LeBron James’ agent involved in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s hunt for sponsorship

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Darrell Wallace Jr.’s path to a new ride in NASCAR has led to an indirect intersection with NBA superstar LeBron James.

During its sponsorship hunt for Wallace, Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said the team set up a meeting for the driver with Maverick Carter, the agent who oversees much of James’ business empire.

Carter and James are childhood friends who co-founded LRMR, a sports and brand management company based in Akron, Ohio. LRMR, which started  in 2006 and also represents Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, has a business partnership with Fenway Sports Management, which falls under the Fenway Sports Group umbrella that also includes Roush Fenway Racing.

“The interest is pretty high (in Wallace), and we’ve worked closely with Fenway Sports Group,” Newmark said. “We’ve had him connected to (Carter) because LeBron is under the Fenway umbrella. We think there’s a lot of creative opportunities to do some really crossover promotions between sports with Bubba.

“So (with) LeBron and Johnny Manziel, John Henry has kind of created a big empire up there, obviously with Liverpool, NESN and Roush. There’s also a sports marketing arm that includes a lot of dynamic personalities. That gets us excited because we’re working with them to do things with our drivers as well.”

Wallace told MotorsportsTalk that he briefly talked with Carter recently.

We’re trying to get some things rolling there,” he said. “That’s a huge company (Fenway Sports Group). He knows that organization well. It could open a lot of doors. That’s really cool to know you have connections to LeBron and other key partners there. You have to go make the best of it.”

With his Oct. 26, 2013 win in the Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway, Wallace became the first African-American to win a NASCAR national series race in nearly 50 years (Wendell Scott, who will be inducted Friday into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, was the last at Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 1, 1963).

Wallace, 21, notched four victories in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing last season and finished third in points, but a lack of sponsorship left him without a ride. He moved to Roush last November and is expected to run a Ford full time in the 2015 XFINITY Series.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.