Kenny “The Hermanator” Wallace Grabs First Ever Win at East Bay
by Chris McWilliams on February 9, 2011
Kenny “The Hermanator” Wallace enjoyed a long and successful career in NASCAR that included 9 wins and 157 top-tens in the Nationwide Series but his win at East Bay Raceway Park in his open wheel modified on Friday may have topped them all in his book. The win was Wallace’s long-awaited first win on at East Bay Raceway Park and he had plenty to say about it afterwards. “When I was a kid growing up in St. Louis, I used to read about the guys that run here and I always wanted to accomplish a convincing win on dirt. This is just my sixth year of dirt track racing and I have been watching all the fun Kenny Schrader has doing this. I decided to get this Impressive Race Car chassis and have some of that fun, too,” Kenny told the crowd as he struck every possible victory pose with his trophy as the photographers captured every moment. For more information on East Bay Raceway Park’s Winternationals visit www.eastbayracewaypark.com
Kenny Wallace Celebrates in Victory Lane (Image Credit: eastbayracewaypark.com)
Track announcer, Chris Stepan told Wallace how his day had started at the qualifying pill draw when Kenny had pulled his own car number “36” out of the can of 100 pills and the driver immediately said, “That means I’m going to win the feature tonight!” Kenny’s luck continued when he drew pole position out of a possible one to eight starting spots in the feature after he won the third heat race. Wallace battled hard for his first victory in the tough feature race that saw five yellow flags in the 25 lap distance and he even lost the lead for five of those laps. Through it all he had found the perfect set-up for his UNOH (University of Northwestern Ohio) and Federated Auto Parts sponsored brand new Impressive chassis. After each yellow flag he found the speed to pull away from the field and was able to brave tough challenges from Rodney Wing and Jeff Mathews, with Vic Vena and Dale Mathison not far behind.
Kenny Wallace #36 in Action (Image Credit: Cody Papke)
Wallace was quick to give thanks to his chief mechanic Billy Smith for the success of his car in its first race. The crew had seen its fair share of trouble already when during Wednesday night practice the car developed a bad miss in the engine and after a process of elimination they were unable to find the problem. So after three practice sessions they parked that car and ran last year’s car in Thursday night’s race. Chief mechanic Billy Smith, who is a nine-time feature winner himself at Farmington MO, found the problem by replacing the battery in the morning and the new car was “good to go” for Friday’s race using a fresh Mullins engine and equipped with PRO-shocks.
Fourth Place Finisher Vic Vena (Image Credit: closeracingsupply.com)
When fourth starting Dale Mathison passed Wallace for the lead on the second lap and held the lead through lap six, Wallace admitted, “I just couldn’t run the cushion like he could, but when I got back by him on the lap seven restart, I could run my groove.” Second place finisher Wing confessed, “I tried everything to pressure him, but he never made a mistake.” Jeff Mathews was a solid third, but never was a challenge to Wallace. Vic Vena had his best showing of the 12th Annual Open Wheel Modified Winternationals with his fourth place finish in his Malcuit powered BMS No. 01, while Mathison held on for fifth. Rounding out the top ten it was Dave Hess, Jr., Roger Crouse, Devin Dixon, Jeff Bland and Stanley Donahoo. For more information on Kenny Wallace Racing including his 2011 racing schedule check out his website at www.kennywallace.com.