Editor’s note: Today’s Richard Petty Motorsports preview continues NASCAR.com’s countdown of team previews for the NASCAR Cup Series season, ranked in order of best finish in last year’s owner standings.
RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS
Driver: Bubba Wallace
Crew Chief: Jerry Baxter
What’s new: Baxter is back with Wallace and the move makes sense. The chemistry between Wallace and Baxter dates back to the duo‘s stint in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, where they made five trips to Victory Lane over a span of two seasons and finished third in the 2014 point standings. As Wallace enters his third full-time season in the Cup Series, a familiar face atop the pit box should bring new energy and excitement to the No. 43 team.
Team strength: Familiarity and experience building a winning culture together provides a huge boost for RPM in 2020. The team has established leadership with 34 years of NASCAR crew chief experience in Baxter, coupled with a now-veteran Cup Series driver in Wallace.
BUBBA WALLACE: No. 43 Chevrolet
2019 Stats: One top five, eight top 20s; 23.9 average finish with 96.9 percent of laps completed
2020 Championship Odds: 5000-1
Racing Insights Number to Know: Two. Wallace has a top-five finish in each of the last two seasons with the team. — Racing Insights
Fantasy Live Picks: Daytona, Indianapolis, Bristol
Outlook: Though not a title contender, Wallace seemed to find his stride towards the tail end of the season, picking up his second-best Cup Series finish with a third-place effort in Indianapolis and top-15 results at Richmond and Martinsville. This momentum should give him confidence heading into the Daytona 500 — where he finished runner-up in 2018 — and may bring him his first premier series win in 2020.
NASCAR.com 2020 team previews schedule
Jan. 20: Teams outside the top 30
Jan. 21: Go Fas Racing
Jan. 22: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 23: Richard Petty Motorsports
Jan. 24: Germain Racing
Jan. 27: Leavine Family Racing
Jan. 28: Richard Childress Racing
Jan. 29: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 30: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 31: Roush Fenway Racing
Feb. 3: Hendrick Motorsports
Feb. 4: Chip Ganassi Racing
Feb. 5: Team Penske
Feb. 6: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 7: Joe Gibbs Racing