Race Weekend Central

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Things Happen in 3s

We went to Montreal knowing that we needed to finish that race because we blew the motor at Watkins Glen, and we knew that after blowing the motor at Watkins Glen that we were going to have to stop the bleeding as far as our downfall in the points. You know, we rattled off those five top 10s in six races and then all of a sudden all these odd things started happening to us.

So we went to Montreal knowing that we had to finish the race. We qualified somewhere around 20th or something like that. I love that racetrack. Kim and I love Montreal. We went there and I drove as hard as I could, but I had to pace myself. It’s easy to wear your brakes out at that racetrack. I know a handful of cars who were out of brakes at the end.

So anyway, we got as high as 10th or 11th spot and got spun out by Reed Sorenson about halfway through the race. He was going about the same speed as I was and divebombed me right at that corner at the top of the course. We got spun out. At the end of the race, it was kind of funny because payback is hard.

On the white flag lap his teammate, Justin Allgaier spun Sorenson out. We ended up finishing 15th, not what we wanted. I had not been happy with the brakes on that road course car in all three races. We’ll have a new road-course car for next year and we’ll be better.

At Bristol, man I was personally really focused on that track and getting our car better the second time around. It had been bottoming out the first time. So I sat down with Scott Zipadelli and we talked about how the front end could not bottom out. So we went back to try and win the damn thing and I’ll tell you what, we really ran well. We were second-quick in practice and qualified fourth.

We were running fourth on lap 125 in a 250-lap race and out of the clear blue, out of nowhere we blew a right-front tire and hit the wall. It destroyed the car. It took the car and bent it in such a way that we can’t fix it. We’ve got to build a new car. That really hurt our team financially and it hurt us in the points.

It was an easygoing race and everything was perfect until that happened. There’s no explanation from me. Part of me thinks that maybe the A-frame bent first and then pushed the tire into it. So I’m not sure, but we’re done with Bristol and we never capitalized on one of my very best tracks.

And here we are again after Atlanta. They say that bad things happen in threes, and if we add up Watkins Glen, Bristol and Atlanta, then hopefully our bad luck is over. We went down to Atlanta with a brand-new racecar, the first new car RAB Racing had this year, and we were really excited about it. We qualified 20th. We started out really, really tight. We kept freeing the car up and I changed my driving, and the track kept loosening up.

At the end, with about 25-30 laps to go the track really came to me. My God, we were fast! I’m actually really excited to go back there next time. We learned a lot about this new car. So we get down to three laps to go and I was battling Elliott Sadler for 10th. I surprised myself and a lot of other people. They were on the radio asking, “Is Kenny on the lead lap?” and I was.

We started passing everybody. It was right out of a movie. We came from 20th right up to 10th and with three laps to go, we broke something in the drivetrain and it took us from 10th spot all the way to 19th.

I’m exhausted. The bad breaks have just come all at once this year. We have new parts and everything. It’s not like we’re trying to save money or anything. There’s nothing going on there. We just ended up blowing the motor at Watkins Glen, then blew a tire at Bristol and now broke something in the drivetrain. I hope we’ll get back to normal and start rattling off these top 10s!

I might add that in two of the three races where we broke, I was running inside the top 10. We’ve been running well every time something bad happens. I told my guys that we don’t need any meetings, we don’t need to change anything. I just need to pray harder, I guess.

I’ve got a lot of great sponsors. I went to Chicago this week for the Illinois Corn Growers and Chicagoland Speedway. We went to a Shell gas station about one mile from the speedway and I was up there pumping E85 gas. It was a lot of fun. I met a lot of fans, and we had a good time. We’re constantly doing everything we can do to help promote the sport.

What’s going on now is we’re going overboard. All the Sprint Cup drivers are doing autograph sessions. You go to racetracks now like Atlanta where you had all those Cup drivers doing an autograph session. One day, on the exact same day this week, I was in Chicago promoting the race and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne were over in Kansas City promoting that race. We’re doing everything we can do for the fans and the sport and for our sponsors.

I haven’t done anything for myself lately. It’s time for Kenny to take a break! I’m excited about that. After the race at Richmond, Kim and I are headed back to St. Louis. Kim is preparing for her niece Amy’s wedding while I go to Chicago. I’ve got one more appearance in Nebraska for the National Corn Growers’ Association and American Ethanol at Husker Harvest days on Sept. 14 from 10-12.

I’m also starting to get back to some dirt racing. I’ll see everybody at Quincy, Ill. on Sunday, Sept. 11 and I’ll see everyone at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill. for Modified Mania on Sept. 22 and 23.

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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