Rusty Wallace


Rusty Wallace

Infobox NASCAR driver
Name = Russell William Wallace


Birthdate = birth date and age|1956|8|14 | Birthplace = Fenton, Missouri
Best_Cup_Pos = 1st - 1989
Cup_Wins = 55
Cup_Top_Tens = 349
Cup_Poles = 36
First_Cup_Race = 1980 Atlanta 500 (Atlanta)
First_Cup_Win = 1986 Valleydale 500 (Bristol)
Last_Cup_Win = 2004 Advance Auto Parts 500 (Martinsville)
Last_Cup_Race = 2005 Ford 400 (Homestead)
Awards = 1979 USAC Stock Car Rookie of the Year

1983 ASA Champion

1984 Rookie of the Year

1989 Winston Cup Champion

1989 The Winston Champion

1991 IROC champion

1998 Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers

Years_in_Cup = 25
Total_Cup_Races = 706
Best_Busch_Pos = 32nd - 1987 (Busch)
Busch_Wins = 0
Busch_Top_Tens = 18
Busch_Poles = 3
First_Busch_Race = 1985 Goody's 300 (Daytona)
Last_Busch_Race = 2005 O'Reilly Challenge (Fort Worth)
Years_in_Busch = 9
Total_Busch_Races = 42
Best_Truck_Pos = 32nd - 1987 (Busch)
Truck_Wins = 0
Truck_Top_Tens = 1
Truck_Poles = 0
First_Truck_Race = 1996 DeVilbiss Superfinish 200 (Nazareth)
Last_Truck_Race = 1996 DeVilbiss Superfinish 200 (Nazareth)
Years_in_Truck = 1
Total_Truck_Races = 1
Updated_On = September 19, 2008

Russell William "Rusty" Wallace (born August 14, 1956) is a former NASCAR champion, NASCAR Nationwide Series car owner, and television broadcaster with ESPN and ESPN on ABC. Wallace had his first live broadcast of the Indy 500 on May 28, 2006. Wallace appeared in the 1990 film "Days of Thunder".

Early racing career

Wallace was born in Fenton, Missouri. In the late '70s, prior to joining the NASCAR circuit, Wallace made a name for himself racing around the Midwest winning a pair of local track championships. Rusty won more than 200 short track races. In 1979 he won United States Auto Club's (USAC) Stock Car Rookie of the Year honors, finishing third in the points behind A.J. Foyt and Bay Darnell. [http://www.ultimateracinghistory.com/usacstock.htm "USAC Stock Car Championship History"] ; ultimateracinghistory.com, Retrieved September 7 2007] He finished second in USAC Stock Car in 1981 behind Joe Ruttman.

In 1983 he won the American Speed Association (ASA) championship while competing against some of NASCAR's future stars like Mark Martin, 1992 NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki and Dick Trickle.

NASCAR career

Wallace finished second in his first NASCAR race at Atlanta 500 in 1980, having started 7th, driving for Roger Penske in the #16. He made nine further NASCAR appearances over the next three years, although he didn't score any further top 10 finishes until he went fullt-time in 1984. Wallace joined the Winston Cup circuit full-time in 1984, winning NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors and finishing 14th in the final points standings. He raced in the #88 Gatorade Pontiac for Cliff Stewart with the best finish of 4th in 30 races, along with two 5th places and four further top 10's. Wallace stayed with Cliff Stewart for 1985, but this time in the #2 Alugard Pontiac. In 29 races, Rusty had 2 top 5's 8 top 10's.

For 1986 he switched teams to the #27 Alugard Pontiac for Raymond Beadle. Rusty's first win came on April 6, 1986, at Bristol Motor Speedway. He also won at Martinsville on September 21st. He finished the year with 2 wins, 4 top 5's and 16 top 10's in 29 races. Wallace finished 6th in the points, his first top 10 in the standings.

For 1987 Wallace gained sponsoship from Kodak, establishing the #27 Kodak Pontiac livery his early career is most remembered for. He took victories at Watkins Glen and Riverside, as well first series pole at Michigan in June. These results were backed up with 9 top 5's and 16 top 10's in 29 races. He finished 5th in points.

Wallace developed his career further in 1988, scoring six victories including four of the final five races of the year. His wins came at Michigan, Charlotte, North Wilkesboro, Rockingham, the final race ever at Riverside, and the season finale at Atlanta. With these 6 wins as well as 19 top 5's four further top 10's, he finished 2nd to Bill Elliott by 24 points.

In 1989, Wallace won the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship,with crew chief Barry Dodson, by finishing 15th at the Atlanta Journal 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, to beating out close friend and fierce rival Dale Earnhardt who won the race, by twelve points. Wallace also won The Winston in controversial fashion, by spinning out Darrell Waltrip on the last lap.

In 1990, Raymond Beadle switched sponsors, to Miller Genuine Draft. That association lasted one year, with Rusty having 18 wins for Beadle. In 1991 Wallace took the sponsorship with him to Roger Penske/Penske Racing, and he continued in the #2 MGD Pontiac. He also won the 1991 IROC championship.

