Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham To Pilot Chevy at Bristol

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IFebruary 28, 2009

Former NASCAR Cup Series Champion and nine-time Bristol Motor Speedway winner Rusty Wallace will return to the high banked dome near the Virginia/Tennessee line on March 21.

Wallace—a nine-time winner at BMS—will partner with Ray Evernham, a three-time Cup Series champion crew chief, to run a No. 2 Chevrolet Impala SS on the track.

Unfortunately, Wallace won't be racing in any of NASCAR's touring series, but instead will take part in the speedway's first Saturday Night Special. The event will mark Wallace's first career start at Bristol in a Chevrolet.

Wallace isn't the only NASCAR legend that will take place in the 50-lap charity event. Harry Gant, David Pearson, and Junior Johnson are also slated to take part in the event.

“When the opportunity to run this race first came about, of course I was interested, but I just didn’t really pay it a lot of attention," Wallace said. "But then, when I saw all of these guys signing up to run, there was no way I was going to let Junior Johnson, Harry Gant, and those guys get another chance at Bristol’s Victory Lane without me." 

Wallace knows his way around the half-mile oval and is excited to get back behind the wheel.

"I’ve been in Victory Lane there a lot of times before and you can bet that Ray and I are going to be trying like heck to get there again," he said. "Everyone’s acting like this thing’s just going to be for charity, but you better believe that we’re all in it to win it.  Ray and I are bringing a bad little hot rod painted up just like my old Miller Genuine Draft cars and we’re going to try to take it to them one last time at Bristol.”

Wallace isn't the only member of the team with a good record at BMS. Evernham's crew helped Jeff Gordon win four times, with seven top-fives and nine top-10 finishes at the track.

"When you look back at it, Rusty and Jeff (Gordon) were really the guys to beat at Bristol for a long, long time," Evernham said. "Through all of those races, I’d like to think that I’ve learned a few tricks about how to get around Bristol. Believe me, we’re going to use all of them that Saturday night."

"We made a decision over the winter to take what we believe is the best fan experience in racing and make it even better," said Jeff Byrd, president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. "When we started talking about this, we wanted to take the Food City 500 weekend to another level. We believe having these celebrated drivers back on a track where they have all won in a stock car does that. These guys helped make Bristol."

Each driver will be paired with celebrity partners to run 35 circuits of the 50-lap event to benefit charity and send race fans on a trip down memory lane. According to BMS's Web site, assigned teammates will start the race and run the first 15 laps. Upon completion of that segment, the legends will run the second portion in the order of finish of the first.

Drivers won't be in the COT, however. They will circle the track in late model stock cars and $25,000 will be donated to the charity of choice of the winning team. The second-place team will have $10,000 given, while the other entrants will each have $5,000 to give—but the trophy...and bragging rights? That's all theirs to keep!

Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Jimmy Spencer, and Phil Parsons are also expected to compete. Dale Jarrett, Richard Petty, and Cale Yarborough were also extended invitations.

"Now, on top of the Scott's Turf Builder 300 Nationwide race and a 100-lap late model race we have added to the day, fans will get this to top off their evening for absolutely no added cost. Added value, but no added cost," Byrd said. "This is really going to be a great event, a lot of fun, so I believe the field definitely could expand."

The Saturday Night Special will take place after the completion of the Scott's Turf Building 300 Nationwide Series race and the 100-lap UARA late model event.