Race Weekend Central

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Rumors, Superspeedways & Looking Ahead

A lot has happened since the last time I talked to all of you. I have had a lot of exciting things happen. I’ve had some controversial things; I’ve had a bone thrown to me. I think the most controversial thing that’s happened is – I write a little blog for Speedtv.com and the article was written, and the media jumped on it – to my surprise, I think I started the biggest rumor of the year. I did the article about rumors, and the way it was written was that there are a lot of rumors in our sport, and one of the rumors was, is my brother Rusty going to come back or not?

So I elaborated and said that if Rusty was to come back, I’d be behind him. Oh my lord! I’ll tell you what – two days later I was watching the McCain-Obama debate when all of a sudden, there on CNN, on the ticker, I read, “Rusty Wallace denies report that he’s coming back!”

When I wrote the article, I didn’t write the article that Rusty was coming back. I wrote the article that there were rumors that he was coming back, but it really was about rumors. I can tell everybody that my brother Rusty at least got a big kick out of it. Rusty told me, ‘Herman, it wasn’t a bad rumor!’, and hell, it made me famous!

So that was something that was pretty controversial and pretty wild. I never thought in a million years that it would turn out the way it did. It was something that was controversial, but it was a lot of fun.

Then I got a surprise. I’ve kind of been down and out lately, not running the way I want to on the racetrack, and then Michael Waltrip called me out of the clear blue to see if I would race (the No. 00 Sprint Cup car) at Talladega. I really needed that – an old dog needs a bone – and I was able to go to Talladega and qualify 14th and finish 12th. In the meanwhile, people talked good about me, and that lifted my spirits up. I really had to run that race on defense.

There was a lot of pressure to make sure I got the maximum points for Michael Waltrip Racing. So I raced the way I had to run, and we finished 12th. I felt I got the very best finish I could have possibly got. I was fighting for 10th spot with Elliott Sadler and Aric Almirola as we came off turn 4 to the checkered flag. So we finished 12th.

Then the next week, we took my Nationwide car and followed up with a 16th place at Charlotte. We continue to try to overachieve with the U.S. Border Patrol car. Right now we’re a 20th-25th place race team. I will share with everyone that it really works on me and really does bother me. It’s put a lot of stress on me. But I really believe in Jay Robinson. He’s spending the money that we have available for our racecar.

I like my car owner, because you know where you stand; you know what you have. He’s not ever going to go broke, because Jay Robinson doesn’t spend his own money. The racecar has to support itself. For that, I really admire Jay. You’ve got to admire a man that will only spend what he has.

So, we’ve had a lot of things happen between the rumor with Rusty, and the Talladega race. Where things stand right now with my race team is, we have four more races to run, and a couple of them are big races for us. I’m really excited about Memphis, and I’m really excited about Phoenix. When we go to Phoenix, we will take the very first new car that Jay Robinson Racing has ever built. I’m really, really excited about it.

I got a little surprise for Jay. All the cars we’ve run were built in 2003 and they’re all old cars from Haas CNC Racing. Every time I get in the racecar and turn on the ignition, it says Haas CNC Racing on them. So for the brand new car that my team has built, I’m going to give Jay a surprise. I’m going to have the switch panel engraved and it’s going to say Jay Robinson Racing.

So I’ve finally got a new car, and my team really put a lot of effort in it. We’ve tested it, we went to the wind tunnel, and we’ll see how it turns out!

Everybody wants to know what I’m going to do next year. I’m real comfortable right now. I really like where my life is. I’m happy that JEGS High Performance Auto Parts, JEGS is going to be back with me next year on my TV shirt, they’ll sponsor my dirt car. As of right now I have years left on my TV contract, and also I plan on driving for Jay Robinson Racing right now. So I’m comfortable where I’m at – I’ve got JEGS, I’ve got my TV, and I plan on driving for the U.S. Border Patrol again next year. Everything is good!

About the author

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Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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