Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Rusty Wallace Saga Continues

The NASCAR TV world has been a tough environment for Rusty Wallace. Now, that rough road has extended to his racing business.

This from Rusty Wallace Racing on Friday:

Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing announced today that the team's on-track activities will be put on a temporary hiatus. "This was a tough decision to make, but it was the prudent one from a number of perspectives," said Wallace. "We just didn't feel like we had enough sponsorship in place to accomplish all of our goals."

"I promised myself and my family long ago that if the team wasn't funded to a level with which we were comfortable, we just wouldn't run it," continued Wallace. "I've worked way too hard to put part of my life savings into a race team."

Wallace continues to actively seek a ride for his son Steven in the Nationwide Series. RWR's other driver, Michael Annett, and the 35 remaining RWR employees were let go on Friday. There will be no RWR presence in the Nationwide Series in 2012.

Click here for a Dave Rodman interview from Saturday with Wallace on NASCAR.com.

Wallace spoke to Rodman passionately about his state of the art shop and then plead poverty in the same interview. Wallace said he has made absolutely no financial profit since 2004 on his Nationwide Series racing operation, but then said his shop is really designed for two Sprint Cup Series teams.

Five years ago, Wallace was the "Great White Hope" of ESPN. He was paired with loyal ESPN soldier Jerry Punch and former crew chief Andy Petree to anchor ESPN's combined Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series coverage. That honeymoon lasted exactly one year.

Click here to read "ESPN Changes Take Many By Surprise" from January of 2008. Wallace had been moved to the infield and paired with Brad Daugherty and Allen Bestwick. Wallace would continue to appear on the NASCAR Now studio show and also fill-in on select Nationwide Series telecasts when new lead analyst Dale Jarrett was off.

Wallace had clear contempt on the air for certain NASCAR personalities with whom he had clashed as a driver. They included Sprint Cup Series drivers, crew chiefs and owners. It was clear Wallace could not step away from his past and into the new role offered to him as a network TV analyst.

Bestwick proved to be the best thing that ever happened to Wallace in his TV career. A consummate pro, Bestwick kept Wallace on a very short leash and immediately cleaned-up any mess that Wallace made live on the air. Unfortunately, Bestwick could not help Wallace with his off-track issues.

As the picture above documents, Wallace put his trust into a company called US Fidelis. Click here to read "Trouble Brewing For Rusty Wallace And US Fidelis Sponsor" from June of 2009. Rusty and Steven Wallace were featured on TV commercials that ran endlessly across cable TV networks. The Wallace duo personally assured NASCAR fans and general TV viewers that US Fidelis was trustworthy.

It all came crashing down in 2010 in a very big way. Eleven states went after the US Fidelis owners for fraud and deceptive business practices. At the core of the complaint were the misleading TV commercials done by the Wallace father and son. Tens of thousands of people had been defrauded out of millions of dollars and were left with worthless extended warranties.

Click here to read "NASCAR Fans Got Fleeced By US Fidelis" from November of 2010. Neither Wallace ever apologized to NASCAR fans and ultimately it was revealed that RWR was left with over $500 thousand in unpaid sponsor fees by US Fidelis as the company collapsed.

In January of 2011, ESPN decided to sign Wallace as a network analyst through 2014 and the end of the current TV contract. This new comfort level led Wallace to more actively promote his RWR team cars during Nationwide Series telecasts. That led to some interesting moments during the season.

"NASCAR TV's New Lightning Rod" was the most recent TDP column involving Wallace. It was published on August 2 of last season as ESPN's coverage expanded as usual to add the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races to the network's existing Nationwide Series coverage. Click here to read the column and the fan comments.

Now, Wallace begins the final three years of his ESPN contract without a race team, without his son currently driving in any NASCAR series and with the clock ticking on his expensive shop and racing inventory. It's a new perspective brought about by the current economy and perhaps by choices made in the past.

ESPN begins the network's sixth season of NASCAR coverage with the Nationwide Series race from Daytona on February 25. Rusty Wallace will be in the Infield Pit Studio as usual, although this time he will be speaking as both a former driver and a former Nationwide Series owner.

