Roush Fenway Racing continues to look for sponsorship for Wallace

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Darrell Wallace Jr. is planning to run a full XFINITY season but there are no guarantee he will, as Roush Fenway Racing continues the sponsorship hunt for Wallace’s team.

The 21-year-old who won four Camping World Truck Series races last season, moved to Roush after the season when Joe Gibbs Racing could not find sufficient sponsorship to put him in a full-time XFINITY ride.

Roush Fenway Racing now faces that challenge.

So why the difficulty in finding sponsorship for a driver who has won in NASCAR and is the lone African-American running full-time in any of the sport’s top three series?

“This sport, from Truck and XFINITY series, we’ve been scrapping and clawing to get sponsorship for everybody,’’ Roush Fenway Racing President Steve Newmark told MotorsportsTalk. “All the teams have been doing that. It’s not anything specific to Bubba. He’s unbelievably articulate and very talented and personable guy. We’re pretty confident we’ll be able to find someone that really is an anchor partner for him to grow with.’’

Newmark also noted that the team is only two months into its sponsorship search. The deal to sign Wallace came late last year after many companies had allocated their marketing budget.

Wallace said he won’t let the sponsorship uncertainty impact him on the track.

“You just kind of roll with it,’’ he said. “Try not to let that worry me. If it’s there, it’s there. We’ll just go out and win races. It hasn’t affected me.

Even if sponsorship can’t be found for every race, car owner Jack Roush has shown in the past a willingness to have the organization subsidize a car. That could be an option for Wallace.

“Jack really wants to run a full season, so it’s my job to go out there and deliver like any other driver, run out front and win races and you never know who will latch on,’’ Wallace said.

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.