Rusty Wallace, winner of 55 races and the 1989 championship, called his NASCAR “Hall of Fame” induction ”the biggest day of my driving career.”
Wallace was on top of the list of the fourth Hall of Fame class, which included mechanic and crew chief Leonard Wood, former series champions Buck Baker and Herb Thomas and former car owner Cotton Owens. Wallace and Wood are the only two living members of this year’s class.
”The thing I learned, and I said it 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 was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
”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,” Wallace added.
Wallace has been an active ambassador for NASCAR, taking a hands-on role in promotion after winning his championship that continued into retirement. He’s currently an analyst for ESPN.