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Friday, January 6, 2012
Rusty Wallace shuts down team

By Terry Blount
ESPN.com

Former Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace is shutting down the on-track activities of his two-car Nationwide Series team, a move that Wallace says is due to a decrease in sponsorship.

"This was a tough decision to make," Wallace said in a team news release. "But it was the prudent one from a number of perspectives. While we had several great partners on board for 2012, we just didn't feel like we had enough sponsorship in place to accomplish all of our goals.

"One of the hardest parts of this decision was knowing the impact it would have on our employees and their families. It's just the unfortunate reality that our sport is facing right now. We wish all of our employees the very best in the future."

Steve Wallace, Rusty's son, drove the No. 66 car for the team the past six seasons. Michael Annett drove the No. 62 Toyota for Rusty Wallace Racing last season.

The team is helping Wallace find a ride with another team in 2012, with backing from his current RWR sponsors. Steve Wallace lost his primary sponsor, 5-Hour Energy Drink, which moved to Clint Bowyer's Sprint Cup car this year at Michael Waltrip Racing.

"We're working hard on an exciting 2012 program for Steve and hope to have an announcement on his plans soon," Rusty Wallace said.

Annett was released from RWR and will pursue other 2012 opportunities with his longtime family sponsor, Pilot Flying J. RWR's business staff will remain in place to continue development of future opportunities.

"A lot of teams would have run with the level of funding we have now," Rusty Wallace said in the release. "But we want to ensure that our team has the resources necessary to compete and to improve our operations.

"I promised myself and my family long ago that if the team wasn't funded to a level with which we were comfortable, we just wouldn't run it. I've worked way too hard to put part of my life savings into a race team."

Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com.