The fourth part of Stock Car Spin’s NASCAR Hall of Fame profile focuses on 1989 NASCAR Sprint (then-Winston) Cup champion Rusty Wallace. Wallace was one of five men recently selected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Feb. 8, 2013, as part of the third class of Hall inductees, joining Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas and Leonard Wood.
Wallace made the move to NASCAR after a successful stint in ASA (American Speed Association) racing. He was impressive his first time out at the Cup level, finishing second at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a car owned by Roger Penske. He made the full-time leap into big-time NASCAR Cup level racing a few years later in 1984, this time driving for Cliff Stewart.
Wallace finally made his way to victory lane in 1986 at Bristol Motor Speedway after making a move to Blue Max Racing. While with that team he went on to win 18 races and claim the 1989 championship before reuniting with Penske in 1991.
Wallace finished out his racing career with the Penske organization, retiring from competition in 2005. While at Penske Racing, he posted 37 more race wins.
By the end of his career, Wallace tallied 55 wins, tying him for eighth on the all-time wins list. During his racing career, he became known as a short track master, of sorts, as nearly half of his race wins came at tracks of less than a mile in length. Wallace won a total of 25 times at Britol Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway and Richmond International Raceway — all short tracks that were on the NASCAR schedule throughout Wallace’s career.
After retiring from competition, Wallace moved into the broadcast booth. In his first year post-retirement, he was part of the broadcast team for IndyCar races on ABC/ESPN. He’s still with ABC/ESPN, now as an analyst on NASCAR broadcasts.
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