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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
Wallace surprises Lionel Racing contest winner at elementary school
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Texas FORT WORTH, Texas (April 6, 2017) -- Before a rousing crowd of nearly 500 elementary school students at B.B. Owen in The Colony, Darrell Wallace Jr. made a visit to surprise fourth-grader Xavier Gooden with a Lionel Racing 1:24 scale die-cast bearing his winning design. The school welcomed Wallace in grand fashion with a police escort; The Colony High School drum line, cheerleaders and Top Cats performing at the entrance; welcome signs; and a balloon-shaped Victory Lane on the school stage for his special appearance on behalf of Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding To Read program. After the school's top readers were acknowledged, Gooden was announced as the overall winner of the competition among the 5,000 students and 10 DFW schools competing in Speeding To Read this school year. Gooden's design, which was pink, blue and green, was themed "Cure Cancer 2017" and had blue ribbons for colon cancer awareness. The paint scheme was dedicated to his two grandmothers with colon cancer, one of which he lost recently and the other -- Clara Simmons -- that was on hand for the presentation with several family members. The students presented Wallace , the driver of the No. 6 Leidos Ford Mustang, with a "good luck" banner for Saturday's My Bariatric Solutions 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Texas Motor Speedway as well as a B.B. Owen Elementary T-shirt as the honored guest. He also participated with students in a NASCAR quiz game; signed autographs and took photos with numerous students; toured the school including the hallway of die-cast designs; and finished with a photo in the "selfie" No. 6 car the students created for him and then signed the classroom door that featured his car number and sponsor. The assembly became emotional when Gooden explained to the audience that his paint scheme was a tribute to his two grandmothers, one who recently passed away and the other who was on hand for the presentation along with his parents and several other family members. She came on stage in tears to give her grandson a big embrace for his tribute. Wallace also teared up from the tribute, thinking of his Granny Jan who passed away this past fall in Knoxville, Tennessee, and provided a warm embrace to Gooden's grandmother when she came on stage. What They Are Saying "I just don't know what to say. I am just speechless." - Xavier Gooden on stage after he was presented his paint scheme on a 1:24 scale Lionel Racing NASCAR Authentics die-cast. "It (paint scheme) was for my grandmas because they both had colon cancer, but one sadly didn't survive. But the grandma on my dad's side, she is still around. It was really cool to have my grandma here. I didn't know everyone (from my family) was going to come and they did." -- Gooden on his paint scheme that was a tribute to his two grandmothers. "That was special -- touching. It's still something that is really sensitive to me. I didn't expect the waterworks to come out, but it definitely happened." -- Bubba Wallace on losing his Granny Jan in November and getting tearful when hearing of Gooden's paint scheme tribute. "That was huge. We kind of played a little joke on them with our travel disaster we had today. We were able to make it here a little bit late, but brought the kids a face they wanted to see. It was a good time. A lot of cheers, screams. Not even a couple boos like I get at the track; it was all positive and that was a lot of fun walking out and getting to spend some time with the kids at B.B. Owen." -- Wallace on the rousing reception of nearly 500 students, parents and special guests at the full-school assembly. "It was cool having Xavier's family here. He is such a bright, young kid. He's got a lot going for him. He's exciting, he loves living life to the fullest each and every day. You can see that on his face. He is taking it all in. He understands everything that is going on around him. Keeping his family close. That's something I strive for the same thing." -- Wallace on Gooden after meeting him and his family at the assembly. "This is our third year doing this and it's been really great. It is something that Lionel Racing looks forward to every year. This is the first year we've ever put a car in our NASCAR Authentics line. Just to watch the kids get so excited about reading -- it's something really cool that Texas Motor Speedway does -- it is something I would hope other tracks would eventually take on and do as well." -- Lionel Racing Director of e-Commerce and Marketing Thomas DeBoyace. "Just being here you get the goosebumps and you see the emotions -- even with Bubba just losing a family member as well. All the cars were great but this one specifically being a child that was attached to cancer and had been affected by it -- it was really good how he did it on the car in honor of his family member. It was phenomenal. It was like a no-brainer to pick this one as our winner for the year." -- DeBoyace on the winning design and presentation of the die-cast to Gooden. "It is truly special to see the impact that Lionel Racing, Bubba and Texas Motor Speedway can make with our elementary school visits to acknowledge the die-cast winners and the top readers," Texas Motor Speedway Vice President of Media Relations Mike Zizzo. "Having our industry inspire kids to read more frequently, find their artistic talents and dream big is an honor for all of us involved." Fast Fact Another significant reward of winning the Lionel Racing "Design A Die-Cast" competition is that Gooden's design will be included in Lionel Racing's commercial NASCAR Authentics die-cast line featuring all the cars of the sport's stars that is expected out in December. Gooden's car will be available in major retail outlets such as Wal-Mart, Toys 'R Us and Target. Proceeds from his car sales will be donated by Lionel Racing and the NASCAR Foundation to a designated charity in Gooden's name. "First time ever they are going to be at Walmart, Target, Toys 'R Us and our NASCAR Authentics line," DeBoyace said. "Our NASCAR enthusiasts will collect these cars and actually get them and put them as part of their collection now with a great story behind it, with money going to charity. Knowing that a kid that is so passionate about reading and getting things done and designing his own car, it was just really cool."