He’s been retired since the end of 2005, is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame and has a busy off-track schedule with several businesses he owns and radio work he does for the Motor Racing Network.
But there’s no question Rusty Wallace still misses being behind the wheel of a race car.
So to satisfy his need for speed, Wallace has agreed to compete in the Off-Road Truck Racing segment of the X Games, June 4-7, in Austin, Texas.
“I honestly miss driving a car a little bit,” Wallace told The Associated Press. “ESPN brought up this possibility and I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s go knock the cobwebs off and try this.’”
Wallace will be one of 16 drivers who will compete in identically prepared 600-horsepower race trucks, all leased from former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, who owns and operates the Stadium Super Trucks Series. Gordon will also race in the X Games event
The trucks can hit 120 mph on a twisting course that includes several man-made ramps that drivers must vault.
“I’ve been following Robby’s series, watched the races when they run with IndyCar (on the same weekend), and it just looks like something I’ll enjoy,” Wallace said. “Every time I see that 2 car (Brad Keselowski) running around, I say ‘Man, I wish I could do that again.’
“But I’m smart enough to know I’ve got other things, so this chance at (the) X Games and working with Robby is an opportunity to just go have a little fun.”
Don’t expect the X Games one-off to prompt Wallace to make a return to Sprint Cup racing. However, he did admit to the AP that he likely retired a bit earlier than he would have liked.
“I know that I stopped driving too early,” Wallace said. “I think I could have gone another three years.
“But at that point, I was really getting burned out on all the travel. I was irritable. I got the opportunity to work for ESPN and I said to myself, ‘If I don’t do this, someone else will.’ So that’s the path I took.
“I still struggle with not racing, not a whole lot, but a little, and this (X Games) was a good opportunity to go have some fun. … I am a racer at heart, I’m always a racer at heart, and I’m not done with racing.”