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Biography

Russell William "Rusty" Wallace was born on August 14, 1956 in Fenton, Missouri. Rusty and his two brothers (Kenny and Mike) were raised by their parents Russ and Judy Wallace. His dad was a champion racer in Missouri and the boys weren't far behind, with all three making careers in motorsports.

Early Years

Russel William Wallace Rusty Wallace made his stock car racing debut in 1973 at Lakehill Speedway near Valley Park, Missouri. Between 1974 and 1978 he won over 200 races around the Mid-West and was a budding star when he joined the USAC's (United States Auto Club) stock car division in 1979. His racing success continued as Wallace won USAC Rookie of the Year Award in 1979. Rusty Wallace began racing in a handful of NASCAR Winston Cup races by 1980, driving the #16 Chevrolet for Roger Penske. In 1983 he went on to win an ASA AC Delco Challenge Series championship add to his already glowing resume.

Winston/Nextel Cup Success

Rusty Wallace made his official Winston Cup debut in 1984. That season he participated in all 30 races and bagged two top 5 and four top 10 finishes on the way to 14th place in points and Rookie of the Year honors. He won his first Winston Cup race driving the Alugard/Blue Max Pontiac in 1986 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in the Valleydale 500. Rusty earned his first pole position about a year later at the Miller 400 at Michigan International Speedway. He really began catching everyone's eye in the 1988 Winston Cup season, racking up 6 wins along with nineteen top 5s and twenty three top 10s. He finished second in total points to Bill Elliott.

Rusty Wallace After coming close to winning the championship, Rusty Wallace would come back with a bang for the 1989 Winston Cup season. He raced in all twenty nine races and added 6 more victories along with thirteen top 5s and twenty top 10s. This was enough to win him the championship series that year, beating arch rival Dale Earnhardt by just 12 points for the honor. That year, he also started racing in the IROC series and was its champion in 1991. Throughout the 1990s, Rusty was a top performer in NASCAR's Winston Cup circuit winning 33 races, including a combined 18 in 1993 and 1994. Surprisingly, he did not win another Winston/Nextel Cup championship, finishing second to Dale Earnhardt in 1993. He won the 1993 Food City 500 at Bristol Speedway the same weekend that his good friend Alan Kulwicki died in a plane crash. Rusty dedicated the emotional win to Alan by doing Kulwicki's trademark reverse "Polish Victory Lap" after his win.

Rusty Rusty had an amazing streak going up until 2002. He had one atleast one race every year from 1986. This winning streak though was broken in 2002 and was the best amongst all active drivers. His last Nextel Cup victory came in 2004 as Rusty Wallace won the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. On August 30, 2004 the then 47 year old Wallace announced that the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season would be his last as a full-time driver though he would run in some races on a part-time basis. To date he has 55 NASCAR wins, good enough for 8th place on NASCAR's all-time wins list. At the time of his retirement, he drove the Penske Racing's #2 Dodge that was sponsored by Miller Lite.

Life away from the track

Rusty Wallace raced for over 25 years so one could not just expect him to walk away from the sport after his retirement. That is quite the case as he is still involved in various aspects of stock car racing. Rusty owns and operated Rusty Wallace, Inc. (RWI) which fields the #64 NASCAR Busch Series car driven by Jamie McMurray. He is also part owner (along with Roger Penske) of the Penske Racing South team that features Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman in the Nextel Cup series.

Rusty also has a huge passion for flying. He's a jet-rated pilot who would have flown for a career had it not been for stock car racing. He owns several airplanes (including a Learjet 31A) and a Bell 427 helicopter. He is also a fan of NHRA drag racing and golf. Rusty is married to his wife Patti, they have three kids (Greg, Katie, Steve) and live in a ranch outside Charlotte, North Carolina. Rusty Wallace has become the first on-air hire by ESPN and ABC Sports after being named lead auto racing analyst for their Nextel Cup coverage starting in 2007. He also owns six car dealerships in Tennessee.