Kenny Wallace recalls the time his mom was electrocuted at Tri-City Speedway

Russ Wallace flipped but he was fine; His mom, Judy ended up going to the hospital after electrocuting herself on the fence

Racing is a sport of danger. It’s come a long way in terms of safety.

If you look back on the 1970’s, nothing made sense. The drivers lacked real helmets. The cars were basically street stocks with no crush elements upon impact.

They also had windshields, on a dirt track. Today, drivers have tear-offs that instantly create a shiny new window cleaning. But, you can’t clean a windshield in the middle of a dirt race.

As drivers exited turn two, their windows were full of mud. That’s when their heads went out of the side window for a clearer view. It’s outrageous to think about.

Sometimes, it created issues. Such was the case for the Wallace family at their nearby dirt track of Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois.

Racing has always been dangerous. Usually, we’re talking about the competitors. But, sometimes the spectators get caught in the danger as well…

Russ Wallace
Russ Wallace

Kenny Wallace recalls dirt racing with his dad Russ Wallace

“My Dad Russ was another Dale Earnhardt. Dad would race his dirt car anywhere, any time,” Kenny Wallace opened via the Dale Jr Download.

“My job was, when we were done racing the dirt track, I’d change the gears and take the drum brakes off. I’d wire brush the brakes and blow them all out, then run the asphalt race.”

“But, you always had a windshield. I can’t imagine those guys running with windshields, but they did.”

So how did they see? Well, they had to get creative and work around the windshield. That meant sticking their heads out of the side window.

“One night, he didn’t [see]. Dad come off of turn four at Tri-City Speedway. They stuck the telephone poles, not far in the ground and they had mounds of dirt around them.”

“Dad would always be low [on the track]. He was trying to get those left sides in some good dirt. His left front popped that thing it would come way up and about flip over.”

Russ Wallace flips at Tri-City Speedway

“Early in the night, I’ll never forget Dad flipped because he did that. Rusty and Mike got the car ready to go for the A Main.”

“They couldn’t put the hood on, had to take the hood off. Started overheating, water’s all over the windshield, couldn’t see.”

“I remember watching as a little kid, Dad’s driving with his head out the window. Climbs the wall! Takes the whole fence down.”

“Later, they had to cancel the event. Dad’s ok. Dad’s the one that wrecked real bad, tore the fence down.”

“My mom, Judy, comes flying out of the grandstands. Remember now, in the 1970’s, we fought. Dad would win too much, so they hated us.”

“Judy comes flying out of the grandstands. The fence is down and she’s climbing over the fence. The electric lines are on the fence! She electrocutes herself!”

“My mom is the one that ends up going to the hospital. Dad’s fine.”


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Kenny Wallace | Tri-City Speedway