1,000. Rusty Wallace flips violently in 1983 Twin 125 qualifier at Daytona International Speedway

Photos for Headline Surfer / Rusty Wallace's first major crash was in a qualifying race for the 1983 Daytona 500.
Worst of the Worst: Motorsports CrashesMultimedia compilation of the Top 1,000 "WORST of the Worst: Motorsports Crashes" captured on video or still images, with an emphasis on the need for constant vigilance in keeping drivers, crew members, emergency workers, and especially spectators, safe at racing events around the globe.
 
Rusty Wallace's first crash / Headline SurferBy HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Rusty Wallace flipped violently down the backstretch during the second 1983 Twin 125 Qualifier at Daytona, a qualifier for the Daytona 500.

Wallace was tapped by Rick Wilson, sending him airborne and into a series of violent flips in the infield grass. He was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. He missed the Daytona 500, which was won by Cale Yarborough.

Wallace has tempted fate many times over in big crashes along the way. After his racing career ended, Wallace continued his hand in racing from a safer vantage point as a studio analyst for ABC and ESPN. 

Neil Bonnett was leading at the time and would go on to win the 50-lap qualifier for a sport in the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt won the first qualifier. Eleven years later, Bonnett would die in a crash during the first practice session for the 1994 Daytona 500. Bonnett was 47 years old. Earnhardt would win his lone 500 in 1998, before losing his wife in the 2001 Daytona 500, at the age of 49.

Rusty Wallace's car is destroyed in the 2nd 1983 Twin 125 qualifier / Headline SurferRusty Wallace has tempted fate many times over in big crashes along the way. After his racing career ended, Wallace continued his hand in racing from a safer vantage point as a studio analyst for ABC and ESPN. Neil Bonnett was leading at the time and would go on to win the 50-lap qualifier for a sport in the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt won the first qualifier. Eleven years later, Bonnett would die in a crash during the first practice session for the 1994 Daytona 500. Bonnett was 47 years old. Earnhardt would win his lone 500 in 1998, before losing his wife in the 2001 Daytona 500, at the age of 49.

Wallace would go on to seecure the 1984 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award and before the decade was over, the 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship. Wallave would win 55 races, but the one race he failed to conquer by the time retired after the 2005 season was the Daytona 500. Regardless, Wallace was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 1993, Wallace had two massive flips – both at restrictor plate tracks. The first was in the 1993 Daytona 500, where he was tapped by the crashing cars of Michael Waltrip and Derrike Cope, and barrel rolled multiple times in the grass on the back straightaway several feet in the air. Months later, at Talladega, Wallace was racing towards the checkered flag when he was hit from behind by Dale Earnhardt, which turned him backwards before his car flew into the air, then violently rolling in the grass past the start-finish line. A visibly shaken Earnhardt went to check on him immediately after the race. Wallace escaped with a broken wrist.

Earnhardt would go on to win the 1998 Daytona 500. But in the 2001 Daytona 500, Earnhardt would lose his life on the final lap when he was sent into the outside retaining wall  coming off turn 4. He was killed instantly.

Wallace started 12th in the 2001 Daytona 500 and finished third behind Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who were 1-2 with the elder Earnhardt in third, behind his two DEI drivers when he was bumped from behind by Sterling Marlon, who was charging for the lead, sending the No. 3 Chevrolet nearly head-on into the wall. Earnhardt collected Ken Schrader in the process.

Wallace also had an airborne crash in his last Gatorade Twin in 2005, when Dave Blaney clipped his right rear tire and sent his car off the ground. The car never turned over though.

Even though Wallace ended up starting 7th in that final 600, he finished a disappointing 34th.

Premise for the series:
Motorsports fans are drawn to racing for different reasons: The excitement of speed, skill of drafting & passing; strategies on when to pit for fuel, tires or repairs; the will to win and so forth. Ultimately, though, it's the big crashes that fans seem to like more than anything. And though nobody wishes serious injury or death to drivers, crew members, emergency personnel & especially spectators, the sad reality is carnage is always lurking. Despite the latest technology & improvements in aerodynamics of vehicles, driver equipment and enhanced track safety features, the fine line between life & death is always at play in any given sanctioned motorsport. Given that Headline Surfer® puts such an emphasis on racing with Daytona Beach International Speedway, the 24/7 internet news outlet is counting down its listing of the top 1,000 WORST of the Worst. While on the surface it may come across as gratuitous gore to critics, there can never be enough discussion about the need for constant vigilance in looking at safety.
 
Recap: WORST of the Worst Motorsports crashes:
 
Rusty Wallace / Headline Surfer®
1,000. Rusty Wallace flips violently in 1983 Twin 125 qualifier at Daytona International Speedway
2017-01-01 16:05:48 -0500
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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet in Daytona Beach, Florida, via HeadlineSurfer.com. Specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with dozens of journalism-industry awards.

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