St. Louis native Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Cup champion, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame over the weekend in Charlotte, NC. With his induction, all Hall of Fame eligible drivers with 50 or more Cup victories are now enshrined. Wallace is also the youngest driver to be enshrined. During his induction speech, Rusty recalled a funny story of how his uncle fired him from a job in St. Louis and how that opened up an opportunity to pursue his dream in racing.
AUDIO Portion of Wallace’s speech (2:20)
“The thing I learned, and I said it at the driver meeting in 2005 the day I retired and walked out, I said: ‘This is a privilege. This is a privilege to race in NASCAR. You don’t have to do it. We’re not making you do it. It’s a privilege to race in NASCAR, and it’s a blessing for me to be in this sport and do what I’ve done,’ ” Wallace said. “I just hope all the young drivers respect NASCAR as much as I respect it and go out there and say nice things about NASCAR and help build this sport.”
In a career that spanned 26 years, Wallace won 55 times at NASCAR’s highest level.