Keselowski Win Means Moment in Spotlight for Rusty Wallace
NASCAR does well to honor its traditions and the people who helped build the sport. Darlington Raceway is the shining example of all those characteristics as a Hall of Fame driver gets to celebrate with race winner Brad Keselowski.
Throwback weekend has been the theme of the Southern 500 for the last few years as everyone clamors to honor the past. Keselowski has done so with a paint scheme that resurrected the exploits of the former driver of the number 2 Penske machine driven by Rusty Wallace.
What makes it so cool is that Rusty notched 55 wins in the Cup Series and one championship in his NASCAR career. Most of those wins came at short tracks, notably Bristol and Richmond, but never at the “Track Too Tough To Tame.”
By late Sunday evening, Keselowski had finally done what Wallace was unable to do. However, a piece of Rusty’s legacy rode around Darlington for 500 miles. A paint scheme that Wallace sported back in 1990 brought back a lot of memories and excitement as the laps counted down. Wallace was at the track as a member of the working media with the Motor Racing Network and as Keselowski’s Miller Genuine Draft Ford rolled toward victory lane, Rusty did the same.
“When I saw he was going to run with this paint scheme, I was really excited. We won the Coke 600 and the race at Sears Point with it. I felt like I was watching my own kid tonight,” he told NBC Sports after the race.
For many years the Southern 500 was run on Labor Day in the sleepy South Carolina until moved to Sunday in 1984. Then in 2004 most likely because of declining interest in the race and the lure of a bigger market draw, Darlington got a rest from Labor Day activities.
Credit the track officials and the Darlington community for striving toward a rejuvenation of the track through renovations and upgrades to make one of the oldest tracks on the circuit a destination.
Since returning to Labor Day, the Southern 500 has reclaimed its status as a crown jewel of the sport. Because of a tremendous pit stop by the 2 crew, Keselowski and Wallace got to share an incredible highlight.