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That Kenny Wallace can sure tell a story

As seen on July 20, 2007

By Joe Dunn /

CROSSVILLE, TN.- Last Tuesday, July 17th, Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace were in town to do some dirt track racing at the Crossville Raceway.
An early afternoon rain came across the track threatening the nights racing activities, but nobody gave up hope. While waiting out the rain, I hogtied Kenny Wallace for an interview, but it soon became a story telling marathon. (Note to self, no more open ended questions for Kenny) I asked Kenny about his plans for this ‘off week’ from Nextel Cup competition, to which he responded “Let me tell you how I’m gonna enjoy my weekend off, What we do on our weekend off is what we want to do and for me that’s racing, because I love the sport so much.” So on this off week for Kenny he is racing his dirt car in Crossville, TN on Tuesday, Clarksville, TN on Wednesday and he was supposed to run Western Kentucky on Thursday, but got a chance to run the RCR #2 Busch car at Gateway Saturday.
When the subject of furniture Row Racing expanding to a second team for 2008, Kenny was quick to mention Sterling Marlin and the fact that he was let go that morning from Ginn Racing. “Sterling looks like he is getting close to retirement, and he and Nemecheck just got let go from Ginn Racing, and I would love to have Sterling help us. He said he doesn’t want to run more than 20 races next year, so if we can find a sponsor and I can have a teammate, Sterling Marlin is one of the best guys around.”
Now I have heard a lot of story’s about Sterling and back in March I listened as Kyle Petty was telling some stories about Sterling and he mentioned an incident with Sterling and Rusty Wallace’s son Steven. Kyle never went into detail, and left the story hanging, so this was a perfect opportunity.
When I asked Kenny, he started to laugh and said, “Well, Sterling is from rural Tennessee, where the roads are still dirt. Sterling thinks a quarter stick of dynamite is no big deal, in Missouri we used to call them M-80’s, but these aren’t no M-80’s. So he gave my nephew Steven a whole bunch of them things. Well Steven lights one of these things and throws it under a van, and it blows up, the van lifts about 2 feet of the ground and blows the rear tires right off the thing.” Kenny assured me that no one was hurt so they all laughed about it, but I knew there was more so he continued. “ Well, about a year ago Steven got really bored at the house, he was home and his mom was home, so he lit one of these quarter sticks of dynamite. As soon as he did, Steven decided this wasn’t a good thing to do in the house. So he went into the downstairs bathroom and threw it in the toilet figuring the toilet would put it out. Well it didn’t just blow the toilet apart, it blew the plumbing right out of the wall.” Steven had to spend a few days at Kenny’s house till his mom stopped spitting nails.
Kenny spots for Steven in the Busch series and really thinks the world of his nephew, but admits that Steven has earned a reputation as an overaggressive driver. When I mentioned Kenny being in the 2 car at St Louis, and the possibility of him being the victim of Stevens aggressive driving, he responded, “ If he wrecks me at Gateway he better drive right off the track, through the tunnel and just drive that race car all the way back to North Carolina.”
Well, the rain stopped and Kenny was off to do an autograph session with Schrader and then to do some racing. They both ran the Open Wheel Modified division that night, with Wallace being the quick qualifier and starting on the pole. He jumped to an early lead and looked to be a sure winner with Schrader not too far behind. But with a little past halfway, while getting around a lap car Wallace hit the wall and ended his night. Ken Schrader went on to win the feature.
After the race Wallace was still laughing and joking in the pits, taking responsibility for his own wreck. When some asked Kenny how he liked dirt racing, he explained, “ I was never into dirt racing, I went straight to asphalt. My dad was a great dirt racer and so is my brother Mike, but it is now my passion, to me racing dirt is like eating potato chips, once you start you just can’t stop.”
When I left the track Schrader and all the other teams were gone, but Kenny was still in the pits telling stories. Ya gotta love Herman!

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