We invite your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website and comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Sally said...

While I've not been a fan of Rusty as an analyst, it's sad to see yet another team bite the dust because of sponsorship issues.

53 yr. fan said...

Rodman's article had Rusty speaking in circles. He is perfuming the pig to sell his
shop and yet talking that this may
be only temporary. Maybe he just doesn't want to face it, plus he is still employing his 3 kids. He sure didn't do his employees any favors in waiting so late to make his announcement.

Brian Vermette said...

Sally, I agree with you completely, while I haven't been a fan of Rusty as an analyst, it's sad to see yet another NASCAR team shut its doors and layoff its employees because of sponsorship issues.

But its not a surprise since the RWR has been successful in the Nationwide Series with its two current now former drivers.

With that said, I don't see Michael Annett or Steven Wallace landing a ride in time for the start of the 2012 Nationwide or Truck Series season in Daytona. Sponsors pay the bills and no sponsors, no racing period.

GinaV24 said...

I'll state right up front that I am NOT a fan of Rusty Wallace. A great deal of that is probably due to the animosity he's always had toward my favorite driver.

Unfortunately as you said, he carried those biases over into the booth.

Having active team owners in the booth is a bad idea. It was painful trying to watch Nationwide races when Steven was driving.

The Wallaces have probably never apologized because they have been advised not to admit any knowledge that would make them culpable.

sbaker17 said...

Rusty Wallace will be in the Infield Pit Studio as usual, although this time he will be speaking as both a former driver and a former Nationwide Series owner.
To complete the circle can "former TV broadcaster" be added to the the resume?

The Loose Wheel said...

My sympathy goes out to his employees which really got the short end of the leash here. Annett is the guy who really bites the dust since it was only a month ago they assured he would race since he had some sponsorship.

As for Rusty, like many people he overspent what he should have with the expectation the money would keep rolling in. These teams have effectively eliminated themselves. A shop designed to house 2 Cup cars and you haven't turned a profit in 7 years?! Sorry, I don't feel for you Rusty.

His bias and stubborn nature has alienated fans, myself included, and he needs a reality check.

On the positive though, without him owning a team and probably not having his son on the track, maybe we could possibly get some actual commentary about what is going on on the racetrack rather than an agenda being pushed.

Bill said...

"To complete the circle can "former TV broadcaster" be added to the the resume?"

I doubt it. As with his US Fidelis association, Rusty wouldn't want to be held culpable for that disaster either.

John said...

Can't say I'm sorry to see Rusty go as an owner. I do feel bad for his employees though. I couldn't help but notice this:

"I've worked way too hard to put part of my life savings into a race team."

He wants to run two NASCAR teams, be a big shot owner, yet he isn't willing to put in any of is own money. Now if only he'd get out of the booth.

Anonymous said...

I still cannot shake the idea that sponsorship loses are related directly to the lack of exposure during tv race broadcasting. I realize this was not the case with the Wallace's. MC

OSBORNK said...

I've never been a fan of anyone whose last name starts with Wal being on a TV telecast. They are never objective and are always shilling for someone or something. The are much worse when they have a team or a relative involved in the race they are covering.

Rusty ran a race team to keep his family employed for as long as he was able to find someone else to foot the bill. If a father wants his kids to play in an expensive activity, he should be the one paying the bills. Steve got to drive (play) while other drivers with far more ability were left on the sidelines.

Steve showed that you can participate in an activity without the ability if you have enough support. Rusty has proven the same thing in the TV booth.

James said...

