Martinsville Speedway - Rusty Wallace spotlight

Wallace Will Never Forget Last Year's Advance Auto Parts Victory MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 1, 2005) - Martinsville Speedway has always been a big deal to Rusty Wallace. His seven NASCAR NEXTEL Cup wins on the difficult half-mile are proof of his...

Wallace Will Never Forget Last Year's Advance Auto Parts Victory

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 1, 2005) - Martinsville Speedway has always been a big deal to Rusty Wallace. His seven NASCAR NEXTEL Cup wins on the difficult half-mile are proof of his passion for Martinsville.

It was never more evident than last spring when Wallace won the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway, breaking a 105-race winless streak.

"I got really sick of not winning. It made me do some soul-searching," an emotional Wallace said in victory lane after the win. "It made me look at the pit crew, at myself. I thought maybe I wasn't digging deep enough. But you know, I'm not a quitter. I've never quit."

Looking back, a full year after that win, Wallace's feelings haven't changed.

"Man, it was right up there with the biggest wins I've ever had," Wallace said of the spring 2004 victory. "when you look at where we were * not winning for a couple of seasons * it was like somebody took the two-ton gorilla off our backs. It had been so long since we'd won out at California and we'd come so close.

"Looking back on it all now, that win really rejuvenated our whole deal, I think. Larry Carter had come in as the new crew chief and he'd really done a helluva job in getting our crew all sorted out and back in place. I was so proud for him in that it was his first win as a crew chief. Patti and I took that big old grandfather's clock over to his house the night after we won and gave it to him and his family. The win was big for me and it was every bit as important for Larry and our entire team."

Wallace has carted off more of those grandfather clocks - the traditional Martinsville Speedway winner's trophy - than any other active driver. He's won seven of those grandfather clocks to be exact, even though he's been gracious enough to share several with teammates and owners.

Those seven wins puts Wallace third on Martinsville's all-time win list, behind only Richard Petty (15) and Darrell Waltrip (11). He also has a bushel of top 5 and top-10 finishes along with several "should've wons." There's no big secret to his Martinsville success, Wallace says. It's just a comfort factor.

"It's always been the deal with me that whenever we go to a track that we've done well at, there's just a big boost in the confidence level. The fact that we won there so early in my career really helped," Wallace said of his Martinsville Speedway success. "Running all the short track bullrings like I did growing up, I went there and really felt at home from the very first time I saw the track. When we were running the USAC Stocks, we ran at the flat tracks like the Milwaukee Mile and others and in ASA and running the outlaw late models, we ran at places like Baer Field and tracks that didn't have a lot of banking. So, I think that all the experience I had before I came into Cup was such a big help."

Wallace has just two more chances to add to his Martinsville Speedway win total. His "Last Call" farewell tour is underway. The Advance Auto Parts 500 will be his final Martinsville spring race. After that, just the SUBWAY 500 in October remains. And even though Martinsville Speedway would be the place he'd like to make a semi-retired return, he doesn't think it will happen.

"I'll tell you what - if I did, or could, come back and race again after this year, it'd definitely be at a place like Martinsville. But the fact is that I went and said some things down at Daytona during Speed Weeks that really got me in hot water. Patti even asked me what the heck I was doing talking like that," said Wallace. So as for now, the official word is that I may run in the Daytona 24-hour race. I still may test for our Penske team and my Busch team. But, I've pledged again to hang it up at the end of the year. Old D.W. (Darrell Waltrip) has really had fun at Martinsville, though, hasn't he? I'm sure I'll know more about how he feels after this year. He's been running that truck there several years now and it seems to take care of getting that racing fix he needs every now and then."

Tickets for both the Advance Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 10, and the Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, on Saturday, April 9, may be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for both events also may be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

Tickets for Jackson Hewitt Pole Day on April 8 are $15 and will be on sale the day of the event.

Ticket prices for the Advance Auto Parts 500 range from $40 to $75. Tickets for the Kroger 250 are $35. Tickets for children ages 6 to 12 are $5.

Anyone buying an Advance Auto Parts 500 ticket between now and April 1 can receive $5 off the purchase of a Kroger 250 ticket. Children's truck tickets are discounted $1 when bought with an Advance Auto Parts 500 ticket.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Rusty Wallace , Richard Petty