Kenny Wallace gets emotional surprise for final race
Daughter Brittany reveals a special helmet for Iowa race RELATED: Grand marshal added to Wallace's Iowa duties " Racing with nephew Matt NEWTON, Iowa -- Until Friday, Kenny Wallace 's plans to hang up his NASCAR driving helmet this weekend at Iowa Speedway were only missing one small detail -- the helmet itself. His former team kept deflecting his phone calls, telling him not to worry and that his helmet would be there for the 905th start of his long, storied NASCAR career. The smokescreen was effective -- it bought his daughter Brittany enough time to have it professionally painted with a commemorative collage of snapshots and memories from his 26 years in the sport. While Wallace's time behind the wheel in NASCAR will end with Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), the sport won't be saying goodbye to one of its most charismatic characters, who will remain a presence both in TV broadcasting and at local dirt tracks. Though there will be some finality after he steps away Saturday night, Wallace said he'll do his best to keep his emotions in check along the way. "I think there's going to be moments and I hope that it happens after the race, but I've done a pretty good job at my career to really focus in on what I have to do," said Wallace , who will carry backing from the race's title sponsor on his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. "I remember when Ernie Irvan got hurt (in 1994) and I was in that Texaco/Havoline car in the Cup Series, I was shifting the gears getting on the high banks there at Bristol and I could hear the roar of the crowd, and I was like, 'No. Focus.' "I've learned a lot along the way. I've watched Jeff Gordon this year; I don't even know how he can go. I've learned a lot. I'm ready to race, and then we'll deal with everything after the race and when I get out of the car." That theory held true for about 30 minutes after his arrival at the .875-mile track, when Brittany Wallace handed over the special surprise to her father in front of a group of friends and family. Short of choking up, the 51-year-old Wallace said he had sworn he would not be emotional, but was genuinely moved by the gift. Wallace joked that he hopes to amend the helmet's graphics Saturday night, changing his nine career XFINITY wins to an even 10. But the joke belied his ever-sharper focus with top-shelf JGR equipment underneath him for this weekend's swan song. "If he's saying he's blocking it out, he's way better at doing something like that than I am," said older brother Mike Wallace , like his sibling a nine-time winner in NASCAR national competition. "He said he's happy with it, content. All I can say is more power to him. It's outstanding. I just ran into him over there and he's got his family and friends, he's the grand marshal for a (K&N Series) race tonight, he's got a suite here. He seems to be having fun right now. He said, 'I've got to go sign some hats,' and I was like, 'Go be famous. That's what you're good at.'" The nature of the family-affair weekend has even more ties. Kenny Wallace will share the track with his nephew, Matt, who is scheduled to make his second career XFINITY Series start Saturday night. His farewell race will also take place on a short track designed by oldest brother Rusty Wallace , a NASCAR Hall of Famer. The eldest Wallace ended his driving career in 2005, but like his brother, he remained active in the sport with broadcasting stints in television and radio. It's why both Wallaces have shied away from calling the occasion "retirement" with a capital R. "I wish him all the luck in the world," said Rusty Wallace , speaking Thursday at a charity event in Pennsylvania for The NASCAR Foundation and the Jeff Gordon 's Children's Foundation. "I told him the other day, do not use that word retirement. You don't need to do that. They'll label you with that. I said notice Jeff Gordon said he's quitting, but he's not retiring, but he's never going to race again. So he's kind of retiring but he's not going to use that word. He learned that from me and Mark Martin . I told Kenny, you didn't need to do that. He'll be fine." So if anyone was hoping to get rid of Kenny Wallace after this weekend, tough luck. The driver known for his boundless energy, his grace with racing fans, his social media presence, his extracurricular dirt-racing travels and his broadcasting moxie isn't going anywhere. After 900-plus starts dating back to a 1988 debut at Martinsville Speedway, driving the No. 8 ride owned by Dale Earnhardt in what is now the XFINITY Series, Wallace said simply that "there needs to be a line in the sand" for his driving career. Staying power in NASCAR can often be fleeting and rare, a fact that has made Wallace even prouder of his long run in the sport's highest levels. Wallace's helmet is anchored by the words "Life is a journey," a well-worn adage he said he always tells his three daughters. Wallace's own journey will enter its next phase after Saturday night. "My mom, Judy, she said to me, 'Kenny, hon. You keep reinventing yourself,' " Wallace said. "I'm like 'really, Mom?' It's not a plan, it's just that I want to stay in the sport. I think longevity and persistence is what I'm so proud of, because let's face it, I was never an 'A' driver. To me, I feel proud saying I was a 'B-plus' driver. I won nine XFINITY races, 177 top-10s -- I mean, that counts for something. When I should've been down and out, I stayed digging." Contributing: RJ Kraft from Pocono Raceway FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Hard crash for Mike Wallace
Contact between Kasey Kahne and Mike Wallace leaves the No. 01 with heavy damage.
