Kenny Wallace set to make Late Model debut
Published 10:47 am Saturday, October 7, 2023
Former NASCAR star and popular racing personality Kenny Wallace returns to asphalt racing looking to capture his first career South Boston Speedway win when he makes his Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Tour debut Saturday night, Oct. 7 in the Autos By Nelson 250 presented by Virginia Is For Lovers.
“It’s not far-fetched by any means because I’m going to be in a good car,” Wallace said of the possibility of his being able to win the race. “I want to win. That’s why I’m coming. I don’t do appearances anymore. I’m coming to race.”
Wallace will be driving the number 36 Filter Time Chevrolet out of the R&S Racecars stable based near South Boston Speedway in Cluster Springs, Virginia co-owned by noted veteran winning car builder and crew chief Marcus Richmond and Steve Stallings. He will have multi-time South Boston Speedway race winner Bobby McCarty and Logan Clark as teammates.
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During the weekend Wallace will be leaning on Richmond and everyone on the R&S Racecars team for advice.
“I’m looking for Marcus Richmond and Bobby to teach me and tutor me, and I’m going to be all ears because that’s what these guys do, and they’re really good at it,” Wallace explained. “They win and I’m not going to pretend I can keep up with them. The first thing is to get up to speed and get going. I know when I show up everybody’s going to want to be outrunning me. I still race all the time. I’m super competitive and I win a lot. They won’t want a 60-year-old outrunning them.”
Wallace’s goals for the 125-lap Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Tour race that headlines Saturday night’s Autos By Nelson 250 presented by Virginia Is For Lovers at South Boston Speedway are simple.
“I want to qualify top 20, and I want to finish in the top 10,” he remarked. “I don’t want to embarrass myself. Those three things. It’s hard for me to go ‘I’m going to run in the top five.’ Now, I can run in the top five, but I think that’s a pretty lofty goal against these great racers. I want to qualify top 20, run top 10, and when I’m done, make sure they remember I was there.”
Wallace was originally scheduled to compete in a CARS Tour race at Tri-County Speedway earlier this season, but that event was postponed. He did get an opportunity to test at Tri-County Speedway with R&S Racecars and get some experience driving a Late Model Stock Car prior to the postponement of that event.
While Wallace has not competed in a CARS Tour event, he knows of the high quality of the drivers in the series and how intense the competition is in the series.
“I watch these races on Flo Racing,” Wallace pointed out.
“You cannot go fast enough,” he added. “That is what is so hard about the CARS Tour. You’ve got such great young talent that should be in the Xfinity Series right now. There is no pussyfooting. You’ve got to get it now and stay on it because the races are so short. There is no time. You’ve always got to be going. To me, for 125 laps, you just can’t go hard enough.”
Wallace, the youngest among the three Wallace brothers that includes former NASCAR stars Rusty Wallace and Mike Wallace, competed in NASCAR’s top two national series for more than two decades.
During his 25-year career in NASCAR Wallace scored nine wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and was runner-up in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings in 1991. In the NASCAR Cup Series, Wallace posted six Top 5 finishes, with one of those performances seeing him push Dale Earnhardt to his final win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2000.
After retiring from NASCAR in 2015, Kenny Wallace has been active in dirt track racing. He has scored wins in the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals, Summit Racing Equipment America Modified Series, and the Gateway Dirt Nationals.
Wallace competed at South Boston Speedway during the time in his career when he raced in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has memories of the track, and feels good about returning to the .4-mile oval.
“I still have a vision, but I’m sure there are quirks and techniques that have changed,” he said. “It’s not like I’ve never raced there. I think the biggest thing now is the wall is now all the way around the inside. I don’t know if that wall was there in 1994, but I feel good about it. I really do. I’m confident.”
Wallace has some great memories from his past racing experiences racing at South Boston Speedway.
“I have so many memories there at South Boston,” he remarked. “When I started running the Busch Series back then I learned you cannot pass people on the outside. I learned at South Boston how to get underneath people. I still have visions of getting moved out of the way by Jack Ingram. South Boston was that track where I was taught by the greats like Tommy Houston, Jack Ingram, and Tommy Ellis. That was the track where they move each other. I didn’t know about that. South Boston was where I learned to move people. Those guys were incredible at it. Those were days I really learned how to drive bullrings.”
Wallace recalled a great race he had going with Ricky Craven at South Boston Speedway.
“Ricky Craven and myself had a barnburner, a heck of a race for the lead,” Wallace noted. “We both got wrecked out going for it.”
Three races are set for Saturday night’s Autos By Nelson 250 presented by Virginia Is For Lovers at South Boston Speedway with the event being headlined by the 125-lap race for the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Tour. Fans will also see a 100-lap race for the CARS Pro Late Model Tour and a 25-lap race for the touring Virginia Mini-Cup Racing Association.
Advance adult general admission tickets for the Autos By Nelson 250 presented by Virginia Is For Lovers CARS Tour event are priced at $17 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, www.southbostonspeed