In the 1990s and on into the new century, any time the Sprint Cup Series visited the Bristol Motor Speedway - and most other tracks, for that matter - Rusty Wallace was considered one of if not the driver to beat. Driving Roger Penske's No. 2 Miller Brewing-sponsored machine - as a Pontiac Grand Prix from '91-93, a Ford Thunderbird and then Taurus from '94-02, and a Dodge Intrepid and Charger from '03 through his retirement in 2005 - the NASCAR Hall of Famer won 37 times. Seven of his nine Bristol triumphs came at the wheel of the No. 2 car - his other wins came in drag racing legend Raymond Beadle's No. 27 car - including his 50th-career Sprint Cup win in August 2000.
Saturday evening at Bristol Motor Speedway, Penske and Brad Keselowski, the current driver of the No. 2 Miller car, will pay tribute to Wallace's induction into the Hall of Fame, his illustrious career, and in particular that 50th triumph.
Keselowski's Dodge Charger will carry the same white and blue paint scheme Wallace used in that race, down to the old-style Miller Lite logos. SB Nation's Jeff Gluck filmed this video of the car's unveiling at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
For longtime NASCAR fans, especially those of us who remember Wallace's glory days when he was one of the top contenders week in and week out, it is a touching tribute for one of the greatest short track racers the sport has ever known.
Don't be surprised if Keselowski pays further tribute to his predecessor in the Blue Deuce by winning the Irwin Tools Night Race. He is the event's defending champion and claimed the Food City 500 in March.