Kenny Wallace - Motivated and Poised Man on a Mission

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kenny "The Hermanator" Wallace, driver of the No. 9 Toyota Camry for RAB Racing, is a nine-time NASCAR Busch Series winner whose racing career has lasted over two decades. His family has a rich history in motorsports and he continues to make his mark whether inside the race car, in front of the camera on NASCAR Race Day or NASCAR Victory Lane.

He is currently sitting seventh in the Nationwide points standings, 198 behind leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. However, this is a great showcase of how successful the 2011 season has been for him and his race team compared to the previous year. Additionally, his car is currently sitting 13th in owner's points.

This hard-working, loving husband of 27 years to Kim Wallace and father of three beautiful young women (Brooke, Brandy and Brittany) took some time out at Kansas Speedway to sit down with Skirts and Scuffs to share some insight about his career goals presently and in the future.

You know the saying "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen" - Well, Kenny Wallace has the floor today so take a seat and listen up ...

Unique Hiram (UH): What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment for the 2011 season?

Kenny Wallace (KW): My biggest accomplishment this year has not been one specific thing; however, being able to elevate my career is huge because you have to know where I've been. I'm a nine-time winner and I started to fall from grace so myself along with a lot of people thought - well he is 48 years old, he is probably done. And like the movie "Rocky," I said that I am in too good of a shape, I feel too young and I wanted to make one last push so now I'm seventh in the standings, 13th in car owner points. You know running well, top five at Richmond - we run good. It's not one thing, I elevated my career to a higher level this year. That's my one big accomplishment.

UH: What are your thoughts about the Cup drivers competing in the Nationwide series?

KW: I've been jumping, yelling and screaming - it's not the drivers. It's the car owners. What it is, the Nationwide drivers feel the same as me. I've raced 10 full years of Cup, I've got 340-something Cup starts, I'm a Cup driver who got older and couldn't get the $15 million to stay in Cup. I don't mind the Cup drivers. The Cup car owners like Jack Roush, Joe Gibbs and Roger Penkse - these are some of the wealthiest people in the United States, not just in racing. Their programs are so good - they build their own motors, they build their own cars and it's fine with me. I just think people need to get it right, it's not the drivers - it's the car owners. They are just so wealthy, they can do everything.

On track at Iowa Speedway
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

UH: I know that you love dirt racing. Which is your favorite dirt track in the circuit?

KW: Well, I would say the track that got me the most popularity was Eldora Speedway (0.5 mile dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio) where I won the 2005 Prelude to the Dream. Eldora is a legendary racetrack and so that is probably my most popular track. I like it a lot but I would mess up if I didn't say that my favorite track is the one that me, Tony Stewart and Kenny Schrader own, which is Macon Speedway in Macon, Ill., around Decatur. So, that is my favorite track. Eldora Speedway is the one that got me addicted to dirt racing. Yeah, when I won that race and Tony Stewart finished second with Dave Blaney and all those guys. I was like man, it was like potato chips and I couldn't put it down then. Now, I've got one full-time employee and I'm addicted to it.

UH: You are a very busy man with racing and doing television. What keeps you motivated?

KW: Well, I'm into psychology and I do understand myself. Sometimes I study myself, I think what keeps me motivated is that I'm a third child and I'm an overachiever. In school, for example my wife is really smart, I had to use my fingers and I still do until this day. But I'm an overachiever - I'm not smart but what I am is a really good delegator. I know who is smart, I have to work twice as hard - you know I mean, it's kind of just what God gave me. So, I think that is what keeps me motivated. My life is like a video game, I never win the first time so I just have to keep going until I finally get it. Sometimes I get on my knees and ask God - how come you didn't make me like Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson but we are the type of people that make those guys great. If they don't race us then they are not racing nobody, right? So, I am an overachiever and I know that so that's my place. I think that is the reason I have so many fans because the whole world can relate to me. You know there are not very many great people so they stick out.

UH: Due to your busy schedule, how much time would you say that you spend from home?

KW: Oh, a lot but I must say this - I spend a lot of time away from home until sometimes when I go home it's strange but through it all I would like to think that I'm a loving dad. I tell my kids that I love them to their face, we set rules and we are a good family. For example, my oldest daughter Brooke is here and we are a really well-rounded family. So, just because I'm not home - now that I kinda' go on defense about because I'm not at home - we've got an awesome family and my kids really love their dad. They respect me because they got a lot and they have been able to do a lot. They go on a cruise every year, they fly on commercial airlines and they know so it balances out. Do you want a dad like me or do you want dad that makes $30,000 a year and is at every game? I can't go to every game but they know that I love them and they have gotten everything they've ever wanted or needed. It's a balance with our family.

Kenny Wallace with nephew Steven Wallace at Dover
Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

UH: What are the plans for you to race in the 2012 season?

