Wallace has been racing in NASCAR for several decades now. His career is winding down and he’ll be the first to admit that. However, he’s a true racer at heart for a guy that was stuck at a horrific team for three seasons (2008-2010).
Then, he found RAB Racing. Back in 2011, RAB was just trying to get their feet planted in NASCAR with a respectable driver. Wallace ended up having his best season since 2005 as he finished seventh in points, rejuvenating his once dying career.
Now, Wallace, 49, is struggling with sponsorship. The team has struck with him even though they’ve moved on with a new, younger driver that may be able to generate sponsorship for an age group which NASCAR has been trying to reach for a few years (teenagers-young adults). Wallace has been able to mentor the team’s new driver Alex Bowman, and Bowman’s been extremely appreciative of the help he’s received in his rookie season.
This past weekend, Wallace made his 900th career NASCAR start. The milestone was hit thanks to American Ethanol, who stepped up and sponsored Wallace in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Wallace’s 900th start marks an accomplishment that only a few other drivers have surpassed, including Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin and just a few others.
He may not be what he once was, but Wallace has shown that he can still drive a race car at a respectable rate. This year, he hasn’t had any top-10 finishes. Wallace has had the car to do well this year, but he’s just had things go wrong that were out of his control (which is partially due to running a partial schedule).
Wallace stated on Twitter that he’s done looking for sponsors. However, does that necessarily mean he’s done racing in NASCAR? No.
The St. Louis, MO native surely will be in NASCAR races next season. The only problem is that he’s not going to be in a lot of them. For the last few years, Wallace has searched and signed his sponsors by himself. It takes a lot of integrity to go through the stress which he’s gone through, considering how much of a fan favorite he is.
Now, it’s time for the team to return the favor. Robby Benton, owner of RAB Racing, wants Wallace with the team. He brings feedback that Bowman may not be able to give the team, and he also brings a different personality to an upstart team. Benton also posted on Twitter, saying that the start wasn’t Wallace’s last of 2013, even though that’s what Wallace believed until now.
So what happens from here?
Well, Wallace has settled into a comfortable position with Fox Sports 1 as a NASCAR analyst. He’ll probably get to announce some races once he officially retires from the sport. Wallace will probably do some dirt racing, which he’s done for the past few seasons, just so he can still do what he loves.
For 2014 though, expect to see Wallace in a limited number of NASCAR Nationwide Series races with RAB Racing, with maybe one or two Camping World Truck Series starts.