NASCAR Veteran Kenny Wallace Claims His Victory at Volusia Speedway, as He Claims the Gator After 12 Years

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MADISON, IL – SEPTEMBER 29: Kenny Wallace is introduced to the crowd before the start of the Motorsport, Herren, USA, Dragster Drag Race Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series AAA Midwest Nationals on September 29, 2019, at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire AUTO: SEP 29 NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series – AAA Midwest Nationals PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxRUSxSWExNORxDENxONLY Icon116190929084
“That almost made me cry. I explained my situation, and Hoffman said, ‘We’ll field you a car,’” said the eccentric dirt racing fanatic, Kenny Wallace as per a St. Louis racing publication, sharing the conversation he had with Nick Hoffman, a man who’d soon become his car-owner one year later.
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Unlike conventional racers who hang up their boots once the time is right, former NASCAR driver, Wallace has an insatiable thirst for racing. Though his NASCAR days are behind him, the 60-year-old stands out in the dirt racing circle as a solid presence. With the DIRTcar Nationals returning to Volusia Speedway, the veteran couldn’t miss the opportunity this time like he did last year.
In fact, he won the dirt feature after dominating the field, picking up his first Gator win since 2012 when he first won it. Wallace was seen pretty emotional, holding back his tears following his win after his close friend Ken Schrader won it a day before.
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Kenny Wallace wins the Gator bonanza at 60, bringing home his 2nd title
Slipping and sliding on the loose surface, the #36 JEGS powered dirt model was on full-throttle leaving behind a trail of dust for his competitors to bite as Kenny Wallace got across the finish first in stellar fashion. Even Kyle Strickler who offered a tough fight to the veteran couldn’t halt the #36 car’s advance as Wallace came across the line to pick up his second Gator title.
Wallace who missed the 2023 Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals to go on vacation with his family in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was called up by Nick Hoffman and was offered a shot, to be in his Elite chassis car, an opportunity that gave the veteran a taste of success at the age of 60. Reflecting on his win, Wallace, uncharacteristic of him, was seen holding back his emotion in the post-race interview.
He said, “Nick Hoffman and then Darrell Hoffman, the team elite chassis, uh, hi, everybody in St. Louis, my wife, Kim, I love you, I think I’m going to cry. I got a toughen-up. Well, oh yeah, you know, um…There’s so much to say, right?” The veteran then displayed his typical charm. getting in a few jokes all while revealing his future – “I’m 60. I shouldn’t be racing. But I eat grilled chicken and I stay healthy and I just want to keep racing.”
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Emotional Wallace credits his team and Ken Schrader for fueling the fire inside him
According to Stlracing.com, a St. Louis-based publication, Wallace was contemplating taking his time off of racing but was inspired to stay on course with his occasional dirt racing appearances by his close friend, Ken Schrader, and Don Prudhomme. Recalling the last year’s conversation he had with Hoffman, he said, “Last year, I went to Cabo so that I didn’t race at Volusia,” Wallace said. “Originally, I had said that I would race for two more years and call it a career. I got a lot of advice from legends like Don Prudhomme and Walker Evans saying, ‘No, don’t you dare!’”
via Imago Kenny Wallace
Even his friend, Schrader did not approve of Wallace’s decision to quit but insisted on keeping the embers burning. He said, “Kenny Schrader even said ‘Herman, no. You have to keep a race car in your shop.’ Then, everybody was worried about me and saying that I’d die.” Wallace then mentioned this in the post-race interview, saying, “There was a time I was going to quit. And Kenny Schrader said you can’t quit. Don Prudhomme said you can’t quit. Walker Evans, everybody. So this whole deal was about Nick and myself and Darrell Hoffman being a good friend. Darrell Hoffman built my motors when I first started racing. So I don’t want to say one thing. I know I get along with it.”
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