The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Breaking News

Other Sports

May 18, 2013

Wallace a willing BMP visitor

Veteran NASCAR driver makes 2nd track appearance

PROSPERITY — Beckley Motorsports Park didn’t have to twist Kenny Wallace’s arm to get him to return this season.

Sure, he gets paid. But he loves the place.

“I’ve raced in hundreds of dirt tracks, and this is the most different track I’ve seen,” he said Friday during a meet and greet prior to the races. “I’m excited to be here.”

He saluted both the track and its fans.

“It’s a lot of fun to drive. The track is chiseled out of the side of a mountain, which is rare. It has high-banked corners, real wide; there’s lots of room to pass.

“And the fans love their racing here. They have good crowds. Any race car driver would like to race here.”

Wallace was visibly tired. He had raced on a dirt track in Charleston, Ill., Thursday night, and had driven on to Beckley. There wasn’t a lot of sleep to be had.

Yet he warmly greeted each fan at the meet and greet as if  they were old friends.

No fake smiles here. Wallace loves his fans.

“Fans are people, like me and you, and I’ve raced for so long I’ve learned that without them, we can’t do this,” he said. “So I take the Richard Petty approach: Sign as many autographs as I can and be appreciative.

“There are a lot of dirt tracks that are suffering now. But Beckley is doing good. So when the fans come out, I’m appreciative.”

Wallace, 49, grew up in a racing family. His brother Rusty became one of NASCAR’s biggest names. Another older brother, Mike, still races in the Camping World Truck division.

Kenny has nearly 1,000 starts in NASCAR’S various divisions, and he’ll race a Nationwide Series car next Saturday in Charlotte.

But he truly enjoys dirt tracks. He’s already appeared at 10 different locations, and he’ll run around 55 races this year.

“We keep on running. We start the season in Florida, then we go into Illinois and Indiana and then into (the Virginias),” Wallace said. “We’ll run in Macon, Ill., on Memorial Day on a track that Tony Stewart, Kenny Shrader and I own.

“We put our money where our mouths are. We own a dirt track, and we’ll race at a lot of different tracks.”

Wallace finished fourth Thursday night in Charleston, Ill.

“We obviously weren’t good enough to win. We were too loose,” he said. “But I’m proud of my team. We won the UMP (United Midwestern Promoters) Summer National championship last year. We won 12 races.”

After Friday’s race, Wallace was to fly to Charlotte, where he is a commentator on the Speed Network. His crew will carry on back to Macon, Ill.

Racing the past two days was good for him. The death by suicide of NASCAR driver Dick Trickle is weighing heavily on him.

“He was my best friend. (Thursday) was a horrible, horrible day for me,” Wallace said. “I’m just pushing through today and last night.

“Dick taught me how to race... It’s just an incredibly tough situation for all of us.”

n n n

Feature results from last night’s race were not available at press time, but will be published in Sunday’s Register-Herald.

— E-mail: dstillwell@

register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Other Sports
  • Herd staffer completes Boston Marathon

    As Travis Epling watched the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as they were unfolding, he couldn’t help feeling a connection.

    April 23, 2014

  • Beckleyan completes Boston Marathon

    Of the more than 32,000 people who ran in Monday’s Boston Marathon, 59 were from West Virginia.

    April 22, 2014

  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba VIDEO: Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014

  • McClung moving from mound to dugout

    Seth McClung was getting his daughters Madison and Fallon inside and ready for their baths when his phone rang. He’s said before that he enjoys the role of “daddy day care.”

    April 15, 2014

  • First stop Waffle House; next stop The Greenbrier

    Bubba Watson decided to keep his post-Masters victory more low key this year. Instead of going to New York for a media tour, he headed home to Orlando, Fla., and kept plans for a five-day vacation with his wife.

    April 15, 2014

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide