It’s been almost 10 years since Rusty Wallace last raced competitively in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Now the 1989 Cup champion and 2013 Hall of Fame inductee will make a unique return to racing. In June, Wallace, 58, will compete in the off-road truck portion of the X Games in Austin, Texas, while working with Robby Gordon.
Wallace spoke with the Charlotte Observer about embracing the kind of racing that gives out medals instead of trophies. He said this endeavor started when he received a call from Rich Feinberg, who oversees ESPN’s X Games TV production.
“I got a phone call from ESPN and they asked me if I’d compete in this event,” Wallace said. “They’ve talked to me about it for like three years now and I’ve been saying I didn’t feel comfortable doing it with my work in television. So when my television deal ended, they called me again and asked me. So, I called Robby Gordon to see what he thought.”
Wallace went to Gordon’s shop and practiced driving an off-road truck, which involves jumps and ramps, and was convinced he could race. Gordon offered to be his personal coach.
Wallace said he hasn’t been given any special treatment by his former employer ESPN in the effort to race in Austin.
“The trucks cost money to lease, then you have to find a sponsor,” Wallace said. “When Rich called, he said it would be a big deal, and he believed I could do well in it. Robby was really excited and pumped up about be doing it. He was really fired up about it.”
Wallace’s off-road truck racing will take place during the X Games in Austin, Texas, which is scheduled for June 4 – 7.