He was offered the Budweiser ride before making the career move to Penske, where he drove the Miller race car
Rusty Wallace is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser have their headquarters in St. Louis. On paper, the pairing sounds perfect and it almost happened.
For the bulk of Rusty Wallace’s career he drove a Miller beer sponsored race car. However, that almost wasn’t the case. Circumstances almost put Rusty Wallace behind the wheel of a Budweiser machine.
“Timing and circumstance, unfortunately, dictate a lot of where you’re at,” Kenny Wallace states via ‘The Late Shift’ on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“My brother Rusty, if he would have taken the ride that was offered to him by Anheuser-Busch to replace Darrell Waltrip… So that happened.”
Darrell Waltrip drove the Budweiser machine in the mid 1980’s. At the time, he was driving for Junior Johnson & Associates.
“Rusty was offered the ride. Rusty said, ‘No.’ ”
“His heart was poundin’. He said, ‘Because, if I get in that car and I do not do good like Darrell Waltrip did. My career would be over.’ ”
Darrell Waltrip drove for Junior Johnson between 1981 and 1986. In that 6 year span, Waltrip won 43 races!
Waltrip ran his final race for Junior Johnson on November 16, 1986. The race was hosted at Riverside Raceway, he finished 4th. In 1987, Terry Labonte was selected at the replacement driver for Darrell Waltrip.
Following the 1985 season, Rusty Wallace left Cliff Stewart Racing. In 1986, began a five year deal with Blue Max Racing before joining Penske in 1991.
In 1995, Junior Johnson & Associates ran it’s final season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Darrell Waltrip retired in 2000.
Rusty Wallace finished his career with Penske Racing. He won 37 races beginning the Penske tally in 1991. Wallace retired in 2005.