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.

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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