Saturday night.
Almirola has raced at Kentucky 5 times with a best finish of 12th. Saturday was Wallace's first shot and he finished 11th. Do I say that to say that Wallace should be driving the 43 instead of Almirola? NO! That is just one race and Almirola has earned the right to continue his season in that ride. I say that to highlight the progress Wallace has made in his short time in the Cup Series.
Each time Wallace got behind the wheel, he brought the #43 back to the shop without wrecking it which means he can take care of his equipment. Nothing gains you more respect in a garage than that fact.
Will Wallace get a Cup ride in 2018? I think the answer is yes.
Silly season in NASCAR has already started as Matt Kenseth will not be in #20 next season. Erik Jones will take over that ride in 2018 which means the #77 is open now. And we all know the #88 will have a new driver in 2018 as Dale Earnhardt Jr will retire at seasons end. I think there could be even more changes in the coming weeks as the playoffs approach and teams fall short of the ultimate goal.
As seats get filled, others will open as well and I truly think what Wallace did in those 4 races will get him a seat in 2018.
In my opinion, he has earned it.