Speaking of the quote, "I've worked way too hard to put part of my life savings into a race team." I guess Rusty and Darrell have something in common, let someone else foot the bill, I am just here for the "FUN". AND then THEY have the gaul to expect support from the "FANS". RUSTY and DARRELL were never fan friendly, in fact until the WINSTON where RUSTY spun out DARRELL, neither had any use for the other and that is still true today. Whether you look to RUSTY or DARRELL you see NO LOYALTY to employees or former teammates, a trait learned by "little" brother in his dealings with the guy who kept his doors open, when everyone else was calling him a "cheater". ALL three of them have one common trait, "SHOW ME THE MONEY", I feel sorry for the people who have been hurt by the actions of these, RACING LEGENDS, but it appears to be a trend that always comes back to NASCARS expensive new cars, and a bad economy, with sponsors unwilling to be "FOOT THE BILL". To think that any of these guys are going to become "PROFESSIONAL" broadcasters is a joke, and they all take themselves WAY TOO SERIOUS. They can say whatever is PC, would you "TRUST" any of them? That is why they are in the booth, safest, best paying place for used "TALENT"!

Vicky D said...

This announcement was good news bad news, the bad news is Rusty is closing his operation down, the good news is that he won't have to write anymore checks for wrecked cars!

Anonymous said...

I dislike Rusty as a broadcaster (I tell you what, that's for sure...) But from people I've known who met him, he's a nice guy with a sense of humor, and I don't think it's fair to paint him as some bad person, as some seem inclined to do, just because he's awful in the booth. It's very unfortunate for the employees, of course, but yes, I do think he probably went overboard when they had sponsorship and things looked good. John--I think you will find most owners do *not* dip into their personal savings; that's considered a bad decision. There have been some exceptions where guys had great personal wealth (or multi car teams where they can 'share'), but it's not a smart thing to do; every financial advisor would tell you no. Rusty does have his family to think about. DW made a similar comment when he finally left racing; and his girls were still kids then.

As for the anti-Gordon bias...I've never noticed it. Are there any examples of that someone can give me? I have a friend who's been a Gordon fan since the beginning, and when I asked her about that she said she hadn't noticed it either (and trust me, she thinks Rusty is 'sneaky' and is not a fan...)

Roland said...

Annet has family sponsorship so he will land somewhere for sure. Steve Wallace on the other hand.....well he hasnt exactly made any friends out there. Pretty much wrecked everyone at some point. If he wants to continue this failed experiment called a racing career he should go race late models somewhere and actually learn how to race.

The positive through all this is that it eliminates several of his conflicts of interest. His brothers still race but he doesnt really talk about them much.

None of this makes up for the fact that he is a terrible announcer. Ive had all the "hot rods" "flat flyin" "let me tell you" that I can stand. When he is teamed up with Marty Reid, its hard to maintain sanity.

AncientRacer said...

Sometimes it seems to me if I had a nickel for every driver who has formed a team and failed at it I would have enough money to form my own team.

Let us face it. At the upper levels of the sport getting in and staying in is an almost impossible task. It is even frighteningly expensive at the bottom-of-the-barrel level where I and my friends race our beat up, hand me down, held together by gum and chicken wire POS cars. Everyone in our little group has to be having a pretty good year for us collectively to be able to afford it even with a few sponsors and we will take nearly any sponsor -- we even had a strip club on the hood several years ago.

Gina is right about Rusty's reason for not apologizing, btw. Though I feel little sympathy for him for hooking up with U.S. Fidelis (the signs were there had he chosen to see them) I can in some degree understand why because, to borrow a line from my current favorite TV show "Once Upon A Time" from the episode which aired last evening "I can recognize a desperate man."

Buschseries61 said...

Good for ESPN, bad for NASCAR as more people leave and nobody enters. When NASCAR TV returns from an ill-timed hibernation, all the networks face a very different reality in 2012. Truck and Nationwide fields could be weaker than 2011.

Rusty's input on the broadcast will be interesting as a former owner. The current climate of the series did nothing to help his organization.

GinaV24 said...

AR - Rusty kind of reminds me of Mr Gold in a way! LOL

Samantha Gee said...

I'm not pleased with the current commercials Rusty is in promoting taking out "second mortgages" on cars. It's hard enough these days without being in danger of losing your paid-for car. I understand the need for sponsor dollars but I wish there was some limit on the things they will promote.

I, too, don't see Steven landing a ride anywhere.

Bill said...

I have always blamed Rick Hendrick for taking the sport to its current level, both good and bad, but mostly bad.

