NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Kenny Wallace Driver Diary: The Mysterious Nationwide Schedule, Nashville & Why I Love Baseball

Mexico City was taken off the schedule this year. We’re making up Mexico City with the Iowa date. I’m thrilled to death to be going to Iowa. I’ve tested there a couple of times and it seems like a really nice racetrack. We ran at Mexico City for five years, and it seemed like it was a good time to leave Mexico.

It was a little bit hard to get any rhythm going at the start of the year. At one time we had two complete weeks off. It dawned on me how the drivers in the Camping World Truck Series must feel – guys like Todd Bodine and Ron Hornaday. They must feel like they don’t ever race. When Daytona starts, you pretty much know you’re going to race every week, but this year, the Nationwide Series had such an odd schedule.

When we dropped Mexico City, we couldn’t just go race in Iowa. In February or March, when we ran Mexico, they still have snow up in Iowa! I think that was why the schedule is so strange. I will say though, that for a team like mine – my team always has to overachieve – it was great. It allowed my team to get more prepared. For a team that’s highly funded, like a Gibbs team or a Childress team, they probably wanted to race every week. But for my team it was perfect.

Nashville was a huge disappointment for me personally. I’ve finished second there twice – had back-to-back second-place finishes there. When I go to Nashville, I feel like that’s a Bristol type of track for me, and I feel like I know what I’m doing there, I know what I need. I think what threw me the curveball was that we bought a used car from James Finch, we had high hopes for it, and it caught us off guard. The car had no speed and it pushed really bad. Every time we came in for a pit stop, the right-front tire was blistered. We won’t run that car again anytime soon. There are times when you can finish 24th and go, ‘Wow, that was a hard fought 24th.’ Well, that was a hard-fought 24th for me. It sure was disappointing, though.

I love baseball. Baseball is a little bit more than just baseball to me. It also signals my favorite time of year, which is summer. My wife, Kim, she loves the heat. My favorite time of year is in June or July when everybody is complaining that it’s too hot. That’s when I think I really shine – I can outrun these young kids that don’t really know what they’re up against, and I love it. I love hot heat–it reminds me of my childhood days of playing in the creek and shooting BB guns.

Baseball to me means summer is here. There is a saying that they use in baseball, “The boys of summer.” I think that’s another reason I love baseball – summer, the kids are out of school, everyone goes swimming – it’s a happy time. We were excited this year because the schedule worked out so that we went straight from Texas to St. Louis. We took in the first three Cardinals’ games – the home opener against Pittsburgh. We lost two and won one.

Then when we went to Phoenix on Wednesday, the Cardinals were playing their last game in Arizona. So we got off the plane on Wednesday at 11:30 and had tickets waiting for us from the clubhouse manager. He helped us out for tickets, and we’ve already taken in four games this year without even trying too hard!

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