Retired NASCAR champion driver Rusty Wallace of St. Louis returns to big-time racing, but moves to a new seat. Wallace is in the broadcast booth for ESPN’s coverage of races in NASCAR’s top; series. He did his first broadcast of a NASCAR Cup race last weekendd at Indianapolis at the Brickyard 400 . [ Photos ]

He’s teamed with Dr. Jerry Punch, who anchors the broadcasts, and Andy Petree, a former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Wallace says he’s practiced for his new role by helping in last year’s broadcasts of Indy Racing League open-wheel races, and by broadcasting several lower-level NASCAR races. But he admits the latter job has had its difficult moments because his son, Steven, races in that series and drives cars Rusty Wallace owns. But Punch says Wallace has shown professional discipline and composure in the broadcast booth when things have gone wrong on the track for his son.

Wallace won 55 NASCAR Premier Series races in 706 starts. He’s 8th on the all-time list of NASCAR winning drivers. He finished in the top ten in almost half of his starts and won the championship of NASCAR’s top division in 1989 and finished in the top ten in points 17 times in a 25-year career.

Before his broadcast of the Brickyard 400, Wallace, Punch, and Petree met with other reporters covering the event. We have attached excerpts of comments from Wallace and Punch to this article.

Download the Wallace/Punch comments (7:37 mp3)