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Bubba Wallace Will Miss ‘Time at Home’ with Longtime Girlfriend and Puppy as NASCAR Season Picks Up

“We’re fortunate to have two more days at home now,” Bubba Wallace tells PEOPLE of his changed travel schedule due to the pandemic

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace has enjoyed every extra minute at home with his longtime girlfriend amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chatting with PEOPLE last week as part of his partnership with McDonald’s Black and Positively Golden Mentors Program, the trailblazing athlete opens up about spending time with his girlfriend Amanda Carter and their adorable new Aussiedoodle puppy, Asher.

“We’re fortunate to have two more days at home now [because] I’m flying out the day of the race and sometimes the night before, so that’s different, but we manage it,” Wallace says, noting his NASCAR schedule changes due to the pandemic.

As the racing season has picked back up again, the driver tells PEOPLE he’ll miss “the time at home.”

So far this year, Wallace tells PEOPLE, “We’ve just been really enjoying Asher.”

“He’s been a really good dog, like an extremely good dog. He makes it really hard to leave during the day. But he’s a blast and we’ve just been really enjoying our time together with him,” he adds.

Bubba, né William Darrell Wallace Jr., 27, previously joked that he wasn’t quite sure Carter would adapt to being a dog mom.

“She was never really keen on getting a dog,” he explains now. “She always thought, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be taking care of him. You’re gonna be racing, you’re gonna be gone.’ “

But things changed for the pair, who have been able to care for their pup together.

“The pandemic hit and gave us an opportunity for both of us to be home and she was like, ‘Oh cool, a dog,’ ” says the star. “Now it’s like, she’s at her place for a couple of days and she’s calling every five minutes just to talk to the dog. [Amanda] misses the dog [and] loves the dog.”

Of course, “[Amanda] is head over heels about Asher [now]. He’s pretty dang cute, but he’s a handful and we love him.”

The sweet couple became dog parents to little Asher in July of last year, announcing the news on Instagram, “Well… we did a thing today!! Asher meet the world..world meet Asher #aussiedoodle.”

Of course, being a dog dad has taught Wallace a thing or two about patience.

“I need more of it,” jokes the Cup Series racer. “My patience runs thin quick. But we get to practice that every day with Asher.”