Friday, April 20, 2012

Kenny Wallace Breaks His Silence

Kenny Wallace has never been known for silence.

One of the most quotable drivers in all of NASCAR, the nine-time Nationwide Series driver calls it like he sees it, speaking candidly on the topic of the day. His outspoken style makes him a favorite with reporters from Daytona to Fontana and earned him a permanent spot on SPEED’s NASCAR Race Day broadcasts.

This week, however, Wallace has been uncharacteristically silent. He has not commented on RAB Racing’s new technological partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing, a partnership that will see Wallace’s No. 09 Toyota renumbered 99 for action sports star Travis Pastrana, who will wheel the entry in a number of races this season.  
Wallace: "I'll tell you why I've been quiet..."
“I’ll tell you why I have been quiet,” said Wallace in an exclusive interview with Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s Sirius XM Speedway with Dave Moody. “I’m a lover. I’m a good guy, and I have a fun time on Twitter with 100,000 of my followers. There are about six followers who don’t like me, and it seems like whenever I say something, it’s wrong (to them). With the announcement that RAB Racing is joining forces with Michael Waltrip Racing and Travis Pastrana, I thought, `You know what, I’m just going to let all that happen and not say a word.’ Because every time I say (something) on Twitter… people retweet it and think (I’m) being negative.”
Wallace said an incident last week reinforced his desire to remain silent on the RAB/MWR alliance.
“During the race (at Texas Motor Speedway), I tweeted, `I want to thank (ESPN analyst) Dale Jarrett for pointing out that someone bought my ride, and I will be back in the car at Talladega.’ I tweeted that, and hell, I didn’t think anything of it.  Later, I was told that I should have tweeted, ` I want to thank Dale Jarrett for pointing out that someone brought sponsorship’ (instead).
“I guess I ruffled a few feathers by saying someone bought my ride. I don’t know the difference between `bringing sponsorship’ and `buying a ride,’ and I got in trouble for saying that. Six fans (on Twitter) stirred up a bunch of crap, went over to Ryan Truex’s page and said, `Kenny Wallace says you bought that ride.’ He didn’t know what was going on; he’d just gotten out of his car mad after blowing up. So he goes on my Twitter page and says, `I did not buy the ride, I brought sponsorship.’
“(I think) 99.9% of the people love me,” said Wallace. “But there’s that 0.5% who have miserable lives and just want to stir crap up. I knew this Michael Waltrip/Travis Pastrana deal was getting ready to happen, so I just kept my mouth shut (to avoid) making those five people mad.”
Wallace will drive for RAB Racing again.
Wallace said he understands the reasons behind the partnership and is “grateful that Michael Waltrip realized we needed help. It’s good for the team… but when it went down, I had friends calling me up, wanting to know if I was going to kill myself. I just didn’t want to deal with everybody (asking about it).”
He said he holds no animosity toward Pastrana, Truex, or any other driver who fills the seat of the RAB Toyota this season. “I love RAB Racing,” he said. “They brought me back, and we were in the deal 50/50 last year. I brought some money, (team owner Robby Benton) put some money in and it was all a good deal. I never got paid a dime, and I’ve made a big deal out of that because I wanted everybody to know I’m a racer.
“People say. `How do you feel about what’s going on right now?’ (And I say), `Hell, I never got paid in the first place! So I didn’t lose the job. I didn’t lose the ride, because I was never paid anyway. Losing a job means they’re taking money out of your pocket.
“I’m grateful for everything that’s happened,” said Wallace. “I’m going to have six really strong races with American Ethanol and Family Farmers; six quality races. I’ve talked to my bosses at SPEED, and they’ve said, `We’ll put you on some shows if you’ve got some down time.’ So I’m going to run (my dirt modified) and make as much or more money than I ever made.”
Wallace said rumors that he and Benton have been at odds recently are inaccurate.
Kenny's TV role may expand.
“At Phoenix, I said I felt like a bozo,” admitted Wallace. “Our car was black (with no sponsors), and I wore my words on my sleeve. I say what I think, but I have never, ever said anything bad about my team. Robby got upset with me, because he thought I was looking for sympathy. (He said), `Herm, you’re trying to make people feel sorry for us.’ I said, `I’m sorry, I didn’t think you felt that way. I’m just beating the streets, begging for sponsors.’
“Robby Benton and I get along real good,” said Wallace, saying he believes a misunderstanding caused by a recent internet article gave the illusion of a rift between the two.
“Robby’s real shy, and at Phoenix, (SB Nation reporter) Jeff Gluck came up and interviewed him. He said, `Robby, what do you think about Kenny getting on Twitter looking for sponsorship?’ Not thinking anything about it, Robby said, `I just don’t agree with the way he’s going about it. I don’t want people feeling sorry for us.’ By the time Gluck got done writing the article, it sounded like Robby was mad. Here on radio, you can hear my tone (and know I’m not mad). But when it comes out in an article, (it sounds different).
”Robby was devastated,” said Wallace. “He came up to me before qualifying and said, `Herman, Jeff Gluck did not do us any favors.’
“I said, `You said something bad about me, didn’t you?’
“He said, `I didn’t, but it came out that way.’
“I told him, `I did an interview with Jeff Gluck last year, and I’ll tell you exactly what happened. I love him to death, but (when we sat down, I spoke) in Kenny Wallace tones. I cuss a lot, I drop f-bombs every other word around my close friends. And when the article came out, it was a verbatim interview. When I had been interviewed in the past, (the reporters) cleaned up the cuss words. But when this article came out -- and it was a great article -- it was verbatim. He did the same thing to Robby.
“I told Robby, `He was recording that interview. You have to know who you’re dealing with and make sure you say it exactly how you would say it on the radio.’
“(The interview) made it look like we were fighting, but we weren’t,” said Wallace. “It just snowballed out of control. We have a meeting Tuesday at two o’clock. We love each other. We’ll give each other a hug and say, `Holy cow, that really got out of hand!’
“I don’t blame (Gluck) for anything,” insisted Wallace. “(It’s his job to) create stories that drive people to SB Nation. All I’m saying is that when you give an interview, you’ve got to be careful.”


