MOORESVILLE, N.C., (Sept. 1, 2000) - Eel River Racing announced today the signing of NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Kenny Wallace to a three-year contract beginning in 2001. "This is a big day for me," said Wallace. "Jack Birmingham and his...
MOORESVILLE, N.C., (Sept. 1, 2000) - Eel River Racing announced today the signing of NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Kenny Wallace to a three-year contract beginning in 2001.
"This is a big day for me," said Wallace. "Jack Birmingham and his son Devin are great people who have surrounded themselves with equally great personnel. Having Barry Dodson at Eel River Racing is something I'm really looking forward to, because he brings so much to the table with his years of experience and people skills. Barry is a really good leader who relates well to a lot of people - myself in particular. I think we're going to be able to do a lot together, and build Eel River Racing into a race-winning organization."
The agreement with Wallace reunites the St. Louis native with veteran crew chief and Eel River Racing part-owner Barry Dodson. Dodson, the championship-winning crew chief in 1989 with Kenny's older brother Rusty, first worked with the younger Wallace for three races in 1991 at Team III Racing. The most recent pairing of Dodson and Wallace came in 1998 at FILMAR Racing, where Dodson chiefed the recent hire to a strong eighth-place finish at Phoenix while subbing for interim crew chief David Ifft.
"Kenny has a real good feel for a race car and he brings a bunch of experience with him to Eel River Racing," said Dodson. "We already have an excellent rapport, and I consider Kenny to be one of my closest friends. He's always been there for me in good times and in bad, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for one another.
"Team chemistry is a key ingredient to running well and winning in Winston Cup," continued Dodson. "You can't put a price tag on good chemistry because it's so invaluable. But now that we've got Kenny Wallace, we're feeling pretty rich."
Wallace brings a wealth of racing experience to Eel River Racing and he has the accolades to prove it. After winning the first race he ever entered in 1982 at the Illinois Street Stock State Championship, Wallace has continued his family tradition of winning races and championships.
In 1986 he won the American Speed Association Rookie of the Year title before moving up to the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division full-time in 1989. Another Rookie of the Year title was added in 1989, and since then, Wallace has notched eight wins and eight poles as well as two Most Popular Driver awards in the Busch Series.
Since becoming a full-time Winston Cup regular in 1996, Wallace has scored two poles and accumulated three top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The St. Louis native plans to improve upon those numbers with Eel River Racing.
"I'm 37 years old and I feel a certain urgency to do more with the time I have left as a Winston Cup driver," said Wallace. "Eel River Racing is the best place for me to do what I want to do in Winston Cup - and that's win races."
"Between Barry Dodson, my dad and myself, we've worked extremely hard at building our race team into a winning organization," said Devin Birmingham, vice president of Eel River Racing. "Having a driver the caliber of Kenny Wallace join our team is big feather in our cap. He's going to be a key partner in our program, and we're looking to do great things together."