Hey Kenny, Tone It Down A Bit

We first reported this week that Travis Pastrana would be making his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut with RAB Racing (or the team’s points at least). The deal was an obvious one for Pastrana 199 Racing to secure a guaranteed starting spot for the rookie driver.

This, and other deals, leave Kenny Wallace out of a ride, at least for now, at RAB. And of course, Kenny has been making a bit of a stink about it.

Before I go on, let me say, I understand why Kenny is frustrated. He’s a genial guy, who’s worked hard for this and other opportunities. And in recent years, he’s brought consistency and some measure of success to RAB Racing. Then, he finds himself without a sponsor and without a ride. Who wouldn’t be frustrated?

Kenny though has been, perhaps, a little too willing to express his frustration with the financial situation at RAB. After being informed earlier this season that he was only guaranteed five races with the team, he went on a little media tour. He told Sirius Speedway:

“(Team owner) Robby Benton came to me and said, `We’re going to run you for first five races of year,” revealed Wallace today. “`If we don’t have any sponsorship after that, I’m going to have to sell the ride.’ He’s already got some little rich kids calling about buying races, so I may be out of the car pretty soon.

“I’m heartbroken,” said Wallace. “I worked my ass off last year to get my dignity back and prove to everyone that we could still run up front. And look at me now, running around like a bozo in a plain black car. It’s demoralizing. I can’t find any more money, so it looks like I’m not going to be a full time driver this year. If I don’t have any money after California, the ride will go to whoever has money. Robby has to pay his crew, and I understand that.

Wow.

Last week, he took to his Twitter account to express his frustration with the situation. Or perhaps more accurately, let his followers do it through retweets.

So his frustrations have become theirs. And, as he gets pushed out in favor of someone with resources to keep the team in business, the self-funded driver has become a big point of consternation (see Kenny Wallace/Brian Scott Twitter fight). The self-funded driver though is a reality of our sport, for good or bad. And if you’re a team owner lacking funds, short of starting-and-parking, this is the path many must take.

Robby Benton is a guy with a business partner who has to focus on the dozen+ employees who count on him to pay their mortgages and feed their families. Robby, as a small business owner, also has to consider that business and his own financial well-being. Owning a race team is not charitable work.

The comments above and the Twitter tactics really make me shake my head. This doesn’t particularly reflect well on the driver for the current team providing an opportunity when it can, future teams he wants opportunities with or sponsors who might consider getting into the Kenny Wallace business.

I like Kenny and I understand he just wants to race, but this is not the way to get back in a car. There is nothing more admirable than the person who maintains grace and dignity in the face of adversity.

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15 Responses to “Hey Kenny, Tone It Down A Bit”

  1. fireball doowah says:

    I like KW, and I’d like him to be successful, this ‘full court twitter press’ tarnishes his image in my mind. Pastrana is apparently more marketable than KW.

  2. windowlicker says:

    I said the same thing in a comment in another post here about him going about this the wrong way. I understand what he’s saying but his owner certainly doesn’t like it and honestly, I think it makes Kenny sound like a big baby airing it out like this. His big mouth is not helping out this time.

  3. Steven says:

    Brian Scott is 14th in points driving for Joe Gibbs. He is behind Danica and that tells me something… the crying Wallace is right about him.

  4. Frank M says:

    I’m not sure what to think from a personal stand point. I personally like knowing as much as I can. So when a driver or someone else committs ‘suicide’ by venting, I’m OK with it. The shame of it is that it doesn’t do his cause any good with other owners.
    Also ,while I personally like this kind of info, I think a lot of others don’t. It’s like a poker player laking about bad beats. Nobody wants to hear it. It’s just part of the wat it is. In all racing, sponsorship issues is just the way it is.

  5. Eric says:

    Ill start the KW bashing I guess.

    KW has never been a great driver. Growing up in the shadow of his brother, he clearly has a Inferiority complex. His on-air antics were fun and cute from the beginning, but he is clearly unstable and its getting old.

    Lets face it, nobody hires him because hes a great driver, he gets hired because he is on TV all the time. More TV times means more opportunity for sponsor exposure.

    Look at it as a company stock, I see this as Kennys stock losing value. Kenny never won 2 Daytona 500′s like Michael Waltrip. Kenny cant rely on sponsors like MW can. Kenny needs to take a real good look at himself, and realize who he is before he ruins KW completely.

  6. Mike Cripps says:

    KW has brought some sort of level of competition to this team. For the owner to dump KW, at this time is a poor reflection on his organization and person. The realities of Nascar, in the current economic situation is a sad and dark day for fans, especially us old time, pre 1979 fans. After Travis Pastrana has wrecked everything in sight and nearly bankrupted the company, who will they turn to for help?