Everything changed when Rick created the 24 team. He found a very talented driver, but this time, one who was young and had not already grown weary of the then standard practice of having to drive a few years in sub-standard equipment in order to prove one’s skill.

We naysayers had to finally admit Jeff Gordon was a darn good driver, and those victories weren’t simply due to his superior equipment. Still, that great, expensive equipment played a huge part in most of his victories in the 1990s.

Then Jack Roush, the consummate competitor, wasn’t going to stand there and watch Rick collect more trophies, so he opened his wallet, as did Penske, Yates, Gibbs and so on. Rick raised the sport to near F1 levels in terms of engineering and technology. Sure, many components in the current car were initially developed in the 1950s, but there’s nothing in the NASCAR rule book preventing team owners from building ultra-modern race shops with state-of-the-art equipment and technology that would make the Ferrari race teams jealous.

This advanced equipment squeezes every last drop of power and speed out of these tired old designs, which in turn forces car owners to squeeze every last dollar out of their sponsors, who have become sick and tired of spending millions of their advertising budget on racing, and getting a very small ROI even if the team wins.

All these changes forced teams to court some of the biggest advertisers in the country, hire talented “young gun” drivers, and popularity soared. Suddenly, drivers who once eschewed NASCAR were looking for a Cup ride. And NASCAR rode the wave until the economy sank.

Desperate NASCAR owners make strange bedfellows. Rusty with USFidelis, then 5-Hour Energy? TaxSlayer.com? Extenze? Boudreau’s Butt Paste? (my favorite). Owners will sign with anyone if it helps pay for the exorbitant cost of racing in NASCAR. You can tell something is amiss when the sponsor who helped Hendrick with his improbable run through the 90s has almost completely left the sport. There are few companies with deeper pockets than Dupont, and landing that sponsorship was a major coup, but even they got tired of pouring increasingly larger amounts of money into Rick’s racing dream.

Still, Rick’s cars have won the past six Cup championships, but at what cost? Lowe’s had to stop sponsoring the Charlotte Motor Speedway in order to keep paying for the ever-increasing charges to fund the 48 team. I can bet you Lowe’s is tired of paying those huge bills, but who’s going to bail on a champion?

And therein lies the crux of the problem. Rick has greatly elevated the cost of racing in NASCAR because his formula is successful. Counting Tony’s win this year, Rick’s cars have won ten championships since Jeff started driving the 24 car in 1993.

So how does one battle with that? Even Jack Roush can’t tell you.

toomuchcountry said...

Team issues aside JD - I read Terry Blount's article at ESPN.com about RW shutting down the team. Nowhere in his article did he reference Rusty's employment with ESPN. While I get the focus of the article was about the team's shut-down, isn't it Journalism 101 to fully disclose the relationship of an article's subject to the media reporting the story?

KoHoSo said...

Bill...excellent comment! I always like to call it, in short, "The Jeff Gordonization of NASCAR."

For all...just to be clear, I do not blame Jeff Gordon one bit for how he has affected the sport...and I'll leave it at that so we don't get too much further off the main topic.

Shayne Flaherty said...

I wonder how much money Rusty pocketed while he and US Fidelis were bilking loyal NASCAR fans out of their hard-earned cash? I wish a judge could order Rusty to make restitution to the gullible NASCAR fans affected. How can Rusty even show his face at a race track?

Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip have been pilfering from the sport long enough. Please move on.

NASCAR and "integrity" should never be used in the same sentence.

I feel bad for the employees affected at RWI.

Fed UP said...

Like so many other owners, RWR thought that the money would never stop coming. Sponsors would be lining up to spend millions on sponsoring a car. Not so true anymore. Different set of priorites. Is spending in excess of 5 million dollars for a car, that may or may not be shown on t.v. worth it? Corporations have spoken. And the overwhelming answer is no.

I feel sorry for the employees, but RW is a really poor owner. He doesn't want to put his "hard earned money at risk." Nice slap in a face to all of the employees and other business owners. Most of us who have businesses have put everything that we have on the line, because we believe in our business, not because our kids wanna play be a driver.

As someone said before..when can we add former commentator to the list.

