Wallace Stacks Up Cup Deal
April 16, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
And with STACKER 2 and Innovative Motorsports, he just may have that in hand.
Wallace has hinted that STACKER 2, his primary Busch Series sponsor, and Innovative Motorsports, his Busch Series team, will come together next year for a full-time Winston Cup Series deal. In the meantime, the three entities will combine to run four Winston Cup races the remainder of this season.
“I would say that, yeah, there’s a pretty good chance that this will be a full-time Winston Cup deal next year,” said Wallace, who has made five Winston Cup starts in two different cars so far in 2002 and who is fifth in the Busch Series points standings with four top-10s in seven events this year.
“It’s been a great relationship so far with STACKER 2. They’re selling products and it keeps us going. We’re going to run the first four races this year, and like I said, this is sort of a preview for next year. We’ve got an exciting paint job for the Pepsi 400 (at Daytona in July), and we’re running a DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) car there, so hopefully that will make us successful right out of the box.
“It’s been a really good situation with all of us. We’ve had a good time with the (STACKER 2) commercials, and they’ve been really successful with their marketing campaign. They see a return on their dollar, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re running up front in the Busch car and staying competitive, and we’re very happy about that.”
In addition to the July 6 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Wallace will race the No. 98 STACKER 2 Chevy at Chicagoland Speedway on July 14, in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis on Aug. 4, and in the road course race at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 11.
STACKER 2, which also has a highly visible national television ad campaign (starring Wallace himself) during NASCAR races and has a strong relationship with the extremely popular World Wrestling Federation, joined up with Innovative Motorsports and team owner George deBidart prior to the start of the 2002 season.
“We have been very well received by the NASCAR fans,” said Karen Finnocchio, vice president of marketing for STACKER 2, The World’s Strongest Fat Burner. “Kenny Wallace and his crew have done an outstanding job for us in the Busch Series, so it makes sense for us to take the next step and enter Winston Cup.”
“This announcement is a culmination of endless hours of hard work and dedication to the sport,” deBidart said. “We have a great core group of people in our organization, and with Kenny and STACKER 2, we are certainly poised for a very promising future. We will rely on some resources from DEI to help get us started.”
After leaving Andy Petree Racing following the 2000 season, Wallace’s Winston Cup career floundered for a while with the now-defunct Eel River Racing team. When Steve Park was injured in a Busch Series accident last September at Darlington, officials at DEI asked Wallace to drive the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevy, and Wallace not only obliged, but also ran well in the car.
He drove four races in the No. 1 Chevy this season until Park returned at Darlington. In the meantime, he’s been running solidly in his Busch Series car all season.
This past weekend, he was asked to drive the No. 29 Chevy at Richard Childress Racing for one race for the suspended Kevin Harvick. This weekend, he’ll drive a Chevy for Michael Waltrip Racing in the Aaron’s 499 Winston Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway.
So, to say that Kenny Wallace is a hot commodity would be an understatement.
“It’s been a really fun year for me,” Wallace said. “I can’t tell you how much of a relief I’ve felt this year, and I’m the happiest I’ve been in quite some time. I’m thrilled that people think a lot of my talent – namely DEI and Richard Childress – to have me drive their cars, and that means a lot to me. In reality, I know I’ll be back full-time in Winston Cup very soon.
“Every time I seem to get a full-time Winston Cup ride, though, I keep messing up. Either I do something, or it’s a bad deal, or we get tired of each other, and I don’t want that to happen next time. I like Andy Petree to death, and maybe I shouldn’t have left there, but then things have been tough on him these days. I’m fine where I’m at now and I like where I’m going.”
Which is, apparently, back to Winston Cup full-time.