Race Weekend Central

Winner, Champion…and Racer: Kenny Wallace Is All of These

_ I don’t care if it’s Travis Pastrana racing World Rally cars, or if it’s Kenny Schrader winning the dirt series in the late models or Kenny right now in modifieds or Tony Stewart—they all have a connection. They’re winners, they’re champions, and most importantly, they’re racers.” –Jeff Hammond_

Saturday morning came early to Loudon, New Hampshire, with the promise of being a scorcher of a day, and Kenny Wallace was sick to his stomach. It wasn’t the heat or the flu that was making the 48-year-old Wallace feel like he’d swallowed a whole herd of angry butterflies, but rather the conflict between commitment and opportunity.

On the Road: Odds, Ends, and Observations

Here’s the thing about long road trips: you have a lot of time to think. You just don’t always have the luxury of thinking about something for a long time, because you get distracted by things like a slow truck in the passing lane, road construction, or your gas gauge. But really, all you have to really work on is fuel, food, and restrooms. The rest of the time is pretty much dead air. Which, for me, anyway, meant that I had most of the 15-hour (give or take) drive from Charlotte to New Hampshire and back to think about racing.

Granted, not everything I thought about was publication material, but I did have a lot of thoughts and observations on the ride, and some are worth sharing. They just aren’t enough for a complete column of their own because, well, I’m…easily distractable.

All That’s Come and Gone: NASCAR 15 Years Later

Change. It’s something we talk about all the time when discussing NASCAR, because it is a constant. It is the nature of the sport to change; some of that change is necessary, some neither necessary nor embraced. It has to happen; technology advances, and so do the ages of the drivers and teams. A driver’s prime can’t last forever. On an individual team level, it’s a sport in which they must adapt to change or be left behind. If change is slow, it’s harder to notice; much of the change has been slow, though the big items, like the Chase format (which most people have never really warmed to) and the new car (a necessary evil), make it seem more rapid.

NHMS Success and Dashed Hopes Link Newman, Burton

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prepares to race at its only New England venue this week, talk is also heating up about Silly Season. As drivers and sponsors begin to make moves (Matt Kenseth has already announced that he will be leaving Roush Fenway Racing for an as-of-yet undisclosed team, while sponsor U.S. Army has declared its plans to leave NASCAR racing at the end of the year), there are always questions. After the Army announcement earlier this week, Ryan Newman is suddenly in the midst of the talk, while in the background, quiet speculation has been made about the career of another veteran driver, Jeff Burton.