Race Weekend Central

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: Bad Luck, Good Racing…and the Wizard

Michigan was really disappointing. We qualified 10th and had a really good car. It gave us no warning whatsoever; I guess the motor broke right as we were coming to get the green flag. As we were coming to the green flag, I went to take off and the motor blew up right then. That’s the second time that’s ever happened in my career. It happened at Phoenix back in like 1993, where my motor blew up on the very first lap. I guess if you race enough like me, those things will happen. So that was a bummer. It was just that quick at Michigan: we qualified 10th, it blew up coming to take the green flag and that’s it, we were out of the race.

My next race was Kentucky, and Kentucky was a really interesting race. We qualified horrible, like 26th, and it just didn’t handle very good. But we stayed at it hard core. I drove as hard as I could all night and was able to keep the car competitive. We got ourselves at the end of the face finishing 11th. It was one of those deals where if you’d have told me I was going to finish 11th 50 laps into the race I wouldn’t have believed it, because we weren’t very good. But, every time I drive that car with me and Scott Zipadelli and the team, it seem like we’re able to put together an competitive run.

It really hurts us not to have continuity. It’s hard to be competitive when drivers are doing what we’re doing nowadays. I think it’s on everybody’s mind; it hurts the whole team that they have a different driver all the time. It hurts me that I’m not driving every week. It doesn’t hurt anyone any worse than the other; the team needs to get in tune with the driver and I need to get in tune with the team. I think what bails us out is that this is my team that I worked with all of last year and know each other’s tendencies.

Kenny Wallace has been in his Nationwide car as much as he’d like but he’s been racing plenty-and winning-in his dirt car.

I’ve come to a time in my life where my body is young but my age is getting older. I don’t feel like it’s time for me to sit around the house by any means. So we’ve just been running the hell out of this dirt car. I’ve never in my career raced this much. We’ve raced in about 34 different races so far and we’ve won a total of nine times. My team, Kenny Wallace Racing, we’ve won eight dirt races this year, and I’ve won one driving for someone else for a total of nine. We’re racing, you know? We show up against some of the best racers in the United States, big car counts; sometimes there are 40-50 cars. The big thing is the heat races because you have to get it done. Everything happens quick in a dirt race!

We always have great stories. I share a lot of them on Twitter. Twitter is a lot like a journal. The craziest story I have just happened last night. I always have two dirt cars, and some man came up to me last night and he wanted to buy my backup car. Just out of the clear blue, this guy comes up and says, “Hey, can I buy your backup car?”

So I said, “Well, I guess you could.” So right there on the spot, we took the motor out of it and sold my backup car! That was a shock. I’ve never done that before, but we’ve got a new car we’re putting together, and now we’ve got some more money. Our cars have become quite popular because between me and Kenny Schrader and some other guys, our cars — they’re called Impressive Race Cars — they’re winning a lot, and everybody wants them. So my guys at about 10:30 at night, my guys hooked the lights up and took the motor out and all of a sudden, in an hour, my car was gone. It was kind of funny.

It’s summer and that means baseball. I love my St. Louis Cardinals, and there is one game that stands out the most to me. It wasn’t me at the stadium, but to me, my most favorite game ever was when we got in the 2006 World Series. In 2006, what it was, the National League Championship Series, and we were in New York playing the Mets. It was a foggy, cold night and at the time, Carlos Beltran was a Cardinal killer. We just couldn’t get him out. At the very end of the game, I was on pins and needles. Adam Wainwright was our pitcher and he came in and struck out Carlos Beltran. That game won us the pennant and we ended up winning the World Series that year Against the Detroit Tigers. I’ve got a lot of favorite moments, but that was the one where I just went nuts.

I think my favorite Cardinal of all time was probably Ozzie Smith. Ozzie was very gymnastic. He would come out on the field and he would literally do a back flip when he ran out. He’s a Hall of Fame shortstop, and when he ran out to his shortstop position every home game, he would do a back flip. All the fans used to come out early just to make sure they could see him do it. It was just incredible. He was no doubt, the greatest shortstop in Major League history, nobody would argue that, and the Cardinals just happened to have him. He was just incredible.

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