Exclusive B/R Interview: Phone Tag with Kenny Wallace

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IMarch 20, 2009

WEST ALLIS, WI - JUNE 21: Kenny Wallace, driver of the #28 US Border Patrol Chevrolet awaits his turn to qualify as he prepares to race in his 400th career start prior to the Camping World RV Rental 250 at The Milwaukee Mile on June 21, 2008 in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

It's embarrassing really...a person like Kenny Wallace takes the time to sit down and talk with you on the phone; dials your number and you miss the call.
What am I talking about?

Earlier this week, I was scheduled to have an interview with Wallace over the phone. The interview was scheduled for 1:00 p.m.—only I missed the call.

After leaving me a voice message, Wallace called back minutes later...again, I wasn't near my phone.

That's twice, if you lost count!

Luckily for me, he left his number, but when I returned his call, he didn't answer.

About an hour later, Wallace called again.

Guess what? I missed the call again!

Within minutes, I called Wallace back, but he didn't answer. He did, however, leave me a voicemail message, saying, "Hey Ben! This is Kenny Wallace buddy... I'm home a long again, it seems we are playing phone tag."

Phone tag with Wallace? Cool, but I really wanted to talk with him.

In the end, I never caught up with him on the phone, but he did drop me an e-mail and ask me to submit my questions that way or reschedule the interview for a few weeks away.

Following is the interview conducted over the Internet with Kenny:

Ben Bomberger: What’s a day in the life of Kenny Wallace like?

Kenny Wallace: Most days are very hectic. I am always thinking about where I need to be in the next hour. Other times when I am at home, I sleep until about 10:00 AM, have lunch at 11:30 AM, and dinner and movies with my girls. My life is pretty well balanced.

BB: What are some things you do outside of racing...for example, the past weekend, when the two Series were off, what were you doing?

KW: It's easy for me to relax. I really like to spend time with my wife and kids. Movies relax me, but when the summer comes around, I watch all the St. Louis Cardinal baseball games. When I can, I go to Busch Stadium in St. Louis and grab a bag of peanuts and a cold Bud Light.

BB: How do you get yourself psyched up to begin Raceday?

KW: It really does not take much to get psyched up. It comes naturally, but I do start singing to myself to prepare a little bit.

BB: How do you get yourself psyched up to get behind the wheel?

KW: Once again, I am always excited to get inside the racecar, either the U.S. Border Patrol car or my Jegs Dirt Car. When the day comes that I don't get excited about getting in a racecar, that will be the day that I will have to quit racing.

BB: You say a lot of TV, that Kenny Wallace the TV personality and Kenny Wallace the Race Car driver are two different people...tell me a little about how hard it is to go from one to the other, especially when you are Cup racing?

KW: When I am on TV, I have to think about other people and how to entertain them. I try to explain things in a way that is easy for the fans to understand. In the racecar, it is just me inside my helmet in my own little world. One of my most relaxing places is to be inside the racecar.

BB: You are driving for Jay Robinson Inc. this season… a team that has never finished in the top 20, how do you feel your chances of finishing in the top 20 are?

KW: In 2008, I was Jay Robinson's first driver to finish in the top 20 in driver points and finished 16th; however, NASCAR does recognize car owner points and Jay Robinson Racing has never finished in the top 20 in car owner points but that is our goal for this year.

BB: Other than NASCAR… what are your favorite sports to watch?

KW: Baseball, football, and motorcross.

BB: Who’s going to win the Cup championship this year?

KW: It would only be right if Jeff Gordon could complete his comeback.

BB: What was it like growing up in the Wallace family? You got nothing but racers there, had to be interesting?

KW: It was like the Beverly Hillbillies...we never ate dinner together...bologna and cheese sandwiches. Most nights were spent in the garage behind the house building my dad's racecars. We truly did have a lot of fun.

BB: When did you know you wanted to become a racer?

KW: My dad is very special to me and was winning races every week. He has over 400 wins in Missouri and Illinois.

That ends the interview conducted via the Internet with Kenny Wallace. Following is some other stuff I felt you might also want to know.Wallace Picks Jeff Gordon to Win Fifth Title

Back in 1982, Wallace entered his first race ever—and won.

Fast forward to 2009, and Wallace is still racing.

This season, Wallace is piloting the No. 28 Jay Robinson Inc. Chevy in the Nationwide Series.

Below is information taken from KennyWallace.com.

Wallace Gears Up for Bristol

“With the NNS series only racing three times, I’m really excited to get to Bristol and race!” Kenny says. “I feel like we’ve hardly raced this year. I really feel like I’ll get better results this time. I know what we need to do and I know hard we have to work to get there. Bristol is a racetrack I really understand, so I’m really looking forward to this week’s race.

I’m also excited to see Rusty in Legends field. He’ll lap the field, in my opinion. It’s not fair letting him in, he’s too good. It’s a crazy weekend –they’re racing from sunup to sundown on Saturday, and then the Cup race on Sunday. There’s a lot of racing, and it’s going to be a special week at Bristol. I have 19 top tens there, and I badly want another one to make it 20!”

In addition to the long list of top ten finishes at Bristol, Kenny has a pole, a win, and eight top fives on his list of accomplishments at the .533–mile, variably banked concrete oval. This will be Kenny’s 30th start in Thunder Valley. (Source: KennyWallace.com)

Kenny Wallace Fast Facts

Date of Birth: August 23, 1963

Height: 5’ 11” Weight: 172

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Resides: Concord, North Carolina

Wife: Kim Wallace (high-school sweetheart)

Children: Brooke (21), Brandy (18), Brittany (16)

Parents: Russ and Judy Wallace

Brothers: Rusty and Mike Wallace

Favorite food: pork chops, Oriental chicken salad

Favorite sports team: St. Louis Cardinals

Favorite band(s)/music: Aerosmith, Nelly, Patsy Cline

Favorite movie: The Green Mile

Hobbies: Spending time with family, racing dirt cars

Number of years racing (professional): 20 years

Racing role-model: Dick Trickle

Track you most want to win at: The next one

Favorite track: The next one

Most memorable racing experience: 2001 Talladega race, pushing Dale Earnhardt to his final win

What do you like most about racing? Chance of winning each weekend 

Editor's note: Come join the newest NASCAR Community on Bleacher Report—The Nationwide Series Community, a place where we talk about everything Nationwide. The good, the bad, and everything in between. Any comments or questions about the Series? Feel free to let me know.


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