"This was not an easy decision,” Bubba Wallace wrote

By Ally Mauch
September 10, 2020 03:54 PM
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Bubba Wallace and Richard Petty
Matt Sullivan/Getty

Bubba Wallace is moving on.

The 26-year-old NASCAR driver announced Thursday that he will be leaving Richard Petty Motorsports after the 2020 season.

"This was not an easy decision as I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Petty and his family, but I believe it's time for someone else to take over the reins of the No. 43," Wallace, who has raced with Richard Petty Motorsports for three seasons, wrote on Twitter.

His post continued, "Thank you to the King and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to start my Cup Series career. I've grown so much as a driver and as a person since joining them. We've got nine more races together, and I hope we can finish the 2020 season on a high note."

Richard Petty Motorsports said it will announce a new driver "in the near future," according to The Associated Press.

Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR's Cup Series, has gained national attention as an activist in recent months. In June, he successfully lobbied for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at tracks.

The following month, the athlete opened up to PEOPLE about the racism he's experienced.

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"Whenever I was younger, I never would understand it, but my parents would always just be like, 'You know what, don't mind that BS that's going on over there. Let's come back next week and beat their tails,' " he said in July. "And that's what we did. We'd come back and eventually shut them up. So, it's been like that ever since."

"And now that I do understand it, I look at it and laugh and just think of where we're at this world," he added. "Obviously it still goes on every day, but for people to use that as something to offend me, or affect me, or knock me off my block, that ain't going to happen. It only motivates me to do better."