Anonymous said...

# of Non Cup Affiliated Teams That Ran Full Time in the 2006 Nationwide Season that are still running today……0

RIP: Pollex, Brewer, Braun, Geschickter, Rensi, RWI

Some of you are REALLY missing the big picture..

Anonymous said...

Sad yet another teams gone from Nationwide. But that kid never did anything but wreck cars & stuff...HHmm maybe one shouldn't be in this as a hobby for their kid...Rusty was a good driver (tho I'm not a big fan) but as an analyst he just didn't fit or sound smooth...Then the Bias ..Well when the networks let this happen ALL credibility is gone & it's stupid of me to then watch. (see any one named waltrip) ...It would be nice to see the Nation Wide series become the development series it's supposed to be. P>S the truck racing is commonly the most entertaining racing these days....Earner

Funky D said...

Like a lot of you, I was never a Rusty fan either, but at least liked his "call it as he sees it" demeanor. But, that personality never really translated to the Tv booth. That became painfully obvious when Dale Jarrent arrived in the press box!

To be fair, I think the demise of RWI is not as much a verdict of Rusty's business practices but more so evidence of the fact that the Nationwide series is becoming a zombie league: Mostly dead, but hanging on by a thread. There is little prize money to go around, and the sponsorship climate is very poor. It is just not profitable (or even close) to field a competitive team. The only ones that do are Cup operations that use the series for R&D.

Anonymous said...

All great comments, not a fan of Rusty or Steve. This sport is imploding from within and Nascar has its head in the sand..all they car about is the $$$$$, too bad.

Rusty in the booth is painful, and now the Waltrip morons together, good grief, why are they so out of touch with the fan base of this once great sport...Morons all of them.

Anonymous said...

To me it is not about Rusty or why he had to close his shop. It is about the lack of sponsors wanting to be in this sport, in all series. More each year.

It won't take long before there will be no race to watch or complain about. LS

Dot said...

Now that Rusty isn't considered an owner anymore, does he get to keep his job at BSPN? Isn't that one of the job requirements to work there, having a conflict of interest?

Roadgeek Adam said...

For the record, Annett has sponsorship, but time is not on his side. I'd easily give Annett more of a shot than Steven Wallace.

Dennis said...

Not a Rusty fan. Always saw him as an arrogant, self-centred jerk. That isn't to say he wasn't a talented driver. Clearly he was. But, his talent didn't extend to the both. I didn't mind his bias, however. I found it entertaining.

Regarding the closure of his race team. I don't like all the strong teams being satellite operations of Sprint Cup powerhouses. To me this is the real loss when Rusty closed the doors.

Sponsorship continues to be scarce in all 3 series. Are we going to move to smaller fields?

The Loose Wheel said...

Thank you Bill!!!!

Could not have said it better myself. That is exactly what has happened in NASCAR. Owners like Hendrick and Roush have priced everyone out of NASCAR. Bless Tommy Baldwin's heart for being somewhat competitive despite that fact, but even they are jumping to RCR power in 2012.

Sponsors can't justify 20 plus million a year, especially with the social media boom. You think UPS is paying all that much less for 6 races with Carl than they were for a full season with Ragan? Doubtful, but Jack opened the floodgates when he heard what Gibbs was offering (or rumored to be).

But to try and keep this on topic, hopefully this means a little less bias from Rusty in the booth and maybe a little more analysis.

To try and tie this sponsor-out-pricing by owners into TV though JD, I wonder the role that NASCAR and the new television deal that kicked in when 2001 started played into this sponsor demise as well. NASCAR got a huge check from networks who had to find advertisers to supplement their cost, even using sponsors race teams had in place and then NASCAR turned around making their private deals with these sponsors to become the "Official this-or-that of NASCAR."

Everyone has fought for a piece of pie that has gotten ever smaller, it is still enormous but man I see it shrinking quickly....


Anonymous said...

First, NASCAR is my favorite motorsport. So, just FYI. F1 teams, like Ferrari, spend $100,000,000+. Yes. One hundred million. NASCAR isn't even close. Neither is NASCAR close when it comes to technology.

