Kenny Wallace on NASCAR, dirt racing, the roval and costs

Kenny Wallace: “When NASCAR’s doing good, dirt racing’s doing good.”

The Eldora Dirt Derby is a massive success for NASCAR. At the same time, it’s great for the sport of dirt racing.

Now, in 2018 the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be hitting the dirt as well. But, there’s a lot of talk of adding a second NASCAR dirt race. A lot of these NASCAR Truck Series teams are building special trucks, for a single race. It would make a lot more sense to have two dirt races on the schedule.

Kenny Wallace is Mr. dirt guy who happens to dabble in the NASCAR world as well. It seems like he would be the perfect person to ask…

Where would you like to see a second NASCAR dirt race?

“Well I think it’s gotta be at a race track that can hold 20,000 people,” Kenny Wallace told “I really think it should be held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Right?”

The Dirt Track at Charlotte
The Dirt Track at Charlotte

“That’s where the World Finals is. They know what they’re doing, what to do with the dirt.”

“A sold-out crowd of race fans witnessed the 2017 World of Outlaws finale. The Dirt Track at Charlotte was constructed in 2000. “They had the biggest crowd in history this year.”

“It’s one thing to go, ‘Ok lets hold another dirt track race.’ But we gotta put it where it has the infrastructure. Because there’s a lot more than just running a dirt track.”

“It’s gotta have accessibility for a helicopter. Medical staff is a huge deal, even Eldora had to upgrade. You gotta have a hospital, on site. A helipad, on site. Then, you gotta do your best with the safety innovations.”

Eldora began hosting a NASCAR dirt race in 2013. Since it’s inception, it’s been a highlight on the schedule, for race fans across both spectrums.

How about a 2nd one. It’s great, on paper. But, any old track isn’t going to cut it.

“We can’t run it at a dirt track that does not have the characteristics. For a second truck dirt race? To me, that place deserves it. They got all those hotel rooms there too,” Kenny Wallace concludes his vote for The Dirt Track at Charlotte.

Eldora Speedway 4 Wide Salute - NASCAR Truck Series Results
ROSSBURG, OH – JULY 19: The field does a 4 wide parade lap before the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 5th Annual Dirt Derby 150 at Eldora Speedway on July 19, 2017 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Now, I’m all about dirt racing. But, I’m not sure the NASCAR Cup Series should ever run a dirt race. I’m not sure why I feel that way.

“Well, they don’t think so either,” Kenny Wallace comments on the idea of a MENCS dirt race.

“But, I will say this, times are definitely changing. Who would have ever thought the second Charlotte race on the schedule, would be a road course? Nobody saw that coming. Ever, in a million years.”

The All-Star race should be one night at the big track and a second night over at the dirt track.

-Kenny Wallace

“Now, I thought that should have been an All-Star race. For me, the All-Star race should be one night at the big track and a second night over at the dirt track.”

“All the cup drivers are dirt racers. Jimmie Johnson drove off-road trucks, Clint Bowyer. I mean, there’s a lot of NASCAR drivers that are dirt racers. Christopher Bell, you can go on and on.”

“What’s been going on in all of auto racing is a societal shift. With the invention of 300-400 TV channels, cell phones and computers… The world’s just so much different nowadays.”

“Listen, everybody’s done a lot wrong. I watched about 60 $300,000 dirt haulers pull into the Gateway Dirt Nationals. Before we complain about the cost of dirt racing… Lets start with race car haulers first.”

Related: “I blew through my budget this year.” -Kenny Wallace

Kenny Wallace at the Gateway Dirt Nationals 5601
Kenny Wallace at the Gateway Dirt Nationals

“The new one’s now are like $300,000-$400,000. I asked Roger Penske one time — I said, ‘Hey! It’s getting too expensive.’ He said, ‘Kenny, it’s a free enterprise.’ It’s America, that’s why everybody moves here. If we want everybody the same then we all need to move to Denmark.”

“Right now, it seems like we’re out of that hole that we were in in 2008-2009. It looks like the economy’s doing pretty good.”

“Crowds are looking pretty good. I mean, there’s still issues at dirt tracks.”

Steve Francis leads the LOLMDS to green in the Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway
Steve Francis leads the LOLMDS to green in the Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway

Local shows mostly. Specials are booming.

“Specials are killin’ it. But, we’re in a societal shift. You know, do you go to the Cardinal baseball game? Or do you go to Pevely? The Cardinal game or Granite? The Cardinal game or Belleville?”

Pevely is in reference to Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. Granite is in reference to Tri-City Speedway. Belleville is in reference to Belle-Clair Speedway.

“We’re facin’ stiff competition on weekends. The World of Outlaws sprint car race at I-55, it’s standing room only. You couldn’t put another person in there.”

“Going back to NASCAR… When NASCAR’s doing good, dirt racing’s doing good. I’ve never agreed with dirt fans thinking NASCAR is the enemy. I know for a fact that when NASCAR’s doing good, dirt racing does better.”

Phoenix Rcaeway sold out
Phoenix Raceway sold out

NASCAR’s booming right now. At least in the playoff’s they were.

“They had to understand the psyche of the new fan. NASCAR was born on 500 mile races. The fans loved drinking the beer, hootin’ and hollerin’. And they don’t want that now. The fans, they want to go through McDonalds and get their food, right now. They want a race, right now.”

I actually think the fans have kinda migrated to dirt racing.

-Kenny Wallace

“I actually think the fans have kinda migrated to dirt racing. Because dirt racing has always been, drop the green flag and it’s over in 15 minutes. Pretty much.”


Related: Kenny Wallace talks pending retirement plans


Kenny Wallace | Shane Walters