BUSCH: Bristol: Kenny Wallace - NASCAR spotlight

Wallace's performance no joke heading to Bristol DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 29, 2005) -- Kenny Wallace (No. 22 Stacker 2 Ford) is affectionately known as the "clown prince" of NASCAR. The jovial, joking veteran driver -- nicknamed "Herman" --...

Wallace's performance no joke heading to Bristol

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 29, 2005) -- Kenny Wallace (No. 22 Stacker 2 Ford) is affectionately known as the "clown prince" of NASCAR. The jovial, joking veteran driver -- nicknamed "Herman" -- can best be distinguished by his distinctive, loud laugh.

But don't confuse Wallace's sense of humor with his ability to drive a racecar. On the contrary, Wallace, who has nine wins in 318 starts in the NASCAR Busch Series, is currently sixth in the points, his highest ranking since a sixth-place standing after the Memphis race in October, 2002.

Wallace comes to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend following his second-place finish at Nashville last Saturday, his best result since his 2001 fall victory at Rockingham.

That momentum is punctuated with Wallace's record at Bristol, where his 17 career top 10s in 23 races lead all active NASCAR Busch Series drivers -- 10 of those finishes have come in the spring event. He has one win and one Busch Pole at the 0.553-mile venue, the first short-track on the 2005 schedule. Both of those efforts came during the fall Bristol races.

"Every time I go to Bristol, I get goose bumps because it's such a great atmosphere," Wallace said. "My strategy is simple: race hard and keep people off [my] bumper.

"I think I'm mature enough to know that my run at Nashville doesn't guarantee success at Bristol," he said.

"It meant the world to run strong at Nashville. It sends the message to everyone that we're heading in the right direction. I would hate to think I have raced all these years and [my experience] doesn't give me some sort of edge.

"I told my wife (Kim) after Nashville that this is what I'm used to. If anyone goes back and looks at how I got where I am, they'll see it's because I've always fought and contended for a championship. It's hard when you're not a contender. Contending this year makes me feel right at home."

A native of St. Louis, Mo., and an avid sports fan, Wallace will watch with interest this weekend while another championship is contested, with hopes that a similar perennial contender can also secure a long-awaited victory -- the NCAA Division I Men's Final Four will be held in Wallace's hometown. "Since I was born and raised in St. Louis, but live in North Carolina (Concord), I'd like to see UNC win it," he said.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kenny Wallace