Re: Rusty. Sorry for the individuals who lost their jobs, especially as it is probably too late to find a job with other teams.

Also, I believe Michael Annett has a family tie in with Pilot/Flying J, so I would suspect he finds a ride.

Dot said...

I'd like to expand on David The Loose Wheel's comment. I think TV is the biggest culprit for the sponsor's demise. Why would any company sponsor a car if they aren't shown on TV? I know we've talked about this before, but I just wanted to mention it again.

OT, JD, I thought of you when I noticed VS is now called NBCSN.

Anonymous said...

My sympathies as well to the employees who no longer have a job.

That said, Rusty is, by far, the most annoying blow-hard in NASCAR. His commentary is irritating, condescending, biased and self-righteous. I don't recall ever saying to myself "Hey, Rusty is spot on." It's like he's constantly trying to prove he super smart. I was thrilled when he was removed from the Cup telecasts. I wish ESPN would wise up and take him off the air permanently.

Anonymous said...

I neither liked nor disliked RW during his driving days. I always thought his interviews in those days were entirely predictable. His statements were routine and filled with tired catch phrases. I could have written his responses to questions, and most fans wouldn't have known the difference.

I was surprised when ESPN hired him. I wondered if anyone who worked there had seen his interviews during his driving career. He must have been hired based on his driving credentials rather than his communication skills. Considering ESPN is in the communication business, I would have thought that skill was a prerequisite.

RW's performance as a broadcaster remains the same as his driving career interviews. He speaks in tired cliches and catch phrases. He rarely offered any comments that improved my understanding. His conflict of interest affected the rest of the broadcast team as well. It was a sad exhibition.

His actions as a broadcaster and a team owner alienated me. He doesn't need my sympathy, and he doesn't have it. I will save all that for the employees who are put in a difficult position and people who were taken advantage of by his sponsors.

Garry said...

I liked Rusty as a driver because he was really good. I do not like him as a team owner or commentator because he is not very good in either role. I feel badly for his employees and the fact that there will be 2 fewer Nationwide teams. To be successful at any level in Nascar requires big bucks because of all the research and engineering that is required to make a race car fast using 1950s technology is incredibly expensive. There are too few sponsors to cover these costs so something has to change. What about returning to real stock cars? Look at what the Continental Series is grand Am racing has for fields.

Tex said...

I appreciate your opinion.
Every man has the right...

But you can make that same argument from as far back as Junior Johnson or even further back to Smokey Yunick.

They raised the bar long before Rick stepped foot in this sport.

Yeah he did provide the means for Jeff to race, but Jeff won those races by his talents. Same thing for Tony Stewart when he was at Gibbs. Or Pearson with Wood Brothers or King while with STP
and the list goes on.

But I will agree...Jeff's success has killed the careers of many young drivers such as Casey Atwood, Reed Sorenson, Casey Mears, Buckshot Jones and the list goes on.

But to lay the this at the feet of Rick is crazy...he only followed the model of those set before him.

Don't hate on success, enjoy the talent we have. We will never see this again. Carl Edwards with Fords help will win it all in 2012.

The Quack is back!

Oh yeah..Rusty. Ummmm He benefited greatly from Rogers help and pocket book of Miller Lite.
Don't fool yourself.

Vince said...

Wish I could say I feel bad for Rusty, but I don't.

53 said...

After reading this over several
times this week, I would like to add that NA$CAR has greatly added to the demise of Nationwide teams by bringing in the new car and adding additional expenses to teams who can ill afford the change. Sure it benefits the Cup owners, but who wants to see an almost duplicate series? Common sense is just not common at NA$CAR marketing. Let's hope they never change the trucks.

Vicky D said...

I agree with 53 year old fan. Nascar has highly contributed to the demise of the NW series because of like cars and companion races! Most of us here complain about too many cup drivers in the NW races but Nascar isn't really doing anything to help the series - oh yeah they won't let a cup driver win the championship - big deal!

allisong said...

@ Bill,

You do post eloquently, but I have to interject a few facts, if I may.

