Darrell Wallace Jr. saw his No. 43 car’s new colors for the first time Tuesday morning. His team owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, remarked how he liked the varied shades of blue, a color that’s been a family racing tradition for decades, as he helped unveil the ride at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The ongoing search for new sponsorship hues in the sport’s top levels still demands diligence, but Wallace’s winsome personality has helped bring new companies to the negotiating table. The newest is World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based tech solutions provider, which has signed on with Richard Petty Motorsports for a six-race deal.
Besides the influx of financial help, RPM also stands to benefit from their new partner’s background in engineering and data processing. What WWT receives from the agreement is prime exposure alongside one of NASCAR’s most iconic car numbers and a closer connection with one of the sport’s most charismatic young drivers in Wallace.
“We try to do everything off the race track, on the race track,” said Wallace, who has maintained a rollicking social media presence throughout his career’s progression. “We’ve got a great sales team back at the shop that has worked their tails off to pitch to anybody and everybody to get some colors on these cars for the races we didn’t have, and it’s starting to come through. Leading laps, we led laps two days ago at Talladega. That was great. Back at Bristol when we took the lead there for a strong performance, so we’re getting better and better each and every weekend.”
Matt Horner, WWT’s Senior VP for Global Sales, said that the team’s glimmers of performance helped sweeten the deal, but that Wallace’s level of engagement was a difference-maker. Horner said both Petty and the 24-year-old rookie visited the company’s headquarters in January and met with WWT representatives again before last month’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Horner said those personal interactions, plus Wallace’s outpouring of emotion after strong runs earlier in the season, were endearing.
“What we like is that authentic personality,” Horner said. “There isn’t anything stale or fake about it, it’s just he’s just open and vulnerable with his emotions, which is also a good thing. I think it takes a strong character to be able to share what he shared after Bristol and even Daytona. We like that kind of energy.”
Brian Moffitt, RPM’s Chief Executive Officer, said that having one of stock-car racing’s most vibrant personalities behind the wheel has been an organizational boon. And Moffitt’s claim that Petty andWallace share similar traits in their connection to fans holds water, as both driver and team owner dutifully signed autographs in the moments after Tuesday’s announcement.
“It’s actually a blessing,” Moffitt said. “To have Bubba and what he does with social media and the way he interacts with the fans is a lot of the way Richard interacts with the fans. So it’s been a real joy to see that. I think Richard’s fans are Bubba’s fans, and vice versa, and we’re picking up a lot of new fans because of it.
“Folks really want to see that 43 car on the race track and see it do well, and Bubba has proven that he has the ability to do it. I think our team has proven we have the ability to put a good car under him, and now with this new partnership with World Wide Technology, hopefully we’ll just get that much better.”