This extended Q&A marks the ninth in a series with FOX Sports motor sports personalities to be highlighted over the next several months. FOX NASCAR analyst, former NASCAR driver and dirt-racing ace Kenny Wallace has been added to the FS1 broadcast team for Wednesday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Seires race at Eldora Speedway (qualifying at 7:00 p.m. ET on FS1; pre-race coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1), a half-mile clay oval owned by Tony Stewart. Wallace, who has competed in more than 450 dirt races, regularly serves as an analyst for FS1's NASCAR Raceday and NASCAR Victory Lane, will offer special reports and dirt-racing insight throughout the network's Eldora Speedway coverage. To learn more about Wallace, please CLICK HERE and follow him on Twitter at @Kenny_Wallace.
FOX SPORTS: You recently moved back to your childhood hometown of St. Louis. You are still dirt racing and are an analyst for FOX NASCAR. So, why move now?
WALLACE: "I moved to Charlotte at a young age, and despite how much I like Charlotte, I've always had a fascination with my hometown. I love the 'Gateway to the West' and its Cardinals and St. Louis Blues hockey team. St. Louis feels like home, and it's centrally located on the map for my job with FOX. It's a good spot to travel from on a weekly basis when you fly all over the country."
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FOX SPORTS: You recently became a first-time grandfather. What is little Charlotte like and how has she changed your life?
WALLACE: "There truly is no better feeling in the entire world. In a strange way, becoming a grandfather is like starting your life over. I'm Papa to Charlotte - or 'Lottie,' as we call her - because that's what my girls called my father. I'm absolutely in love with her. When I'm away from her, I find myself wanting to kiss and squeeze those soft cheeks and little arms. But my family posts way too many photos of her - we are those people."
FOX SPORTS: If you could be teammates with any three racers in history, whose team would you join?
WALLACE: "Mark Martin because he has always liked me and been kind to me. We're kind of 'The Odd Couple' in how we complement each other. He tells me he enjoys my upbeat, happy nature. He's very serious and unique, but I find him fascinating. He can help me with driving and chassis setups, and I can help him be an outwardly happier person. I'd also choose Dale Earnhardt Jr. because we used to race slot cars together when we were kids, long before he was this phenomenon known as 'Junior.' Oh, and he could help our team bring in sponsorship money by the truckload. Plus, he's told me he wants to go dirt racing with me because we drink beer after the races. Thirdly, I'd take Kenny Schrader because he always has my back. Kenny is that one person who tells me the way it is. He can hurt my feelings, but he's very honest and keeps me grounded."
FOX SPORTS: Where will your racing take you next week after Eldora?
WALLACE: "When we're finished at Eldora, I'll go race at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois - one of my home tracks - in the 4th annual Russ Wallace Memorial Race, held July 22 in memory of my father. The owners used to race against my father and liked him, which was uncommon for my family. Most people hated us because my dad beat everyone, so I was honored when they asked if they could hold the Russ Wallace Memorial Race."
FOX SPORTS: How many races will you run this year and how many have you run in your career?
WALLACE: "I'll run about 60 this year. I'll run about 45 for my team - Kenny Wallace Racing - but I still run some in other people's cars. In my career, I've run about 450 dirt races. Just a few."
FOX SPORTS: Between running 60 races a year and being a FOX NASCAR analyst on a weekly basis, how do you find the energy to be "The Herminator?" Is it exhausting being Kenny?
WALLACE: "It's absolutely exhausting to be Kenny, a.k.a. 'The Herminator.' But it's important for me to live up to my reputation. I don't ever want to let people down, so a lot of my energy goes to making people laugh and letting them know how much I care for them. But now that I've reached 50, it has become important for me to sleep and wake up at my own pace. Otherwise, I'm completely zapped. Then, I guess I'm just 'Kenny.'"
FOX SPORTS: So, is it fair to say there are two sides to Kenny Wallace?
WALLACE: "It's absolutely fair. In fact, there are two of me - there's Kenny and there's Herman. Kenny goes home, pays his bills and loves on his granddaughter. Then there's Kenny the entertainer -- Herman or the Herminator. My team would say thank goodness there aren't three of me!"
FOX SPORTS: How difficult is it for an asphalt driver to pick up dirt racing? Would Eldora be a good place to start?
WALLACE: "If an asphalt racer is going to go dirt racing, the Eldora Truck race is the place to do it because Tony Stewart prepares the track very hard -- almost like asphalt -- when the trucks first get out on the track. Additionally, NASCAR won't allow them to mess with the trucks very much. They basically put a dirt tire on an asphalt truck, so it's not really like a dirt car. We sling our dirt vehicles around, and they're entirely different from a Truck that's set up for Eldora. This is a great event for any experience level to run."
FOX SPORTS: What is the biggest challenge to adapting to Eldora?
WALLACE: "Being able to run close to the wall but not destroy the truck. You've got to read the dirt right. The only time to pass on the bottom groove is early in the race when there is some grip there. When the bottom line is used up, guys have to go to the top like we run Darlington. Then drivers have to be able to stay there, time the slide job and not knock down the wall and destroy the truck."
FOX SPORTS: Who is your pick to win at Eldora on Wednesday?
WALLACE: "My sentimental pick is someone I grew close to at the Chili Bowl a couple of years ago -- Rico Abreu. I know it's not a very manly thing to say, but Rico is a sweetheart and just the nicest kid. Eldora has been very good to him - he's won a lot of midget races there - so I'd like to see him take the victory in a truck. But my head says that Christopher Bell will repeat as the winner. But so many others have a good shot. Bobby Pierce and Matt Crafton, who has been sneaking out and running some dirt races with me, come to mind."
FOX SPORTS: How have you seen the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora evolve in the last few years?
WALLACE: "The Eldora race quickly has become the must-see event of the year. The buzz and excitement have been tremendous from the very beginning, and the race has given drivers a huge challenge. It takes them out of their comfort zone, which is a great thing. I'm really happy for these guys because for this one night, all eyes are on the Truck Series."
Other Q&A's in this series:
- Mike Joy