When the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota rolls off the grid for the Aug. 1 Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway, it won’t be Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin or Erik Jones behind the wheel.
Instead, it will be Kenny Wallace in his 547th and final start in the Xfinity Series — as well as any NASCAR event.
Wallace announced in a team release Tuesday that he was retiring from NASCAR after a career that includes 903 total starts in all three national touring series and nine Xfinity Series wins. Wallace holds the record for most Xfinity Series starts.
“To me, this isn’t a sad moment,” Wallace said. “I’m at a truly happy place in my life right now. After all, not too many guys get to have the privilege of being a NASCAR driver, especially for as long as I have. I really wanted to end my long career on a positive note, and I’m very excited about our chances in Iowa. The No. 20 team is one of the best in the sport and I’m looking forward to having a chance to end my NASCAR career with a great finish.”
The No. 20 has been piloted by five drivers through 16 races in 2015 and has won twice, with Jones at Texas Motor Speedway and Denny Hamlin at Richmond International Raceway.
Drew Herring earned one of the car’s five poles in May at Iowa and and Jones drove it to a second-place finish in the race.
Wallace, the youngest brother of 1989 Sprint Cup Champion Rusty Wallace, made his national series debut in the Advance Auto 150 at Martinsville Speedway on Sept. 24, 1988 in the Xfinity Series.
Wallace drove the No. 8 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet owned by Dale Earnhardt and finished 11th.
While he hasn’t raced full time in NASCAR since 2011, Wallace is a regular analyst of Fox’s coverage of NASCAR.
“Those guys have been great to me and I get a lot of happiness from being able to educate the fans about the sport that I love,” Wallace said. “I’m going to stay involved in the sport through TV and I’m going to stay behind the wheel in my dirt cars too.”
Iowa Speedway is an appropriate location for Wallace’s last race, which will air on NBCSN. Rusty Wallace helped design, build and operate the track that opened in 2006.
“You know, everyone experiences change at some point and I’m honestly looking forward to opening the next chapter in my life,” Wallace said.”As always, I promise that I’m going to have a lot of fun doing it.”