Sport: Real-Life Days of Thunder

A Southern folkway no more, stock-car racing revs up nationally

Like many Americans, Rusty Wallace likes to take the car for a spin on a Sunday afternoon. But Wallace is hardly your typical Sunday driver out on a jaunt in the countryside. Helmeted, buckled up and clad in a fireproof jumpsuit, he averages about 150 m.p.h. in his 670-horsepower gold-on-black Pontiac and is usually hotly pursued by a roaring pack of heavily decaled Chevys, Fords and Chryslers. A Wallace outing, in short, is like a scene from the current Tom Cruise movie about stock-car racing, Days of Thunder. And no wonder: Wallace is the world-champion stock-car driver, and his weekend driving...

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