  1. Thank you. i missed the interview with KW because of work.

    1. Tim Milam7:56 PM

      Well, you got most of it in there. No mention of Tom Higgins,"Normal reporters", or Jeff got me and Jeff got you (Robby). Which are the parts that led some fan's to believe Kenny was not happy with Jeff Gluck and felt that he was throwing him under the bus. IMO

      I've listened to your show since Nascar came to Sirius and enjoy the hell out of it, but I don't always agree with your opinions. That doesn't mean that I don't like you and it sure as hell doesn't mean that "I have a horrible life and just want to stir up stuff". (another comment left out of your piece)
      BTW I do like you. in a listener to Host kind of way.

    2. Tim Milam...

      "Jeff got me and Jeff got you (Robby)" That is the way I heard it too. Really wished I had the ability to rewind and listen again.

  2. Anonymous10:57 PM

    I'm a huge Kenny fan and an even bigger supporter, and if you read this article you know exactly why. Yes Kenny is a kook and half crazy, and says whatever comes to mind, he's not in any way politically correct and I enjoy the crap out of his goofiness, nobody can make you laugh like Kenny can. I don't give a damn what anyone says, Kenny is real and what you see is what you get. Thanks for posting this Dave. Kenny don't ever change man. an Idaho fan.

    1. Anonymous4:14 PM

      I totally agree with an Idaho fan!!! Kenny , you are the BEST,YOU ARE AS REAL AS THEY COME!!! And the only ones that you need to be concerned with, are the ones who REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU and REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU ARE ALL ABOUT!!!! The biggest majority of people today, DON'T know how to take people that are TRULY HONEST and have no hidden agenda behind there words,JUST HONESTY!!!!!! I say THANKS for all the JOY you bring to MILLIONS OF PEOPLE!!! KEEP ON KEEPIN ON!!!!!

  3. Anonymous11:03 PM

    I like Kenny but as stated in the article, he 'bought' the ride last year. It just seems he has sour grapes because he wasnt able to get a full deal this year.

    I will agree, there seems to be no difference between 'bringing sponsors' and 'buying a ride'.

  4. A ton of wisdom is this chain of events! I wish more people could find out just how much 'drama' does NOT exist in the sport.

  5. there is a fighting side to Kenny

  6. Jay(North Carolina)3:06 AM

    Kenny has worked hard, especially in recent months. I was glad to hear him last week when he was giving his interview from Charleston, spending a day away with his wife. A well deserved break.
    The point has been made as to how hard it is to obtain sponsorship in the current climate. When Joe Gibbs and Roush has issues gaining sponsors in Nationwide, that says a lot. Kenny definitely has better days ahead. I just hope he keeps his chin up and believes this himself.
    The only thing I can really say about this situation is:
    Trolls are gonna troll.

  7. Anonymous6:07 AM

    thank u missed this and wanted true version

  8. Wayne7:24 AM

    Its a sad thing. But Kenny your days as a Nascar front runner are done. Its sad but true MONEY BUYS SPEED. No money no ride. No ride no money.

  9. The whole thing, it's just one o'them racin' deals.

  10. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Thank you Moody. Very few people were able to hear or read all the sources mentioned in your story. The whole picture looks quite different that its individual parts.

  11. Missed that interview so thanks for posting Dave. I've met Kenny and he is a Great guy. I wish him luck!!

  12. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Kenny, you did nothing wrong, said nothing wrong. People need to get their heads out of their a$$.
    BTW - glad someone bought your ride and you'll be in that car! :-)

  13. Don't ever change Kenny.Class act. Thanks Dave for posting the news.That is why I love your show and respect what you and Kenny say.

  14. Good luck Kenny... You've shown us you're a hellofa driver in the Nationwide Series last year!!! If you never drive again you're still a HUGE success man!!! Walk with your head high!

  15. I don’t consider myself a Kenny Wallace fan nor a miserable person, as he said those who don’t like him are. (99.9 plus 0.5=100.4% BTW..LOL)

    I liked Kenny until the year the Brickyard was stunk up by the bad tires and on Speed after the race he kept going on and on about what a great race it was. I was off him then and have been since.

    Kenny needs to remember he is not a star any longer; the Stacker days are long gone. He buys rides from middle and further back teams. Let us not forget the Jay Robinson days. Kenny can’t expect to keep a car when money talks and bullcrap walks.

    That is just how racing is.

  16. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Kenny really? 99.9% + .5% = 100%?

  17. And there they are, jumping on the math and missing the point completely.

  18. Anonymous12:46 AM

    Great article. If only there were more people like Wallace - hardworking, determined and HONEST. Any time someone is successful, people look to bring them down. We call these people trolls. Trolls suck.