Rusty Wallace named 2023 recipient of Buddy Shuman Award


In this 2021 photo, Rusty Wallace and Mike Helton laugh together at Michigan International Speedway.
Logan Riely
Getty Images

Rusty Wallace, NASCAR Hall of Famer, champion and philanthropist, has been awarded the 2023 Buddy Shuman Award, NASCAR announced Friday.

Wallace, inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2013, receives the prestigious award in recognition of efforts and contributions made to advance the sport.

MORE: Rusty Wallace through the years | Look back on 2023 Rusty Wallace Charity Ride

The 1989 NASCAR Cup Series champion Wallace’s numbers on the track speak for themselves, with 55 victories, 202 top fives and 349 top 10s in 706 starts across more than 20 years behind the wheel.

What may not be as well-known – Wallace’s philanthropic work behind the scenes. The dynamic Wallace has served on the board of The NASCAR Foundation since 2006, the year after he retired from Cup Series racing.

“(The NASCAR Foundation) has been something very, very special in my heart, and it all started back in 2006 when I got a phone call from the late Betty Jane France,” Wallace told NASCAR.com in August. “And she says, ‘Well, Rusty, I want to start a foundation, and I want you to be on the board. And I said, ‘Why me?’ And she laughed and said, ‘Well, now you’re not controversial because you’re not driving any longer.'”

Additionally, Wallace has overseen the Buffalo Chip’s Rusty Wallace Charity Ride since 2019. Last year marked the fifth edition of the motorcycle ride, a featured addition of the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

The now-annual ride benefits The NASCAR Foundation and the Rapid City (SD) Special Olympics, which evenly split the proceeds. The 2023 edition was the most productive yet with more than $160,000 raised.

“One of the things I really love as far as having fun is the motorcycles, and Mike Helton is the one that actually started that,” Wallace said in August, noting former NASCAR President and current Senior Advisor Helton’s involvement in the ride. “Mike started bringing a lot of the NASCAR drivers out to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally almost 20 years ago, and I just really got hooked on it. I just love Sturgis and all the people we get to meet, and my wife started coming out with me about the last six or seven years, and she just loves it and the family, too.”

RELATED: Wallace speaks on The NASCAR Foundation

Wallace joins a list of notable honorees to receive the Buddy Shuman Award. Goodyear’s Stu Grant was awarded the honor in 2021; former Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark in 2020; and former Dover Motorsports Inc. president and CEO Denis McGlynn in 2019.

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