Matt Wallace will race against uncle Kenny at Iowa
Mike , Matt and Chrissy Wallace set a racing first, as well Proud papa Mike Wallace was in the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage on Friday as son Matt prepares to make his national series debut in Saturday’s Lakes Region 200 (4 p.m. ET NBC Sports Network, PRN, SiriusXM). Three months after heart surgery, the elder Wallace said he'd rather be racing but watching his son step into the No. 26 JGL Racing Ford is a proud moment. RELATED: Kenny Wallace subs for brother at Talladega Wallace also proudly announced that Matt would be racing alongside brother Kenny Wallace at Iowa, which will be the last NASCAR national series race for Kenny, he announced earlier this week. And for trivia buffs, Mike Wallace points out that his family sets a new mark this weekend with Matt's XFINITY debut. Mike , Matt and Chrissy Wallace make up the first father-daughter-son team to all compete in a national series. Chrissy made two XFINITY Series starts in 2010, finishing 43rd at Daytona and 24th at Talladega. Mike has 494 XFINITY Series races under his belt, with four wins, 22 top-five finishes and 66 top 10s. He also has 197 Sprint Cup Series starts. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kenny Wallace adds K&N Grand Marshal to Iowa weekend duties
He also makes his driving finale in Iowa XFINITY Series race RELATED: Iowa to mark Wallace's last start " Matt will race against uncle Kenny The Iowa race weekend is becoming a Wallace family festival, with Kenny Wallace adding grand marshal for the #ThanksKenny 150 to his duties. Wallace announced earlier that the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Iowa on Saturday, Aug. 1, would be his last start. And he will be joined in that race by fellow driver Matt Wallace , Kenny's nephew and Mike's son. The US Cellular 250 presented by New Holland will be Matt Wallace 's second start in a national series. Kenny Wallace , the all-time leader in career NASCAR XFINITY Series starts (546), will say those famous words at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West race Friday night, July 31 at 9 p.m. ET. The K&N Series also is honoring Wallace by naming the 150-miler the #ThanksKenny 150 as a tribute to Wallace ’s 26-year NASCAR career. "When Kenny revealed that his last NASCAR race would come at Iowa Speedway, we gave serious thought to how we could best recognize his accomplishments. We knew we had to put together a celebration as big as his personality," said Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small. "It doesn’t get much bigger than having a race named in your honor. That is something that will live on as long as we keep records, and Kenny Wallace is a person who is truly deserving of that distinction." As grand marshal, Wallace will say the four most famous words in racing -- "Drivers, start your engines!" prior to the start of the race. Following the race, Wallace will be in Casey’s General Stores Victory Lane to present the trophy to the winner. "I love connecting with fans from all over the world on social media sites, so when I was told about the hashtag (#ThanksKenny), it really made me smile and laugh at the same time," said Wallace , who announced on Twitter he would be piloting the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing at the in the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland (Aug. 1, 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, MRN, SiriusXM). "I'm really excited to give the command to 'start your engines' on Friday night. That’s definitely something new for me," Wallace said. "But I already have a plan on how I’m going to say it, and of course it will be funny." Wallace has served as a NASCAR analyst for FOX Sports, appearing on FOX Sports 1's "NASCAR RaceDay" and "NASCAR Victory Lane" programs. He also does a "Herman Unplugged" feature, offering his opinions on the hot topics in the sport, for NASCAR Illustrated that appears on NASCAR.com. The No. 20 XFINITY Series car has seen five drivers take turns behind the wheel this season for JGR. Erik Jones has made nine starts, Matt Kenseth three, Denny Hamlin three and Ross Kenseth and David Ragan have each made one start in the car. Jones won at Texas, while Hamlin won at Richmond and New Hampshire. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Wallace family makes NASCAR history
Mike Wallace explains how his family will make NASCAR history at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Mike Wallace gets turned, makes an amazing save against the apron
Former Daytona winner Mike Wallace gets clipped and sparks fly as he gets sideways along the Turn 2 banking.