KW: I've been told by all my sponsors that they are coming back and I am racing next year. I plan on running for the championship but I can't tell you 100 percent that I am running for the championship. I know that I am racing in the Nationwide Series next year, me and my car owner are great friends but we can not go in the hole financially like we did this year. So we are going to do everything that we can to run for the championship. There are a lot of things that are offered up for next year but to say we are running for the championship - I will let you know that in January but I know that I am racing next year.

What I mean is - am I running 20 races or running for the championship? I won't know that until December but I know that I'm racing a lot of races next year. Now, all we have to do is see how much money the sponsors are going to come back with. We are trying to capitalize on what has been a breakout year for me and the team. It's only the third year for this team and up until this point Robby, my car owner, told me they have only had a total of two or three top 10s ever. We are at 11 top 10s, one top 5 and our trailer is on the big side of the garage so we are in the same position that everybody else is - the money is not there so we are gathering up six sponsorships, it's very exhausting.

UH: Name your top favorite things: food, band and hobby (outside of racing).

KW: Well, because I've changed my life - my comeback this year was about getting physically fit and eating better so my favorite foods have changed. This is gonna sound funny - I really get excited when I can take plain oatmeal and then add raisins and apples because plain ole' oatmeal is just so blah that I get excited every time I catch a raisin or an apple. (laughs with that infamous laugh) So, I didn't lose 25 pounds eating crappy and I love sweet potato - a plain sweet potato and I just get excited. Not all restaurants have sweet potatoes, those two things are good for me and they have changed my life so I know it sounds funny but it's true.

My favorite band has always been Aerosmith. There is not one particular band that stands out to me anymore but I will say that I absolutely love what Lady Gaga is doing for the fact that I understand that she is totally an entertainer and she brought a complete new sound to life. I went to one of her concerts and I loved it. I think that Taylor Swift is great, I love Red Hot Chili Peppers - you know there is a lot of good music out there nowadays more than there used to be. I like a mix - everybody from Nelly (he's from St. Louis) and I love what he did for St. Louis. I love Patsy Cline, I really appreciate a lot of music. It just really depends on what kind of mood I'm in. I also like Gwen Stefani and Nora Jones.

My favorite hobby outside of racing - I guess it wouldn't be my dirt car then (laughs). My favorite hobby is kind of strange to people but it's so true. My favorite hobby is to really - I'm so hyperactive that lighting a candle in my room, chilling out in my bedroom (which is not only where I sleep but it's kind of my sanctuary) and gathering my family (wife Kim along with daughters Brooke, Brandy and Brittany) together for a family outing (going to eat and a movie). I love movies because it puts me in a different world, that's my favorite hobby. I just love that, I guess I don't have anything that is just a hobby - it's just my lifestyle.

Summer Dreyer (SD): Is there a reason all three of your daughter's names begin with a B?

KW: That is a great question, we planned it that way. Well, me and Kim - when we weren't even married yet in 1984 - we were living in Charlotte and I was a crew chief on the Levi Garrett team for driver Joe Ruttmann in 1984 and we were living in an apartment. Well, to make extra money, Kim baby sat a good looking little girl named Brooke and we said that when we ever had kids that we liked that name (e.g. Brooke Shields) and then we just said that we would just stick with the letter B. We have a joke because we call our kids - our Queen Bs so Brooke, Brandy and Brittany. It was a planned deal.

SD: Would it have been the same with boys?

KW: No, we planned on Chad and another boy's name picked out. I will tell you this - our second baby Brandy was supposed to be a boy. We had an ultrasound and they told us it was a boy. We had the room decorated and everything. Brooke, our oldest, was the only one that came out normal and the other two were C-sections. I was in there for all three deliveries and when they said that our second was a girl, it shocked the h*** out of us. I was very happy as long as they were all healthy. I'm telling you the truth that it was a boy all the way and we painted the room like mint green or whatever it was so it was kind of neutral. So I was shocked beyond belief, I wasn't disappointed at all - I was just waiting for a boy to come out. I always tease Brandy because she is a tomboy so I tell her that maybe her little wiener fell off right on the way out. (all laughing hysterically)

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, Oct. 14, and the race will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m ET.


Kenny Wallace Racing

RAB Racing

Macon Speedway

I would like to thank Kenny Wallace for taking the time out to grant this interview to me on behalf of Skirts and Scuffs. He is an awesome and humble person who is definitely on his way to staging a very competitive comeback.


Unique Hiram is an Associate Editor/Contributing Writer for Skirts and Scuffs. Additionally, she is also the author of "Fast Lane Poetry" which was published April 2011. Unique can be contacted via email or through Twitter.
Kenny Wallace - Motivated and Poised Man on a Mission Kenny Wallace - Motivated and Poised Man on a Mission Reviewed by Unique Hiram on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 Rating: 5