While 1992 only carried him one win, the win at the Miller 400 was satisfying; it was the first win for Rusty in a car which arguably was Rusty's best known chassis for his career, one affectionately known as "Midnight" after the win. "Midnight" would be raced for six seasons, carrying various race wins, before being retired in 1997.

1993 was arguably his most successful season despite two major accidents at Daytona and Talladega in which his car went airborne and flipped several times. He had already won the 2nd race of the season Feb 28th 1993 at North Carolina Motor Speedway(Rockingham closed in 2005) but also a sad one as his friend and reigning Nascar Champion Alan Kulwicki was killed flying into Bristol Speedway in April 1993, because of this Rusty won the race at Bristol and in respect to Alan Kulwicki he did a "Polish victory lap" - turning his car around and driving around the track the wrong way, as made famous by Kulwicki. Every race Rusty won that year he did a "Kulwicki victory lap" He won all 3 races in April (Bristol 4/4/93, North Wilkesboro 4/18/93(Track closed in 1996) and Martinsville 4/25/93 also he won the first ever race at the New Hampshire Speedway starting 33rd on July 11th. He won 10 of the 30 races, but finished second in the final points standings, 80 points behind Earnhardt. He ended the season strong, finishing in the Top-3 in all but two of the final ten races of the season.

Penske switched to Ford in 1994.

In 1997, Miller changed the teams sponsorship to Miller Lite, replacing the black and gold with a blue and white scheme.

In 1998, Wallace won the Bud Shootout at Daytona, A non-points race for the previous years pole winners and past winners of the race. It was the first win for Ford's new Taurus, and Wallace's only victory at NASCAR's premier track (as well as his only victory in any restrictor plate race) in a Cup car

In 2003, Penske Racing switched to Dodge, and appropriately, in 2004, Wallace won his 55th, and final, race on a short track: the 2004 spring Martinsville Speedway race. It was also the last win for the track under the ownership of the H. Clay Earles Trust; the death of Mary Weatherford (matriarch of the trust) forced the Trust to sell the track a month later.

On August 30, 2004 Wallace announced that the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season would be his last as a full-time driver. Although at the time the possibility remained that he may have continued to run a limited schedule after the 2005 season -- as semi-retirees Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte also have done, Wallace's current broadcasting contract forbids him from doing so.

In 2006, Wallace returned to his Pontiac roots when he raced a Crawford-Pontiac sportscar, painted black and carrying the familiar stylised #2, also sponsored by Callaway Golf, in the 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona, teamed with Danica Patrick and Allan McNish.

To date, Rusty had 55 NASCAR wins, which is tied for 8th on NASCAR's all-time wins list. He retired after the 2005 season with a 14.4 career average finish.

print Cup Statistics

Broadcast career

On January 25, 2006, it was announced that Rusty would cover auto racing events for ESPN and ABC. Despite Rusty's lack of open-wheel racing experience, his assignments began with the IndyCar Series and included the Indianapolis 500 (in a perhaps forgivable lapse, he described a thrilling battle on the last lap as "The most exciting Daytona 500 ever!"). He joined the NASCAR broadcasting team for both networks when they started coverage of the sport in 2007. [http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060125/SPORTS01/60125024] He signed a six year deal with ESPN in 2006. Rusty also returned to commentate for the 2007 Indy 500.

Car owner

He also owns and operates Rusty Wallace, Inc., which fields the Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches / Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet #66 NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by his son Steve Wallace and the #64 NASCAR Nationwide Series Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet driven by David Stremme.

Family

Rusty's two brothers, Kenny and Mike, who are from Missouri, also currently race on the NASCAR circuit. Rusty and his wife Patti have three children -- Greg, Katie, and Steven and now live on a large ranch outside Charlotte, N.C. Steven races in the Nationwide Series.

Off the track, Wallace is an avid pilot, owning several airplanes and a helicopter.

Iowa Speedway

In late 2005 Rusty Wallace broke ground in Newton, Iowa on his "Signature Design Speedway". The Iowa Speedway had its first race on September 15th and will host many races in 2007 including an IRL race. The timing couldn't have come any better as Maytag closed down a couple months before the ground breaking, causing many jobs to close in Newton. The track is noted for its structural similarity to Richmond International Raceway, where Wallace has won 6 times.

References

*"The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide 1998-99", by Bill Fleischman and Al Pearce (1999)

External links

* [http://www.rustywallace.com/ Rusty Wallace's official web site]
* [http://www.iowaspeedway.com/ Rusty Wallace's signature designed speedway]
* [http://www.nascar.com/drivers/dps/rwallace00/wc/ NASCAR.com: Rusty Wallace]
* [http://www.nascar.com/2005/news/headlines/cup/06/28/rwallace_qa/index.html/ June 2005 interview with Rusty Wallace]
* [http://www.rustywallace.info/ Rusty Wallace info]
* [http://www.penskeracing.com/ Penske Racing]
* [http://www.racing-reference.info/driver?id=wallaru01 NASCAR and IROC driver's statistics at racing-reference.info]
* [http://www.rusty2wo.com/ A Rusty Wallace fan site, www.rusty2wo.com]
* [http://www.rustywallacefans.com/ An online community and new era for Rusty Wallace fans- http://www.rustywallacefans.com ]


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