The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season ushers in a new era for Richard Petty Motorsports.
The legendary team has a new location, manufacturer and driver all in place for the coming season.
RPM has moved to the campus of Richard Childress Racing and now has its headquarters adjacent from the organization's main location in Welcome, N.C. As part of the new partnership, the Petty team has changed manufacturers from Ford to Chevrolet and will receive chassis and manufacturing support from RCR as well as using ECR engines.
The man behind the wheel of the iconic No. 43 is Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr., who will get his first full-time shot in the Cup Series and campaign for Rookie of the Year honors.
"We're coming together," Wallace said of the team's major overhaul and transition. "Right before the holidays, we were moved in. We had stuff in the shop. It was here, there, everywhere. Come back after the new year and stuff was organized.
"We just started getting cars on the floor to be able to assemble and build last week, two weeks ago, so it's all coming together in a timely manner. But we also know that it's also crunch time, and we have to really get moving."
Wallace did a fill-in stint for the team last year in the aftermath of Aric Almirola injuring his back in an accident at Kansas Speedway and missing races. Wallace finished as high as 11th at Kentucky during his RPM time and believes that experience will be beneficial to this year's effort.
"Yeah, going into those four races last year, it was like, okay, this isn't my car, this isn't my ride, no need to throw that extra little bit out there," he explained. "Let's just get through, and we ended up having some of the best races. We were on the cusp of fighting for a top 10 there at Kentucky.
"Coming back into this year, it's been so nice to walk into the shop and be like, hey, man, good to see you again. No restarting over. Maybe just learning names of the people that I didn't meet from behind the scenes, front office people, parts room, stuff like that. That's a new process for me. It's one of those deals like, okay; we've got a good thing going here, so I'm excited about that.
Wallace had the opportunity to test the new No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 during a two-day organizational test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.