Three members of racing’s legendary Wallace family have announced their commitment to the 36th annual TD Banknorth 250 Presented by New England Dodge Dealers on Sunday, July 19, 2009 at Oxford Plains Speedway.
Kenny Wallace and Steve Wallace have filed entries for the historic late model race, while NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace will be grand marshal of the region’s richest single-day short track race.
Qualifying begins at 2 p.m. on race day, with the main event scheduled for shortly after 6 p.m.
Eighty-eight drivers attempted to earn a starting position in last year’s TD Banknorth 250, with Kevin Harvick capturing the checkered flag.
“We’re excited about this announcement that not just one or two but three NASCAR personalities will be part of the TD Banknorth 250 this year,” said OPS owner Bill Ryan. “We’ve been fortunate to have the biggest names in the sport competing in this race since 2004 -- Kenseth, Busch, Labonte and Harvick, to name a few. The Wallace name has been synonymous with our sport for more than 20 years, so they are a perfect addition to that list.”
This won’t be the family’s first encounter with Oxford. Rusty Wallace competed in what was then the NASCAR Busch North Series on a Saturday night in August 1987. Two years later, coinciding with his Cup championship season, Wallace qualified 25th and finished 10th in the TD Banknorth 250.
Kenny Wallace competed in three consecutive 250s when it was a NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the early 1990s, posting finishes of 20th, eighth and 34th.
Rusty’s son and Kenny’s nephew Steve has never competed in the TD Banknorth 250, but he already owns a victory in another storied short track race, the Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fla.
"I can't tell you how excited our family is to be part of the TD Banknorth 250 and get back to Oxford Plains Speedway again," said Rusty Wallace, now owner of a NASCAR Nationwide Series team and lead auto racing analyst for ABC and ESPN. "It's been 20 years, but I remember like it was yesterday having to sweat out those qualifying races and compete with a hundred other guys just to make the feature. It's just an old-school event. There really aren't many races like it anywhere in the country anymore."
Rusty Wallace won 55 races and 36 poles in his Sprint Cup career. He won the 1989 NASCAR all-star race in memorable fashion, was the 1991 IROC champion and was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998. He also earned the victory in the inaugural Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 1993.
Kenny Wallace, 45, is a veteran of more than 750 starts in NASCAR’s top two series. He owns nine wins, 10 pole positions and 157 top-10 results in the Nationwide Series, where he currently drives the #28 United States Border Patrol car.
Wallace finished second in the Nationwide point standings in 1991.
He has won the pole three times and posted 27 top-20 finishes in his Sprint Cup career, mostly notably finishing second at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2000. Kenny’s drafting help late in the race assisted what was Dale Earnhardt’s final win.
“We thought we had a chance to win at least two of our races at Oxford, which is a testament to how tough the TD Banknorth 250 is,” Kenny Wallace said. “You’re going up against the best drivers in this part of the country on their home turf. That’s what is so amazing about what Kevin Harvick was able to do last year.”
While still active as a driver, Kenny Wallace also is one of the sport’s most popular television personalities. He is co-host of “NASCAR RaceDay” and “NASCAR Victory Lane” on SPEED.
Steve Wallace is only 21, but his racing resume already includes multiple poles and top-five finishes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, numerous victories in ARCA competition, a win in the first-ever Late Model stock car race at Bristol Motor Speedway and a national championship as a youth in the INEX Bandolero Car series.
Perhaps his greatest achievement to date took place in 2004, when at 17 he became the youngest winner in the 37-year history of the Snowball Derby.
“I hear this race is very similar (to the Snowball Derby) in a lot of ways,” Steve Wallace said. “But they also tell me it’s a tough track to get a hold of. I love new challenges and the TD Banknorth 250 is going to be one for sure.”
Team and sponsor affiliations for Kenny and Steve Wallace will be announced at a later date.
The TD Banknorth 250 is the headline event of a three-day weekend presented by New England Dodge Dealers that also will include full cards of racing competition on Friday and Saturday.
Past winners of the summer classic include Mike Rowe, Dave Dion, Ralph Nason, Geoff Bodine, Ben Rowe, Butch Lindley, Bob Pressley, Joey Kourafas, Jamie Aube, Dick McCabe, Chuck Bown, Ricky Craven and Junior Hanley.
To order your TD Banknorth 250 tickets now, call (207) 539-8865 , Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.