Renowned NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, who climbed out of his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge at the end of his "Rusty's Last Call" 2005 Nextel Cup Series season, will become lead auto racing analyst for ESPN and ABC Sports. His first assignment will be on-site at the Daytona 500 for ESPN's SportsCenter coverage with host Chris Fowler.
Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champion, will be the ESPN and ABC Sports lead NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series analyst when the networks return to televising NASCAR in 2007. He will first appear in the booth for the 2006 IRL season, and this year's Indianapolis 500.
Additionally, Wallace, whose 25-year career included 55 Cup wins, will serve as studio analyst for SportsCenter , and ESPN2's upcoming daily motor sports series.
"We're extremely proud that our first new on-air hire, following the announcement that NASCAR is returning to ABC Sports and ESPN, is that of the legendary Rusty Wallace," said Norby Williamson, ESPN's e xecutive vice president, studio and remote production . "Rusty earned the respect and admiration of fellow drivers and fans with his engaging personality and unquestioned racing ability, attributes that will continue to entertain race fans."
Wallace, whose 706th career start ended his 2005 season-long "Last Call" tour in the No. 2 Dodge "Miller Lite" car, fell just 28 laps short of leading 20,000 in his career. The 1984 Rookie-of-the-Year ended his 22nd consecutive full NEXTEL/Winston Cup season eighth in the standings, the 17th time he finished in the top 10.
"I feel like broadcasting is my calling, and I knew when I retired this is what I wanted to do, so I'm excited to work with ABC and ESPN," Wallace said. "I've had a few broadcasting gigs, and have really enjoyed them. I feel like I am well educated on the cars, NASCAR, the whole industry, and will be a whole new opportunity to work with other types of racing, like IRL, calling the Indy 500."
RUSTY WALLACE CAREER
NASCAR will return to ABC Sports and ESPN in 2007 with an eight-year, content-rich agreement featuring a 17-race Nextel Cup schedule ending with coverage on ABC Sports of the 10-race "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup." The agreement features exclusive coverage of the entire Busch series, as well as qualifying and practice sessions for both series, and a daily NASCAR news and information program.