Race Weekend Central

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Getting Dirty in the Summer

Here we are in June already. So far this month, we raced at Nashville and Kentucky. At Nashville, it was cool because we had the same sponsor as the race on the car. Federated Auto Parts sponsored the race and our team. There were a lot of folks there from Federated and it was a good time. We ran pretty good. The car handled really well; we just didn’t have the horsepower and we finished 25th. It was a pretty straightforward race.

I had fun at Kentucky. We had Tom Gill Chevrolet on the hood and we finished 22nd. We’re 20th in car owner points, which is really important because it locks us into the next race. I really enjoy running at Kentucky; you can really tell that Bruton Smith bought the track. He’s made a lot of really nice improvements. Kentucky is a great area for the Nationwide Series. There were a lot of fans there and they really support us, so it’s always nice to go there!

This is one of my favorite times of the year because I get to showcase my dirt talent. Eldora was a bummer. I won the first ever Prelude to the Dream and have finished in the top five pretty much every year. This year, Terry Phillips built my car. It was a new car. They stayed up all night to finish it and we really wish we’d had a car that had run before. We finished last. I really enjoy Eldora, so it was a bummer.

We’ve been running dirt. Dirt is going really good. Unfortunately, we’ve only got about 14 races in this year. The rain has been absolutely brutal! We’ve been rained out at Paducah; Macon Speedway; Waynesboro, Va. I’d estimate that we have an extra 3,000 miles on our hauler from rainouts. It’s really killed us this year. These popup showers have been more brutal than in any year I can remember. It seems like it gets to be about 4:30 and a monsoon will come. It rains so much – it rains two or three inches in an hour – that it rains the race out.

My year has been going well, but we can’t get the weather to cooperate. All our NASCAR nights at Macon Speedway – our first one on Memorial Day with Justin Allagaier was rained out and we got rained out for NASCAR night number two three nights ago with Tony Stewart. We just can’t seem to catch a break at the track that we own. Kenny Schrader, Stewart and I own Macon Speedway. But for the most part my car has been running good. We just can’t get any races in.

I’m really excited about my dirt car shop in St. Louis. It’s been a three-year project. It’s kind of funny. In my life, never did I think I’d be so obsessed with concrete. But my shop sits on the top if a hill and I had to pour a really nice driveway. So I’ve been working hard and saving money. I poured a 20-foot wide driveway, six inches thick and it’s got curves on it.

I think the first claim to fame for my new shop is that Billy Ballew’s truck team, with Aric Almirola, will use my shop when they race a couple weeks from now in Iowa, the next race they run will be St. Louis. Billy Ballew’s truck team is going to use my shop. That’s kind of exciting because we’ve never had a NASCAR team at our shop.

Basically half of Billy’s race team is my old team from the Red Dog days when I won a lot of races. They have Richie Waters, they have Two-Can, there’s a handful of boys over there. The history of that team is cool. I won a Challenge Series race in 2001 with Richie. There’s just a lot of history with that team and we’re good friends.

I’ve just been traveling the United States wide this year. I’m a vagabond! This is the most favorite time of the year for me. I love the heat. I feel like my body is conditioned for the heat. I tend to wear these young kids down. I’m really looking forward to O’Reilly Raceway Park and racing around the Midwest. This is just my favorite time of the year coming up – it reminds me of when I was a kid.

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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