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NASCAR’s Kenny Wallace: Striving Towards Excessive Happiness (ep. 218)

Kenny Wallace

John O’Leary welcomes NASCAR legend Kenny Wallace to the Live Inspired Podcast to share how he strives every day to be his iconic, happy, fun-loving self.

In his three-decade-long NASCAR career, Kenny Wallace has competed in over 900 races, earned nine wins, and was named Most Popular Driver three times. Yet, he hasn’t let this hard-earned success change who he is.

Today, Kenny shares the snapshots that changed his life forever, including the death of his brother Mike Wallace’s young son + helping Dale Earnhardt, Sr. win the last race of his life.

You’re going to love this hearing how his humble roots shaped him, the passion he has for racing, his recent self-reflection and how he strives every day to be his iconic, happy, fun-loving self.

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  • Family affair: Growing up, racing was something that brought Kenny’s family together.
  • Kenny has been married to his high school sweetheart Kim for over 30 years.
  • “Kim is all Kenny all the time. It would crush me to let her down.”
  • Trials + tribulations: Kenny opens up about the death of his brother Mike Wallace’s son and how it’s helped him appreciate moments with his children and grandchildren
  • Today, Mike is paying it forward including supporting former NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and his brother Rusty Wallace gave Kenny his first-ever NASCAR start at Martinsville Speedway in 1988.
  • Career highlight: “It’s not the wins, the Most Popular Driver awards, not some of my favorite trophies. It has to be helping Dale Earnhardt, Sr. win the last race of his life, and I finished second, at 2000 Winston 500 at Talladega Speedway.
  • Herman the German: Kenny’s nickname came from his father Russ winning races at St. Louis-area dirt tracks.
  • Out of sight, out of mind: Recently Kenny brought out old NASCAR trophies in a moment of self-reflection + forgiveness, and shared with his fans. Watch that video here.
  • “Being happy is abnormal. People should work at being happy – not mask it.”

Did hearing from a professional sports athlete inspired you? You’ll love our Sports + Athletes playlist! From Olympic medalist Scott Hamilton to undefeated boxing champion Laila Ali, this playlist will inspire you to step off the sideline + get back into the game of life. Listen to our Sports + Athlete playlist here.

Pre-order your copy of IN AWE today to receive access to fun, interactive bonus features emailed to you in the lead-up to the book’s release! Visit ReadInAwe.com. 


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Walk This Way by Aerosmith.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? It’s not that I talk, it’s that I break the silence.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? This tiny picture of my dad as a kid.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? My dad. I’d ask him things that I never had enough nerve to ask him like, “why was I never good enough for you?” I’d think his answer would be, “I didn’t mean it that way. I just wanted to know so I could tell my friends.”

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Rusty Wallace told me, “Hope for the best; prepare for the worst.”

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Calm down!

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? Excessive happiness.


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