MOORESVILLE, NC (January 19, 2011)–Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing (RWR) announced today that 23 year-old Steve Wallace will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in February’s 53rd annual running of NASCAR’s most prestigious event, the Daytona 500. Wallace will pilot the No. 77 Toyota Camry for RWR at Daytona, with backing from longtime sponsor 5-Hour Energy and new partner Aspen Dental.
When Steve Wallace and the 5-Hour Energy Camry take the green flag on February 20th at NASCAR’s most historic venue, the well-pedigreed racer will write his own chapter in NASCAR history. His Sprint Cup debut will make the Wallace family the first ever to have produced four Daytona 500 competitors, breaking a longtime tie with the Petty, Allison, Earnhardt and Bodine families. When Wallace starts the 2011 event, a member of his family will have competed in 27 of the last 30 Daytona 500s.
The third-generation driver will have familiar leadership for his first run in The Great American Race, as RWR General Manager, Larry Carter, will serve as crew chief for the No. 77 5-Hour Energy Toyota. A veteran Sprint Cup crew chief, Carter led Rusty Wallace to a top-ten in the elder Wallace’s final Daytona 500 in 2005, as well as a fourth-place finish in the July 2005 event at Daytona.
Providing additional comfort to the younger Wallace in his Cup Series debut is a guaranteed place among the 43-car starting field, enabled through an agreement between RWR and Penske Racing.
Said Steve Wallace, “Starting my first Daytona 500 is definitely going to be the most exciting day of my career-make that my life-so far. It’s something that every kid wanting to be a racer-including me-dreams of doing one day. It’s the some of the best drivers in the world competing in the biggest race in the world. I really have to thank 5-Hour Energy and Aspen Dental for making this possible.
“As far as the race, my goals are simple: to stay out of trouble, earn all the respect I can from the other guys and make sure the 5-Hour Energy Toyota is there at the end of the race. The way restrictor plate racing goes, if we can do that, there’s no telling what can happen.”
If his Nationwide Series record is any proof, Wallace has shown his ability to survive-and thrive-on Daytona’s high banks. Wallace has four lead-lap top-15 finishes in his last five Daytona starts, including a top-ten in last February’s 300-miler. In the other event, Wallace ran among the contenders until being taken out by a bizarre incident for which Jason Leffler was penalized five laps.
Team owner Rusty Wallace shares his son’s enthusiasm for the event. “This is a big event for all of us-for Steve, our team, our family and our sponsors,” Wallace stated, “When you’re a young driver coming up, you dream about racing in the Daytona 500 and now Steve’s going to get the opportunity to do it. He’s grown by leaps and bounds as a driver in the Nationwide Series over the last few years and we think he’s ready for this opportunity.
“We’ve been looking at this race as an opportunity for a while, because I really believe that the new pavement at Daytona is going to be a great equalizer among the teams. The cars will have a ton of grip and it’s going to make handling a much smaller part of the equation.
“Our program for Daytona has come together pretty quickly and I really want to thank 5-Hour Energy and Aspen Dental for coming aboard to support it.”
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About Rusty Wallace Racing, LLC
North Carolina-based Rusty Wallace Racing (RWR) is a professional auto racing team steeped in the legendary history of its founder, Rusty Wallace-one of NASCAR’s top-ten drivers of all-time. The team currently campaigns the No. 66 and No. 62 Toyota Camrys in the prestigious NASCAR Nationwide Series, driven by Steve Wallace and Michael Annett, respectively. RWR entries have been among the top-ten in the final Nationwide Series driver or owner standings in each of the last three seasons. For more on Rusty Wallace Racing, please visit the award-winning rustywallace.com.
About Living Essentials, LLC
Living Essentials based in Farmington Hills Michigan, is the maker of 5-Hour Energy®, the category leader of 2 oz. liquid energy shots. 5 Hour Energy® is available nationwide in major retailers in the Grocery, Drug Store, Mass Merchant Warehouse and Convenience Store classes of trade. Living Essentials sells over 7 million bottles of 5 Hour Energy® per week. For more information, please visit 5hourenergy.com.
About Aspen Dental
With more than 275 dental practices in 21 states, Aspen Dental is committed to providing patients with affordable, high-quality dental care in a welcoming environment. Services range from dentures and preventive care to general dentistry and restoration. Aspen Dental offices are open extended hours, offer affordable fees and a wide range of flexible payment plan options, and work with all insurance providers. Walk-in and emergency patients are welcome. For more information, call 800-ASPEN DENTAL (800-277-3633) or visit www.aspendental.com.