    I can understand the emotion that KW is exhibiting here. apparently not everyone can see that. KW is not one of the “vanilla, one size fits all” kind of driver. I hope he never becomes one of those drivers. The sport has too many now.

  7. TangoAlphaLima says:

    Meh, no outrage here. Kenny’s had his chance. He’s had a long career, it’s time to move on. Plus, there are other things to be outraged about involving the current NASCAR economy (Why can Elliott Sadler not get a full time ride in the Sprint Cup? How can Jack Roush not find Sprint Cup sponsorship for his 4th team to get Stenhouse in the series?).

    Pastrana is a big name that can only help the sport if he manages to do well. If Kenny Wallace needs to move aside to make room, then so be it.

  8. mr clause says:

    Lets not overlook the fact that Kenny drove all of last year without getting paid. I think maybe if you look at Kenny saying the team needed funds he was doing what he did last year, doing everything he could to gain team sponsorships. I just don’t think he was hurting the team intentionally in any way. It might make some feel good to take cheap shots at Kenny or Robbie but that would be unfair. This type of situation is the NASCAR of today and it’s sad for everyone. Robbie was honest with Kenny from the start of the season, he had funding for five races and the rest of the races were up for bid. If there is any fault to find it lies on the shoulders of NASCAR and it’s greed.

  9. oldirtracker says:

    Robby Benton has to have a business model to stay in business and support all of his employees families. Kenny is an ok driver who has had his chances with minimal success. Last year was to be the big year, what happened a couple of top tens woo hoo. stick to the booth and quit crying Kenny it doesnt endear you to anyone. Lot of people love your loud uneducated personna on tv, so exploit it while you can. Personally i think you have milked the cow pretty good for the amount of talent you have, look at all the guys that were legends in the modified and sportsman ranks and never made the money you did. This is perfect for a Jimmy Spencer crying towel segment on the racehub.

  10. Old School says:

    Well said Journo. Kenny has become a legend in his own mind.
    He has became unbearable on the Speed programing which I no longer watch. Maybe big brother will sponsor him if he is such
    a great driver.

  11. Mike says:

    I never heard once kw saying anything but the nascar/media schill. For instance, I think one reason for the sponsership problem is tv not showing and talking consistently about all cars in a race. If I sponsor a lower ranked car and get no air time, why should I waste my money? If there are no fans in the stand, something is wrong. All kw could say was fans do not know racing, and not a word about the dismal tv coverage. In my book, he is reaping the consequences of what he himself helped sow.

  12. Captain Jack says:

    I’m not gonna throw rocks at Wallace. He’s been absolutely clear on what he’s done, failed to do, and where he stands in the Grand Scheme of Things.

    Got a few bucks and want a racer that’ll get 3 hours of sleep to promote ya? Him. Don’t like or want Wallace? Fine – RAB has other people more than available; some, better drivers.

    Throwing rocks at the guy for not towing the Nascar party line is insipid at best. I mean, really; the whole idea of Nascar in the first place was moonshiners and France Sr. going “God, let’s hope Kiddo doesn’t screw this up…”

    So he cut the crap and said, outright – “We can’t afford to do this even with me taking $1 per race for legal reasons. I tried.”

    It’s a dead industry, and I think the participants are starting to realize it. Most are master-level mechanics. Hoping bored rich guys want a shop to build up a race car…lot more sure money than “Boogity” from a washed out jack-wagon.

    It’s done fer. Meh. Question I have is – how long will it take?

  13. Zieke says:

    I believe that KW was an average driver in his best years which have come and gone. Even if he had sponsorship, his finishes would be in the top 20 most of the time, so why is he crying and moaning? He had a good racing career. It’s time to retire to the TV show and quit hanging on and on like some other drivers I know. It’s not wrong to love your job, but you need to know when to hang it up. It’s KW’s time now.

  14. ATS says:

    Brian Scott is a “daddy pays” driver. I could name some others…John Wes Townley, Michael Annett and Tim George Jr.

    All of the find the wall more than they find the top-10.

  15. oldirtracker says:

    enough already, why waste space on this non subject, racing is a business and kenny will NEVER perform to a sponsors expected level with the best equipment money can buy. grab the tv money while you can before people grow weary of the retard act. Ps as far as sponsors getting even billing, it will never happen as long as car owner/car owner brother in the booth chip in with the napa toyota every 2 laps. i dont remember harvicks car being mentioned as the bud chevy or hamlins toyota being mentioned as the fed ex toyota, but i dang sure heard NAPA over and over again by we all know who. I watch the race and listen to radio.

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