Former NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace to debut
By Joe Chandler
South Boston Speedway
The Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour’s lone trip to South Boston Speedway will have a special guest amongst the entries.
Kenny Wallace, who was originally slated to run the Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Motor Speedway before the event was postponed to Aug. 19, will now make his CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour debut at South Boston on Oct. 7, driving the No. 36 Filter Time Chevrolet for R&S Race Cars.
Choosing South Boston as the track to race at in the Late Model Stock Car Tour after Tri-County’s postponement made too much sense for Kenny, as he has always considered the facility to be one of the best for both fans and on-track competition in the southeast.
“I’m excited to be going back to South Boston for a lot of reasons,” Kenny said. “It’s the home of R&S Race Cars, but I just feel like I’m returning home so to speak. I raced there so much in the NASCAR (Xfinity) Series back in the day, so it just feels right and I’m really looking forward to heading back there.”
The youngest of the three Wallace brothers alongside Rusty and Mike, Kenny was a mainstay in NASCAR’s top two divisions for over two decades.
Kenny tallied nine Xfinity Series victories during his career and managed to finish runner-up in the point standings back in 1991. Although Kenny never visited Victory Lane in the NASCAR Cup Series, he did record six Top 5 finishes, with one of those performances seeing him push Dale Earnhardt to his final win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2000.
Following his retirement from NASCAR in 2015, Kenny has maintained an active presence in dirt track racing around the United States. He has earned victories in the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals, Summit Racing Equipment America Modified Series and the Gateway Dirt Nationals.
For his grand return to pavement racing, Kenny will have some of the best equipment at his disposal courtesy of R&S Race Cars, which currently fields cars in the Late Model Stock Car Tour for three-time champion Bobby McCarty and Conner Jones.
R&S Race Cars co-owner Marcus Richmond considers himself fortunate to have Kenny driving one of his Late Model Stocks. While he is keeping expectations in check, Richmond is optimistic Kenny will be strong enough to contend for a Top 10 at South Boston.
“This is such an incredible opportunity for everyone at R&S Race Cars,” Richmond said. “Kenny has always been one of racing’s most excitable personalities and his impact on the sport can still be seen today. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in one of our cars.”
South Boston general manager Chase Brashears considers it a pleasant surprise to have a driver of Kenny’s caliber in the field for the track’s CARS Tour event. He praised Kenny for the expertise he brings to the business aspects of motorsports and is confident his presence will only bolster momentum for both South Boston and short track racing in general.
“Who can’t be excited to have Kenny Wallace race with them?” Brashears said. “The amount of energy and personality he brings alone without even getting into a racecar is awesome. You can’t deny having former NASCAR national series drivers run in our ranks helps us out tremendously. Kenny is no different in that regard.”
Despite his love for South Boston, Kenny never once visited victory lane at the facility during his NASCAR career.
Kenny finished inside the Top 5 three times in the Xfinity Series at South Boston, including a personal best finish of second in 1991 after leading 158 laps. He was close to breaking through for a victory in his final start at the track in 1994 but dropped out prematurely due to overheating issues with less than 50 laps remaining.
FINDING A COMFORT ZONE
With South Boston having been repaved since the 1990s, Kenny is anticipating a fast and intense race for the LMSC Tour. Being able to test with R&S Race Cars at Tri-County helped Kenny find a comfort zone in modern Late Model Stocks, which made him more optimistic about being competitive at South Boston.
Kenny is not content on just having a solid Top 10 performance at South Boston and is determined to show everyone in the industry he is still more than capable of winning against many of the best drivers in the region.
“I can win any race I enter,” Kenny said. “I would not be racing at my age if I didn’t feel like I could compete. When I arrive in South Boston, I’ll officially be 60 years old. There aren’t many people my age racing in the CARS Tour. We’re a rare group, but I’m all jacked up on Sun Drop and ready to go.”
Kenny expressed his gratitude to the CARS Tour ownership group consisting of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, and Justin Marks for their hard work towards saving pavement short track racing in the southeast and is honored to play a small but vital part in that revitalization.
Tickets and event information for the CARS Tour weekend at South Boston on Oct. 7 can be found at southbostonspeedway.com or by calling (434) 572-4947. The Late Model Stock Car and Pro Late Model Tours are set to compete in the event, with both races being streamed live on FloRacing.