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NASCAR Winston Cup Preview

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Winston Cup

NASCAR Winston Cup Preview

Kenny Wallace
January 18, 2003


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

Q. Kenny, I was looking at the earnings list from a couple of races last year and it seems like it would be fair if the winner got the most money, second place got second, and down the line. I think in Chicago, the 4th place guy got less money than the 39th guy, is that fair?

KENNY WALLACE: You know, our sport -- it's kind of like the union. The more time you put in, the better you get paid, so if somebody won -- let's say somebody two years ago won six races, you know, you stay on the winner's circle longer. You just got to keep staying competitive to keep earning those dollars. That's the way our sport is set up. Everything we do in NASCAR Winston Cup Racing down to parking the tractor trailers in the garage area, everything is based on the car and points. The driver points are merely for the Waldorf at the end of the year in New York. So, sometimes people tend to lose track it's all about car owner and points. And the more you stay high in the points, the more races you win, that's what happens. I mean, you know at Talladega I jumped in Michael Waltrip car, just a backup car, like their eighth car in line for speedways, and we ran 5th and got penalized and finished 21st for passing underneath the yellow line, but still I kind of -- actually looking to see how much money I lost. If I would have finished 5th, you're right, it's just a lot less money. The guy who finished 15th would have made more money than me. That's the way our sport is. I accept it. I'm happy to be part of Winston Cup Racing. We know it going in. It's like anybody, you got to build it and keep consistent.

Q. At the start of every year, everybody is saying we think we can be top-10, we think we win races and things like that. What would it take when you get to the end of the year to say you did a really good job with your team?

KENNY WALLACE: Well, I will be real short on that. For me this is real -- I know I tend to talk a lot. I'm 39 years old now. I got a great organization that I'm with. I've got to win one race. I have said it -- I have been real strong about the last six or seven months. There is a void left in my life. It's sad to say that I have three beautiful children but there is one void left in my life and that's to win one Winston Cup race. That's all it's about this year. It's not about anything else. Sure, the other goal is to probably to make sure we stay competitive all year long, week in and week out. I'm no different than anybody, I want my truck parked high as I can in the points . I'm a competitor. I want to win one race bad and then go after the other ones after that.

Q. You have been in a situation where teams you were on were decimated by sponsorship issues or lack of sponsorship. Is that something that's always in the back of the driver's mind, given the economic state of things right now or do you let other people worry about that and just race?

KENNY WALLACE: No, you can't let everybody else worry about it because it's the driver's responsibility. There is so much that goes along with driving a racecar. My responsibility is to help find that sponsorship and keep them happy. I wish -- I'm not saying I wish. I enjoy helping the sponsors sell product, but I wish it was that easy. It is my job -- it's the driver's job to help make the sponsors happy. I mean, every once in a while the car owner will call you up, hey, we are trying to land a major associate sponsor, will you fly with us there. You have to go in front of those people and make them understand you are not a dummy and you can help them sell products. That's bigger than 50 percent of our sport because if we don't have the budgets, we can't go test and give them the product that they are looking for.



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