Pending Kenny Wallace retirement – Discusses the decision to run dirt modifieds
I woke up early on Friday, turned on my TV and there was Kenny Wallace. Per typical, he was on air making me laugh as he cracked jokes/interviewed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers during their practice rounds.
That morning, K. Wallace (the reporter) was at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. After watching practice, I packed up and went to the DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals event in Pontoon Beach, IL. There was K. Wallace (the racing driver). From my tv screen to the dirt track. Kenny dropped in from Iowa, landed near the dirt track, via jet plane.
He flew into St. Louis to race. He was there to compete in the DIRTcar Summit Nationals / DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals event at Tri-City Speedway. The track is around 30-40 minutes from his dirt racing shop in Arnold, MO. It was basically a home race for Wallace.
Kenny wouldn’t get home from the dirt track until around midnight, but the requirements of his day job weren’t completed yet.
The NASCAR Truck race weekend wasn’t done. Kenny still needed to fly back to Iowa to pick up where he left off as a pit road reporter for FS1.
Just seeing all that, made me feel exhausted. In the pits at Tri-City Speedway I caught up with Kenny Wallace. I had some questions…
Do you see yourself slowing down anytime soon?
Wallace stated, “Yes! I’m tired right now.” He immediately jumped to pending retirement talking points. It was already on his mind. Stating, “I’m probably going to retire in about 3 years.”
I thought he was joking. Kenny Wallace doesn’t strike me as the type of guy that could even retire. I asked again, just to make sure he wasn’t joking. Really? He simply stated, “Yes.”
Retiring from dirt racing or from the TV gig? He stated, “I plan on slowing down from everything in 4 years, when I am 58. If I still want to race, I will locally.”
Yeah because you’re flying all over the country, from one track to the next. NASCAR reporter to the dirt track.
He described his schedule, “The key to me is sleep. So, I’ll sleep until about 11:30AM. Then, we’ll get in an airplane at noon and fly back to the NASCAR track. [Trademark Kenny Wallace laugh].
“That’s the way it goes.”
Why dirt racing?
I feel like as an owner/driver, the Arnold, MO racing driver has the freedom to run almost anything he’d like. Add in the ‘NASCAR money’ as he calls it and it would appear to be ‘complete freedom’. Yet, Kenny Wallace runs a Dirt Modified. Not a late model. But why?
Wallace explains his choice, “I’ll be 54 years old in August. That’s why.”
Well, I mean you could go late model racing?
He quickly shot down that idea, “Oh no. Listen, I’ve raced everything. I’ve raced super late models and I’ve won. I won the 2005 Prelude to the Dream, won Cleveland, Tennessee.”
He explains, “But, just when it comes down to it. My ego’s not that big. I already raced NASCAR, I already made it to the highest level.”
Wallace spent 25 years in the top 3 levels of NASCAR. He has 344 career starts in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Another 547 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Additionally, 13 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. A total of 904 NASCAR starts.
He concluded, “Them dirt late models… I’f you’re gunna run a super dirt late model you might as well go run the Xfinity series.
Because of the cost?
Kenny Wallace concluded, “Oh, those cars are so expensive. You gotta have a sugar daddy. You gotta have someone that has a lot of money.”
That night at Tri-City Speedway, Kenny Wallace finished 12th. A decent run in the strong field of 32 dirt modified entries.
Author: Shane Walters