Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!
Wallace and his partner Amanda Carter recently married in a joyous New Year’s Eve ceremony in North Carolina, but as Wallace jokes, the flame of their relationship which sparked in high school – at least for Wallace – started off as far less than even a smoldering ember.
"She thought I was nice, but not attractive," the 29-year-old NASCAR driver revealed to PEOPLE. “I just remember seeing her, and I was like, 'Wow, she's beautiful."
For Carter though, who was a freshman at the time while Wallace was a sophomore, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.
"We were in Spanish class in high school, and we sat near each other," Carter explained. "I don't remember first meeting, but he would always try to cheat. We were friends. There [were] three or four of us that did all of our projects together, and he always would try to cheat off my exams because I was much smarter than he was!"
"I was definitely not good at Spanish, and I was trying to do the easy route, and she would not budge,” joked Wallace. “She would not."
Despite Wallace immediately falling head over heels for his now blushing bride, as Carter details, the romantic courtship didn’t throttle into high gear until long after they graduated.
"It never worked out,” Carter says. “It never hit or landed in high school. I even went to his prom with somebody else from his school."
While a slow and steady tactical strategy isn't exactly the hallmark of a NASCAR driver on the track, when it came to his pursuit of Carter, that’s exactly how he won the race.
After Wallace finished high school, the duo remained in communication, chatting here and there until one fateful football game provided enough oxygen to turn those embers into something more. They began spending more time together, including Carter jetting out to Las Vegas to watch one of Wallace’s races when she was a senior in college.
"It was my senior year spring break, and I didn't have plans at the time,” noted Carter. “He was like, 'Well, I'll be out in Vegas while you're on spring break, do you want to come?' And I said, 'No.'"
"And then he asked a few times again, and I eventually said yes,” added Carter. “I was like, well, I have to get to know him more if we're going to be on vacation for a week together. And we started dating when we got out to Vegas because we had been talking so much. We had really started to really like each other."
For Wallace, the checkered flag was within his grasp, and after five years together, 23XI Racing’s tenacious driver behind the wheel of the No. 23 Toyota Camry popped the question in July of 2021.
"It's special," voiced Carter fondly of their history together. "Even last night when we were at dinner, we were talking about stories from high school or people from high school and town. We still reminisce or talk about things from the past. We just know so much about each other's lives from so long ago."
Now married, the glowing couple are thrilled for what their future may hold together.
"Getting married and starting a new life together – I’m just so excited to have a good one in my corner," Wallace explained. "We have so much fun together."
For a man whose life is predicated around going fast, that’s one race where it paid to take things nice and slow.
USA Insider is your source for all things USA, from behind-the-scenes access to breaking news, information about USA’s original shows, and much more. Sign up for USA Insider and be the first to get extras and updates on your favorite shows.