Rusty Wallace wants to have a little fun.
Not the kind of fun he's been having since retiring from NASCAR in 2005, but the kind he had before that.
That's why the 58-year-old Hall of Famer decided to return to competitive racing by competing in the off-road truck racing event at the X Games this summer in Austin.
“Any racing I do, it's just for fun,” Wallace told the Associated Press. “My wife rolls her eyes at me and says, 'We are having fun.' But most of you, you see Rusty in damn regular clothes and think, 'There's retired Rusty.' I am a racer at heart, I'm always a racer at heart, and I'm not done with racing.”
Wallace says he was feeling burned out when he decided to end his driving career after 25 years that included the NASCAR championship in 1989. He served as a commentator for ESPN from 2006 until the network's contract with NASCAR expired last year.
Now Wallace does radio work for Motor Racing Network and makes appearances for NASCAR. He also owns several car dealerships.
But the idea of getting behind the wheel again to compete against other drivers in June was just too tempting to pass up.
“I honestly miss driving a car a little bit," said Wallace, who had never competed in off-road truck racing before. "ESPN brought up this possibility and I thought, 'Why not? Let's go knock the cobwebs off and try this.'"
He added: "I know that I stopped driving too early. I think I could have gone another three years. ... I still struggle with not racing, not a whole lot, but a little, and this was a good opportunity to go have some fun.”