Victory Lane: Mike Wallace
Mike and his teammate Ron Hornaday celebrate a 1-2 finish in the CWTS.
Mike Wallace draws four car crash
Mike Wallace turns Joe Nemechek as he collect a four car crash along with drivers Kurt Busch and Reed Sorenson
Busch, Wallace lead XFINITY Series practices
Qualifying, race set for Saturday at Daytona Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live XFINITY PRACTICE 1 " Full results After finishing second in Thursday night's Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel #2, Kyle Busch soared to the top of the leaderboard at Daytona International Speedway during Friday's opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice for the Alert Today Florida 300 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). The Joe Gibbs Racing driver propelled his No. 54 Toyota at 191.681 mph around the "World Center of Racing." RAB Racing's Justin Marks also showed plenty of momentum in his No. 29 Toyota, posting the second-fastest speed of 190.496 mph. JGL Racing's Mike Wallace (190.018 mph), Roush Fenway Racing's Darrell Wallace Jr. (189.661 mph) and Richard Childress Racing's Ty Dillon (189.550 mph) rounded out the top five. 2014 champion Chase Elliott powered his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet around the Florida oval at 187.966 mph, ranking 24th among the group. FINAL XFINITY PRACTICE " Full results Circling Daytona International Speedway at 187.009 mph, Mike Wallace led the NASCAR XFINITY Series field during Friday's final practice for the Alert Today Florida 300 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Wallace also posted the third-fastest speed in the series' opening practice and was the only top-five driver from the first session to make another run in the final practice. Close behind Wallace was Richard Childress Racing's Brian Scott, who propelled his No. 2 Chevrolet around the Florida track second-fastest at 186.997 mph. A trio of Chevys rounded out the top five: Billy Boat Motorsports' Chad Boat (186.931 mph), Jeremy Clements Racing's Jeremy Clements (186.305 mph) and JD Motorsports' Ross Chastain (185.743 mph), respectively. Several drivers neglected to make a run in final practice, including 2014 champion Chase Elliott, who posted the 24th-fastest time in the first practice. Opening practice leader Kyle Busch also stayed off the track in the final session. The XFINITY Series returns is the track on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole qualifying with coverage on FOX Sports 1. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Diamonds in the rough: NASCAR eBay findings
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Read more Inside Groove ITEM 1: Richard Petty autographed photo w/ Rick Wilson at the zoo It's what you've dreamt of for the past 25 years -- an autographed photo of Richard Petty. And Rick Wilson. AT THE ZOO. Alternative: Men's NASCAR Classics light blue Richard Petty 80th birthday shirt While the photo would look great at your desk at the office instead of that picture of your family, a T-Shirt featuring The King might do a better job out in public. ITEM 2: NASCAR sheet metal No. 