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Steve Wallace makes gains in the face of unknowns

Steve Wallace continues to improve as a driver, only to have his future on the track clouded by a difficult economy.

Wallace drives for his family team, Rusty Wallace Racing, which fields two cars in the Nationwide Series. Steve Wallace drives the #66, and Brendan Gaughan the #62. Both cars are in the top ten in points. At present, both cars are Chevrolets, but that may change before the start of the 2010.

Rusty Wallace — team owner, ESPN analyst and former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion — was one those who felt the pain when General Motors, faced with reorganising under bankruptcy, cut its support to the NASCAR's Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series.

Under the circumstances, Steve Wallace says, the team has decisions to make when it comes to working with a manufacturer in 2010 and beyond.

“We're looking at all options, whatever manufacturers can bring something to the table,” he said Thursday at a media day and autograph session at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill. “Basically, for next year, we just don't know at this point.”

Money, whether through support or sponsorship, will be at a premium next year, and Wallace says NASCAR's probable phase-in of its new Nationwide car may further strain the resources of many teams, particularly those that run Nationwide-only programs.

“I think if they go ahead with the new car, it will knock some people out of the sport,” he said. “I think it would be a mistake for NASCAR to phase in the new car next year. I think they should do it all at once or not at all.”

Further complicating matters for RWR are wide-ranging investigations in at least 40 states of companies that offer extended warranties on vehicles, independent from the original manufactures. The industry is based largely in the St. Louis area, and one of the firms in question, U.S. Fidelis, is the primary sponsor of Wallace's car.

The Wallace family traces its roots to St. Louis, too, with brothers Rusty, Mike and Kenny Wallace having succeeded their father, Russ Wallace, as racers. Steve, Rusty's son, is making his way as a third-generation driver, and though he lives in North Carolina, he can appreciate the family heritage.

In fact, Mike, Kenny and Steve will be racing in Saturday night's Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis' Gateway Arch.




Related Pictures

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Steve and Rusty Wallace [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew chief, Tony Gibson, after capturing the pole position Friday, March 4, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Busch set a track record with a fast lap of 196.328 mph. This was his second pole position this season. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, celebrates after capturing the pole position Friday, March 4, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Busch set a track record with a fast lap of 196.328 mph. This was his second pole position this season. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Friday, February 26, 2016 and will start on the front row for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS drives to victory Thursday, February 18, 2016 winning the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Can-Am Duel races at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. This is Earnhardt Jr.`s second consecutive Duel victory. He will start on the inside of Row 2 for Sunday`s Daytona 500 race. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, rookie driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS captures the pole Sunday, February 14, 2016 during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Elliott, who takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon, is the youngest driver ever to win the pole. He will lead the pack at the start of the February 21 race. (Photo by HHP/ Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase contender Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 13, 2015 for Sunday`s final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, November 6, 2015 to give him a front row starting position in Sunday`s second round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Harvick is joined by three other Chevy drivers in the Eliminator 8.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, October 30, 2015  for Sunday`s first round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Gordon is in the Chase. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, October 30, 2015 for a front row position for Sunday`s first round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Truex, Jr. is in the Chase. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet SS, celebrates capturing the pole position with his crew Saturday, October 24, 2015 for Sunday`s last round of the Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS will be joining him on the front row. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for seventh position Friday, October 16, 2015 for Sunday`s Contender 12 round of the Chase in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Truex, Jr. and five other Chevy drivers are competing in the Contender 12.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, October 16, 2015 for Sunday`s Contender 12 round of the Chase in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Harvick and five other Chevy drivers are competing in the Contender 12.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS, races to a twelfth place finish with Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS who finished in fourth place Sunday, September 20, 2015 in the first round of the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Both Earnhardt, Jr. and Newman are in the Challenger 16 which continues next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, will start in fourth position Sunday, September 20, 2015 in the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Due to rain, positions were determined by Friday`s practice speeds. Truex, Jr.joins eight other Chevy drivers in the Challenger 16 round which begins Sunday. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet SS, finishes in seventh place Saturday night, September 12, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Gordon is in the Challenger 16 Round of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase which begins next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Nine Chevy drivers are in the Chase.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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