You say "there are few companies with deeper pockets than Dupont", however, if you lived where I live, you would know that at the time their sponsorship of the 24 car was last renegotiated, they were (and still are) selling off divisions and reorganizing left and right trying to raise cash. They used to employ tens of thousands in this state, but that is sadly no longer the case. The drop in their stock price alone would have justified dropping the stock car sponsorship, but they have stuck with it albeit at a reduced level. Trust me when I say it had nothing to do with anything Rick Hendrick was doing.

As for Lowes, have you not heard of the housing crisis in this country? Who has money to build or renovate a house? Lowes' bottom line had to have taken a hit in this economy. I would place their decision to drop the speedway sponsorship on that. After all, which is the better deal, seeing your name on a car every week, or seeing your track shown three weekends a year?

We all see things differently, I guess.

Frank said...

Yeah, 53, the final coffin in the nail would be the "Truck Of Tomorrow".

Daly Planet Editor said...

Just a note: Steven Wallace contacted me on Twitter and was clearly upset with this column.

I have the utmost respect for Steven and wish him nothing but success in his career.

What I put together was a look back at the reality of RWR and the on-air career of Rusty Wallace through the eyes of someone who has covered the NASCAR TV beat daily for the past five years.

I like colorful characters in the sport like Steven and follow him on Twitter. He is a witty guy who has a lot of drive to compete on the track.

As I said in my column, I think Rusty is in the right place in the Infield Pit Studio. Bestwick helped him with TV skills and he continues to gain knowledge of how to make things work on television.

This story is sad in many ways and still leaves unanswered the question of what will happen to the Nationwide Series with a field that continues to be weakened by financial woes?

Again, the opinions expressed on this blog are my own and anyone is free to leave a comment after reading each blog post.

Thank you,


The Loose Wheel said...

JD, to answer that question I think looking at CART or the IRL is a great look in that mirror. Those series had dwindling sponsors and owners and became dominated by 2 or 3 multicar organizations. Now in Nationwide the top half of the field is arguably better than ever but the depth is worse than it's ever been. If 30 cars show up capable of running every week with the intention of trying to race all day I would be in complete awe

Heather Pierson said...

I've had just about enough of everybody bashing Rusty all to hell. It's about time people got a mouthful from a Real Diehard Rusty Wallace fan. I've had the luxury of meeting him twice and he was nothing but nice. He put his blood, sweat and tears into everything he does within nascar. That includes his team and you guys have no idea- at least I don't think- how this is affecting him. His eyes say, 'yeah everything's ok' But inside his heart this is truly and honestly killing him. As far as what people say about him on track he's one of the only guys that weren't afraid to tell it like it is and say what's on his mind. If people don't like what he says, fine, but don't condemn him to hell and say that he doesn't know what he's talking about because he does! He sometimes breaks things down so us 'nascar dummies' can understand what everybody else is talking about. Does he sometimes have a hard time finding the right words to say without offending somebody? Yes! Does he try to explain things without making himself look stupid Yes! Does he always try to correct something he says that is wrong?Yes! Give the man a break and remember that he's a person with feelings. Put yourselves his shoes. How would you people feel if everybody said about you what is being said about him? Do you guys know any of the things he's been through in his personal life (especially the last couple weeks)?No you don't. So before talking trash about him think about what he's personally going through with all of this. Would you like if people said all that about you?

Daly Planet Editor said...


When I worked for ESPN and Rusty was driving, he was always professional and kept a good perspective when dealing with TV folks.

The vast majority of the comments here are from well spoken and experienced fans. Unlike other websites, none contain profanity.

Rusty put himself in the position of trying to be a multi-car owner and a national TV analyst at the same time.

It was unfair to fans, to the sport and ultimately to Rusty himself. It was a conflict of interest that colored everything he said on TV.

This season FOX will find itself in the same position with Michael Waltrip. I can suggest to you that I believe this is also not going to end well.

I reviewed the comments above and found many fans, regardless of their feelings about Rusty, are sad NASCAR lost an important NNS team.

I echo that and will say again that all of us are judged in life by the choices we make.