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's quarter-panel A piece of sheet metal from Kevin Harvick 's Jimmy John's car that just reads "Freaky." Give the guests stopping by your racing cave the wrong idea. Alternative: Unsigned Kevin Harvick Fanatics authentic display case with race-used sheet metal Protect yourself from sharp metal edges with a display-case protected piece of Happy's car. ITEM 3: 2003 Wheels High Gear No. 69 Greg Biffle rookie racing card A Greg Biffle rookie card -- No. 69, of course. Alternative: Greg Biffle pit row cornhole game set Greg Biffle cornhole. I think he would have wanted it this way. ITEM 4: Ryan Newman action figure An action figure of Ryan Newman spilling a bottle of sports drink. Butter fingers! Alternative: Men's Ryan Newman New Era black team relation knit beanie Protect your head from rogue sports drink spray. ITEM 5: Dale Jr. NASCAR 3M Hard Charger Award A novelty check for $25,000. If you successfully cash it, you've got a pretty decent return on investment. Alternative: NASCAR Superstore $25 Gift Card Why have $25,000 in novelty dollars when you can have 25 real dollars' worth of NASCAR merchandise? ITEM 6: Ron Hornaday No. 2 pit board sign Does Ron Hornaday live in your neighborhood? Wave this sign out front of your house and find out -- he'll surely stop! Alternative: WinCraft NASCAR street sign You might get a little more buy-in from your cohabitants with the alternative. ITEM 7: Mike Bliss Advair race-used fire suit Was your Mike Bliss Halloween costume feeling incomplete? No longer. Alternative: Men's Kyle Busch orange M&M's Halloween t-shirt Of course there's no true alternative to a complete Mike Bliss driver suit and helmet. ITEM 8: Dale Jarrett No. 88 race-used tire side wall picture Finally! The answer to your longtime question: "Where can I find a photo of Dale Jarrett to put inside the sidewall of my tire?" Alternative: Dale Jarrett collectible lot of 15 trading cards You might be able to assemble all these trading cards on a piece of poster board, and enjoy 15 pictures of Dale Jarrett instead of just one. ITEM 9: Mike Wallace No. 91 Spam Racing denim jacket Want to show your love of Mike Wallace 's tenure in Joe Falk's No. 91 Spam Racing machine from the late '90s? What better way than with a 20-year-old denim jacket? Alternative: Rusty Wallace black vintage car t-shirt While Mike Wallace merchandise is hard to come by in this decade, you can always count on brother Rusty to come through with vintage shirts. ITEM 10: Dale Jr. wakeboard You've often asked yourself: "How can I combine my love of NASCAR and passion for wakeboarding?" Look no further than this Dale Earnhardt Jr .-from-the-early-2000s-themed wakeboard. Alternative: Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2017 wall calendar Of course, there's no substitute for a wakeboard -- but this calendar can help you remember when it's time to hit the ... waves? (Or whatever it is that wakeboarders say). ITEM 11: Dale Sr. knife set in metal tin car What do we have here? If you guessed "a car resembling the late Dale Earnhardt's that's been stretched out in Microsoft Paint and has wheels that don’t touch the ground," you're right! Alternative: Dale Earnhardt checkered flag black name and number bandana How about a nice bandana instead? ITEM 12: Race-used Cougar hood It's a hood. With a cougar. Alternative: Fanatics authentic Daytona generic chair with black track bottom It's hard to beat actual seats from Daytona International Speedway . ITEM 13: Kyle Busch ID holder Holy heck! A genuine "Kyle Bush" ID holder! And you’d better believe it's emblazoned with that famous No. 18 (well, a No. 18 that doesn't really resemble the real thing). Alternative: WinCraft NASCAR color frost key ring How about something a little more official? (And speaking of ... ) ITEM 14 : NASCAR race official race-used fire suit There's no telling what you could do when you show up to the race in an Official's uniform. Alternative: Men's Fanatics branded black NASCAR t-shirt It's probably a safer bet to show your love of NASCAR with a simple t-shirt than impersonating a race official. Trust me on that one.
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