Kenny Wallace, No. 51 Flanders Beef Patties Silverado met with members of the media and discussed racing in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri and his future racing plans. ON RETURNING TO THE NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES FOR THE FIRST...
Kenny Wallace, No. 51 Flanders Beef Patties Silverado met with members of the media and discussed racing in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri and his future racing plans.
ON RETURNING TO THE NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1996: "I think that is right. I love racing, I will be racing my dirt car tonight and tomorrow night. I just never had an opportunity to come back and run the truck. But, this is really special because this is the team that won me all of my Busch races and made me successful in the Busch Series. Richie Wauters, Duz, Tucan, Dennis Schoenfeld, all those guys, they crewed the Red Dog car when I was driving it in that time frame. We had a lot of fun, won a lot of races, then everybody kind of split up and went their own way. I am excited to be here with all my guys.
It reminds me in a way of the past because they all holler at each other. It is really funny. I love them to death. The great thing about running with these guys is you can't hurt their feelings, we all know each other so well. "
"I was Tucan's best man at his wedding. The thing about it is, they stay true to their roots. They didn't want to go to the Cup Series. They hardly wanted to run the Busch Series, they said it was too much politics and too much of the blame game. When in the Truck Series, they can be their own people and race the way they want to. I have always respected them for that. They race a lot of late models up in Wisconsin.
"I do know that Kyle Busch really runs good in that truck, he is a hell of a driver. I what I do find myself saying and doing is 'What does Kyle say about this or that', 'Where do you think I need the truck to be, to be competitive. They told me that Kyle never worries about being the fastest; he looks at about the 10th or 15th lap where the truck is at. I said, "Ok, where we at right now.'
"I am trying to learn from rapport that Kyle has with the team to get it ready for the race."
ON HAVING ANY ADDED PRESSURE BECAUSE KYLE RUNS SO WELL IN THE TRUCK: "Yes, it does. You always want to do good. It is kind of like inserting somebody in Pujols (First baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals) slot, you want to hit, you know? You always want to hold up your end of the bargain. It is competition. Absolutely, I'd definitely be lying to you if I said no. I will tell you what, that kid is a hell of a driver. I am not saying I am as good as him; he is always fighting for win. So I would definitely like to have a top-five, that is for sure."
ON THE AGE OF THE DRIVERS BATTLING WEEK IN AND WEEK OUT IN THE NCTS: "It really depends on the team. See what happens in our sport is that when a driver becomes over 40, then the team reminds him he is over 40. The driver doesn't think anything about it. So the team starts falling down on the driver and starts telling the team owner 'Our driver is over 40, we need a younger driver'. Then the car quits performing because the team quits performing. The driver never gives up. That is pretty much the way it goes in our sport. There are great drivers over 40 right now, but teams and people feel like they want a younger driver. That is really the way it works, they are all lying to you the other way.
"These guys do a good job because their teams are behind them in this series. Most of the crew members here are really smart. Look at Doug Richert who was in the Truck Series, forever because the Cup Series was hard on him. Doug came here, showed his ability and then he went back and of course, scored win after win with Greg Biffle. So a lot of the Truck Series guys like Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday are running good is because their teams believe in their drivers. They don't even think about the age. That is why they perform so well."
ON HOW HE GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO DRIVE FOR BILLY BALLEW MOTORSPORTS HERE AT GATEWAY: "It goes like this. Billy Ballew called me up and told me that the owner of Flanders Beef Patties really likes you; we want you to drive our truck at Gateway. I told him I had an appearance on Saturday night in Bakersfield California, a good paying dirt race, so I told him I would try and get out of that and man, I would love to do it. As soon as I got out of that, I told Billy Ballew I would do it, Armando Fitz called me in a mad panic that David Stremme couldn't drive his car. So, here I was out of a ride, and then here I am with two rides. This is great. I am thrilled to death to drive this truck because these are my friends. I feel like I am on vacation. There are only 36 trucks; nobody is going to miss the race. So I can drive hard to qualify.
"I am pretty used to coming to the race track all year long on pins and needles in the Cup Series. Am I going to make the race, not make the race? I came here in the Busch Series, sitting there running 17th and have a bad pit stop, get down a lap and then get wrecked. It was devastating.
"One thing I have noticed that is if I come here and make a big deal out of it...last year I came here and finished ninth in the Busch Series. The year before I came here with the big Wallace family tribute, got in a big wreck with my brother Rusty. Every time I come here and no one knows I am here, that is when I run my best. Rusty said that he knew it wasn't going to come out really good for me, I asked him how I knew. He said 'Awe, you were making a big deal out of it, talking about the Arch and the Cardinals, you get all sentimental about that stuff' And is pissed me off. So I told everybody I am coming to St. Louis but don't tell anybody, I don't want them to know.
"The way I am going about it is just going and doing it. I am not coming here going man; I am going to win this race. I came here thinking, man I can come here and run really strong. I am going to have a good time, that is they way I am looking at it.
"Now, with the Busch race, I was like "Awe, shoot, I am in Clint Bowyer's car, we had a great sponsor, ESPN TV, my brother is in the booth.' We got going in the race, things just didn't turn out the way we wanted it too. We got wrecked. First we had a problem with a pit stop, they couldn't get the fuel in or something. I just couldn't believe I was down a lap, it was just devastating. I told everybody what they wanted to hear, I told them I was devastated and I was. So you just move on."
ON POSSIBLE FUTURE PLANS: "Absolutely, I would keep driving in the Truck Series. You never know, you don't like to name drop. There are opportunities right now. Everybody is searching around, what is the best thing for them. I want to race, you know what I mean. We all want to make millions of dollars. For me at this point, it is not about that, I just want to race. So we will see what happens. If somebody said, Kenny, you can make three dollars and race every race and sweat your butt off. Or you can make ten dollars and you might not make them all and you might not sweat. I want the three dollars, because I want to race, I want to sweat. I want to get out of the truck or the car beet red. That is what is most important for me right now."
"This stuff of what I went through in the Cup Series is just devastating, you know. It is not who I am. I have a meeting with Robert Yates on Sunday. He called me up and said that his brother-in-law told him that the driver he needed to hire was right under his nose - me. I told him that the manufacturer wanted me to drive his car last but M&Ms wanted him. He said that was what happened. He asked if I could test his car, the No. 88 at Talladega. I said, do I have to pay you or what? So then I said, so do we not talk anymore or not and he said to come see him Sunday when I got to California. I keep reading that they are considering J.J. Yeley, so we will see what happens when I get there Sunday. At least the guy called me. He called me, I didn't call him.
"The thing about the No.78 car is they didn't fire me. I read that Joe Garrone said that everybody needs to know, we didn't fire Kenny Wallace, we released him, we let him go, but he still might have to run some races because they still pay me, I am still employed. When you are fired, that means you quit getting paid, I am still getting paid which is great.
"So then, poor Kyle (Petty) broke his hand and now I am here racing, I have only sat out one weekend, Michigan. So we will see what happens. I want to race. When I don't race here, I will be in my dirt car somewhere so I keep psyche positive. Can't sit around on Friday and Saturday, and go I am not racing, nobody loves me. That is where we are right now."
-credit: gm racing