by Ken Schrader with Joyce Standridge
kid was 16 years old, he went on one of our weekend racing
trips. From earlier stories you might have gotten the idea
that there is a little bit of partying going on during these
There is a
lot of partying going on.
We use our
heads and stay out of trouble. Mostly, we laugh, make other
people laugh, and regress to pranks, practical jokes and
tricks on each other. Itís the kind of thing that many
people do as they are growing up but forget how to do by the
time theyíve got mortgages and kids. But when youíre young
and curious, itís a good idea to test the limits in the
company of people who will take care of you.
thatís what I told myself Dale Senior must have thought when
he allowed the kid to go with us. Daleís older son Kerry was
already grown, and daughter Kelly was always sharp about the
big, bad world out there. But Dale Jr. had led a pretty
sheltered life--which is a good thing--and Senior figured
that if he was going to experiment and try out things it was
a whole lot better to let him go with me and my crowd than
with a bunch of other 16-year-olds and wind up in jail or
worse. It also couldnít look to Seniorís wife Teresa like it
was his idea. She might have been the kidís stepmother but
sheíd done a good job in her part of bringing him up. And,
at that point, Teresa was just way too trusting, but we
Weekend began when we went to Granite City, where we won;
then on to Topeka; Moberly, Missouri; back to Topeka where
we won again; and then back to St. Charles, Missouri. During
that weekend, Junior got acquainted with his future sponsor,
so when we got back to Topeka the second time--where we knew
were going to meet up with Dale Sr. once more, we said,
"Now, donít look at your daddy, donít tell him nothing about
what we did, and whatever you do, donít breathe on him."
have breathed because later on I got cussed and yelled at,
and I took it quietly because I had it coming. But after the
rant went on long enough, I asked Senior, "I guess this
means we canít take Kelly next year?"
I got a
pretty strong suspicion about a couple of those
"bump-and-runs" I received later that year.
knew I would keep the kid safe. You have to remember that a
pretty similar thing had happened to me when Bud Hoppe got
hold of me, and I turned out...
better think of another comparison.
HERMANíS WORLD Ė The Kenny Wallace Story
Wallace with Joyce Standridge
Kenny Wallace through my dadís and Rustyís friendship. We
became instant friends because we both seemed to be in the
same place at the time. Kenny, as I did, felt the need to
prove himself. That was a daily chore with my father and me,
and Kenny was no different with his brother, Rusty. Kenny
often saw the frustration I had with my father, involving
racing and other things. It was Kenny who could easily
explain the situation to me. We might not have found a
solution, but he understood.
spoke my language. I ask him for advice quite often, not
because he is all-knowing or any crap like that. He just
shoots straight. When you talk to Kenny, he is thinking,
listening, and sincere with his response. Even more
impressive is having him seek advice from me. Thatís the
most sincere form of respect. Iíve spent my entire life
being told what I want to hear, or told nothing at all.
Kenny is the opposite of that. Rare, indeed.
path through racing has been full of highs and lows. I
remember watching him in the Cox Treated Lumber Pontiac back
in his early Busch series days. He ran head-to-head with
them all. He built up a good reputation, and I kept thinking
he was one to keep an eye on.
in the Cup series, as you will read, were not what anyone
would have expected. Mediocre equipment and hand-shake deals
were often his only choice. There were some high spots, some
good runs with good teams. Ultimately though, he will admit
he never, or for that matter we never, got to see his real
care less about his track record, myself. What he gave this
sport isnít measurable with statistics and trophies. This
sport can be shallow; it can be deceitful.
Kenny is a
silver coin in a pile of coal, with a face full of
expressions as easily read as the morning paper. Most
notable is his distinct laughter. If Kenny is in the
building, you know it.
been a great father and husband to his wonderful family.
Heís a man with his priorities in order. This book is a
great account of the person Kenny is, and Iím very proud to
be a part of it.
© 2007 Lew
Boyd, Coastal 181