2013 First-time Nominee Feature of the Week – Rusty Wallace
The 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominee, legendary driver Rusty Wallace, came from a racing family. His late father, Russ, was a multi-time champion on short tracks in Missouri. Rusty broke into the sport as a teenager driving on the local short tracks, both dirt and asphalt, before moving to the ASA Series where he became their champion in 1983. Among his regular competitors were future NASCAR stars Mark Martin and Alan Kulwicki. In 1980, Wallace made his NASCAR debut in the Winston Cup Series driving for famed car owner Roger Penske. In that event Wallace opened everyone’s eyes with a very impressive second place finish at Atlanta.
After competing in just one more race that year, Wallace went back to ASA with just an occasional NASCAR start until 1984 when he picked up a full-time ride with the Cliff Stewart team carrying the coveted Gatorade sponsorship. Wallace was named NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year for his efforts. He went on to rack up 55 career wins and 36 poles in 706 starts before retiring from driving in 2005. Along the way he founded Rusty Wallace Inc. in 1984 as his marketing firm and in 1985 began fielding cars in NASCAR events with the RWI banner. In recent years, Wallace has supplied cars for his son Steve in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and has gained fame as a popular television race commentator.