Race Weekend Central

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Good Luck, No Luck & 2 Milestones

Charlotte was one of the luckiest races I’ve ever run. I’ve never, ever been lucky, ever, but at Charlotte, I was playing the fuel-mileage game and got down a lap, then got the lap back when the caution came out at the right time. Then I was sitting there running 16th on lap 125 of a 200-lap race, and on lap 125 I blew the motor-broke a rocker arm and lost a cylinder.

So I’m running around the racetrack on seven cylinders when I should be on eight. I was thinking, “Oh, my God,” and dropped back to 18th and then it started pouring down rain. So I finished 18th with a blowing up motor. The rains came at the right time! I hope I didn’t use my luck up right there, but what a race.

Dover was a little disheartening. It was probably going to be one of our best runs of the year. We were running about 16th to 14th really early in the race and it’s really simple. I was sitting there, running along after a restart, and broke a crank. We broke a crank in the motor and simply blew up and fell out of the race. Then after it blew up, I changed my clothes and was sitting down in the garage and they wrecked so many cars it was unbelievable. The end there was just unbelievable, oh my gosh. It was a bad day for a lot of people.

We had to start at the back and ended up blowing a motor two weeks in a row. We got away with it in Charlotte, but at Dover, we didn’t get away with it.

And then at Nashville, we were not lucky. We ran good. We qualified 28th, but we never qualify good. We had a pretty good racecar. So they drop the green flag and I start to pick up positions. I got up to about 19th by lap 27 or so, and the caution comes out at lap 30. We said, “let’s pit.” So I pitted and it was me and Jason Keller who pitted and basically nobody else. I turned some good laps and got up to about 13th. I hadn’t passed that many cars in a long time. Then everybody else pits and I’m leading the race.

So we lead five or six laps and then all of a sudden, I ran out of gas.

I told the guys to get the ether ready because we ran out of gas and we’ll need to start it. I came down pit road and we don’t put the ether to it. We ended up running out of gas and then they were pushing me. The rule is you can only go three or four pit stalls. We went more pit stalls, and NASCAR made me come back through the pits for a drive-through penalty. So we were three laps down now and it was hard to get any of those laps back at that point when you have Kyle Busch leading the race, one of the hottest drivers in the nation.

Then I came in to pit and one of our tires got outside the pit box for another penalty. I was like, “Oh my God, what else is going to happen?” We ended up four laps down because of running out of gas and two penalties. I asked my crew chief, “So what did I finish, about 30th?” He told me no, we finished 16th, and I said, “16th? You’ve gotta be kidding me!” How we finished 16th, I don’t know. There was a five-car pileup late and we ended up getting lucky again, finishing 16th after leading laps, running out of gas and two pit-road penalties. So we just got lucky.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of my girls. Our middle one, Brandy, has graduated from Cabarrus Community College as a cosmetologist and got her state certification. She’s just fantastic. She didn’t tell us, but she got in her car all by herself and drove to Raleigh-Durham and ended up getting her state board license to be a cosmetologist. She’s working; she already found a job in Huntersville at a place called Valero. I’m really proud of her. She’s so excited. She specializes in updos and hair coloring. We’re really proud of Brandy.

Brittany is just beginning her second phase in her life. She is graduating from high school. I’m really proud of her! She starts school in September. She’s going to go to Johnson & Wales University in downtown Charlotte. She’s going to go into fashion merchandising. She’s done awesome and we’re so proud of her. Her journey is just now starting.

Summer’s here. It’s hot. I love this time of year. My favorite time is about 8:30 at night, when it’s been a long hot day and you’ve complained all day about how hot it is, and it’s starting to cool off. I just love summer. It’s my favorite time of year. I get to watch the boys of summer – the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. I follow them every day and every weekend when I’m at the racetrack, I bring them up on FOX Sports Midwest. This is my favorite time of year because everything I love to do is right now!

About the author

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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