Friday, January 06, 2012

Wallace: "Hard Decision" Looming For RWI

Rusty Wallace is in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico this week, hosting his annual Charity Golf and Fishing Tournament. Next week, he’ll return home to make some difficult decisions on the future of his Rusty Wallace, Inc. NASCAR Nationwide Series team.

RWI fielded a pair of Nationwide Series Toyotas for son Steve Wallace and Michael Annett last season, with Annett finishing ninth and Wallace 10th in championship points. Major sponsor 5-Hour Energy departed at season’s end to back Clint Bowyer’s new Sprint Cup Series effort at Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012, and the search for a replacement has yielded no results. Now, Wallace faces the prospect of closing the doors on a team he has devoted the last seven years of his life to building.

“I’m afraid we’re getting really close to that right now,” admitted the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. “I don’t want to do it. It breaks my heart even thinking about it. But if we don’t have the money to do this thing right, it’s not worth doing. We’ve got some sponsorship in place for next year, but not nearly enough to run the full season. Honestly, we’ve got just enough money to get ourselves in big trouble.

“My wife Patty and I are trying to decide what to do,” he said. “We’re looking everywhere for a way out; a way to avoid closing the doors. But I’m afraid that may be where we’re headed.”

Wallace said he is proud of the way RWI has performed in recent seasons, and believes the facility he built in Mooresville, NC, is second to none in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

“Our shop is a showplace,” he said. “We’ve got room for two complete Sprint Cup teams there. Everything is top notch; built the way it’s supposed to be built. We’ve assembled a group of people there that are like my own family, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished over the years. They’re great people, and the thought of having to turn out the lights is stressing me out, big-time.

“If we end up having to close the doors, I won’t be sad for me,” he said. “We’ll find a ride somewhere for Steven, and we’ll all be fine. Maybe once this crazy economy kicks back into gear, we can start things up again and go back racing. But right now, it doesn’t look good.

“I’m not saying yet that we’re shutting down,” he said. “But I’m also not going to lie to you. We’re pretty close to having to make a very hard decision.”


  1. Anonymous2:41 PM

    Such a shame, but its the same thing that everyone everywhere is facing. I feel bad for the employees. NASCAR employees have been hit hard the past two or three years. Lots of layoffs and very little else out there for them to do.

  2. Hate to hear this because of the people that will lose jobs. But does he really think it will be that easy to find a ride for Steven? Still alot of Good drivers out there looking. If he does close up shop at least we won't have to listen to his conflict of interest on ESPN.

  3. Anonymous2:54 PM

    That would be a shame. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

  4. Rusty, I wish you all the best. Please know that you're in my prayers. I know youand Patty have a hard decision ahead of you. I hope something comes up for sponsors for the RWI cars. I've been a fan of yours for years and most of my NASCAR collection is Rusty Wallace memorabilia. Best wishes now and always from a die-hard Rusty fan. By the way, the first driver that my oldest grandson was taught to say was Rusty!! :-D

  5. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Hate to say it but some people are not ment to be drivers.RW has to think about sponcers well look at his sons driveing record. Good Driver good sponcer thats the way it works.Hope every thing works out for Rusty Wallace.

  6. Anonymous3:33 PM

    Maybe if his son didn't tear up so much sheet metal they could still be in business.

  7. Anonymous3:50 PM

    what happens to annett

  8. Brandon in TN4:10 PM

    I know the two are completely unrelated, BUT stating that Rusty is in Cabo while his racing operation is being shut down due to know funding doesn't look good on Rusty's part. I know the two are completely unrelated but public perception of "look at Rusty livin' it up down in Mexico while he lets all of his workers go" could put a black eye on him and any future endeavors he pursues.

  9. Anonymous7:23 PM

    I am not a Rusty Wallace fan but I really do hate to see this and hope that it does not happen if the sport keeps losing teams as well as sponsers there will be no sport to watch . Good Luck Rusty