Race Weekend Central

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Survival Mode, Winning on Dirt & the “Tire Spot”

Bristol was a fun race because we had a really good sponsor, Hot Rod Grills. A lot of people had fun with it, including Dale Junior – he bought dome grills. It looks like a real motor. You open it up and it’s a grill. The pipes on the motor are where the smoke comes out. We had a lot of fun with that.

The race went OK. We ended up finishing 19th. I got into a wreck in turns 1 and 2 and I had to finish the race with a broken sway bar – the car had no sway bar on it for about the last 90 laps. We were able to take advantage of all the cautions and I had to go high in all the corners, and we finished 19th. I think we could have finished 14th or 15th but we just had to survive. We had a good car at the end of the race until we broke the sway bar off if it. It turned out OK.

Then we went to Nashville and Nashville was a really rough race on us. We just were not competitive. I think we ended up about 25th. Nashville was the first race where we really just had the bare minimum of money. We had Bear Hunting Magazine on the car. We drew awareness to bear hunting and it was nice to have their name on the hood.

We continue to try to get somebody to get us to the racetrack. Once we get to the track, we’ve been buying other people’s used tires and keeping it going. What saved me at Nashville was there was a wreck that my nephew Steven [Wallace] was involved in that took out about four or five cars. Right now we are just in survival mode, trying to stay in the Top 30 in points while we continue to look for a sponsor. We ended up 15th and the next race was Phoenix.

Now Phoenix was a race and an entire weekend that I will never forget. We go to Phoenix, and I was notified by my car owner that we would have to qualify on Mark Green’s practice tires that had 15 laps on them. Because we were locked in, we never even worked on it in practice. I ran six laps in practice and we adjusted on the car for the race. Actually, I told my car owner that I would go find us some tires.

I went to Chad Knaus and he gave us two sets of used tires; I went to Robin Pemberton and he gave us two sets of used tires. I’ll tell you what, it was one of our better races. We finished 21st and actually ended up outrunning a lot of cars with a lot more money at the end of the race. I was real proud of that effort – we persevered.

After Phoenix, we’re 23rd in owner points, and right now we’re just trying to survive until we get a sponsor. We’re talking to some great companies. People are realizing that in trying times, I can sell their product, and that’s why they keep coming to us. We have sponsorship for Texas and for Talladega and a small sponsorship for Richmond.

We also have something new that I’m going to announce right here on Frontstretch. I’m the first driver in the history of our sport to have what’s going to be called the “tire spot.” The tire spot is an area on our car where someone can put their or their company’s name. It will be one inch tall and up to five names. One set of tires costs about $1,800.

What we’ll do if you’re a small company or a group of people and if you can gather up $1,800, you’ll get your name on the car, one inch tall, I will promote the name on Twitter and Facebook, and after the race or before the race, I’ll kneel next to that spot and you’ll get pictures of the car with your name. I’ll sign them as well.

It’s a way to get a company’s name on the car really really cheap and it will allow us to get tires. If anybody wants to be involved with the tire spot, call our office (704) 784-4648 or go on Kennywallace.com and email us and we’ll get your name on there. If a lot of people want to put in $5 or $10, it will go on the car under the Kenny Wallace Fan Club. Your name won’t be on it individually, but if the Fan Club raises $1,800, it will be on there. So that’s something different.

I feel like I just got to Paducah, Ky. Last time we were in Paducah, we won a really big race in UMP. On April 22, the Thursday before Talladega, it’s going to be Tony Stewart night at Paducah, with Tony, Kenny Schrader and me – come on out! I’ll be flying up there because we have practice on Thursday at Talladega, and then I’ll fly back with Tony Stewart.

Then on that Saturday, the 24th, the night of the Nationwide race at Talladega, I’ll be changing my driver’s suit and flying up on my brother Rusty’s jet – it’s going to be a big night in Waynesboro, W.V. at Eastside Speedway. It’s going to be Federated Auto Parts night. It’s the home of Federated Auto Parts and you can see me and Kenny Schrader. We’ll be racing to win in our dirt modifieds – Kenny’s and mine are both sponsored by Federated Auto parts and they both look the same!

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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