Rusty Wallace Wants To Kick Off His 'Last Call' With First Daytona 500 Victory DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Sept. 1, 2004) --- Rusty Wallace will embark on his final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season in 2005 - themed "Rusty's Last Call" - beginning with...
Rusty Wallace Wants To Kick Off His 'Last Call' With First Daytona 500 Victory
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Sept. 1, 2004) --- Rusty Wallace will embark on his final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season in 2005 - themed "Rusty's Last Call" - beginning with the 47th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20 at historic Daytona International Speedway with hopes of winning "the granddaddy of them all."
Wallace, who announced his retirement plans earlier this week at DAYTONA USA, has made 22 starts in the "Great American Race" but is still winless with eight top-10 finishes. In 2001, Wallace posted his best finish in the Daytona 500 with a third-place run.
The 1989 NASCAR champion, whose only victories at Daytona International Speedway are a Crown Royal IROC Series race in 1989 and the 1998 Budweiser Shootout, is determined to kick off his final season as a driver by winning the sports' biggest, richest and most prestigious race.
"I've got one more shot," Wallace said. "I've tried my whole life. I've told my crew when I get back here (to Daytona) I better have the best car I've ever had in my life. We've tried but we're going to have to try harder than I've ever tried. We're going to have the best engine, the best car because I want to win it before it's all over.
"The Daytona 500 is still the granddaddy of them all. It's a race that I haven't won and I'm going to try my darndest to win that one."
Wallace will try for the final time to capture the Daytona 500 on a newly renovated "World Center of Racing." Immediately after July's Pepsi 400 weekend, the Speedway began a multi-million infield renovation project which includes a new state-of-the-art tunnel, new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series garages, a new Fan Zone with roof-top viewing of the garages, waterfront specialty vehicle parking and a new Gatorade Victory Lane.
Before his press conference on Monday at DAYTONA USA, Wallace checked up on the progress of the multi-faceted project with ISC President Lesa Kennedy.
"This renovation means a whole lot to the sport," Wallace said. "This is the World Center of Racing and you expect the World Center of Racing to be the best and it will be the best.
"I'm excited about the upgrades to Daytona. It's been a long time coming. The France Family has got a real big vision when it comes to growing the sport and this is just all part of it - fan access, keeping up with the times and just all kind of cool things. I'm pumped up here today to announce my retirement and also have a good look at the racetrack and we'll see what lies ahead."
During his tour, Wallace had a brief discussion with the world famous 2.5-mile tri-oval about next year's Daytona 500.
"I got out and stood on the ground and looked at it and said, 'OK baby, I got one more shot at you.' I'm going to give it heck when I get back here."
Tickets for Rusty Wallace's final Daytona 500 start and other Speedweeks 2005 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.