Meeting a legend, NASCAR’s Kenny Wallace comes to Fairbanks

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Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 4:52 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Former NASCAR great Kenny Wallace is in Fairbanks to race at the Alaska Dirt Shootout at the Mitchell Raceway. He will be competing against drivers from across Alaska.

“There’s thousands of great race car drivers around the world, they can’t all be NASCAR. So I want all of you guys to know, you are great race car drivers, you are full of talent,” Wallace said quoting Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Wallace said that racing is more than just winning, “I think it is important to be labeled a racer. A racer is somebody that races all the time, everywhere and understands it. So, you know, I am here to race these guys.”

These racers are who he likes to meet.

“As big as global earth is, it’s crazy, I can come 3,000 miles from home and meet a legend named Squeaks, the man in the red uniform,” Wallace said. “He’s well known throughout this area, and he humbles me, he’s like, ‘Kenny Wallace I watch you,’ so we just sit down and we are talking for 30 minutes, you know. When you have something in common it’s easy to talk.”

Squeaks O’Connor is 77 years old and has been racing for over 50 years. Squeaks says he is glad to meet one of his heroes.

“As soon as we were talking I knew every race that he raced, and I knew that he pushed Dale Earnhardt to a win at Talladega, and we knew some of the same people and it was really nice to talk to Kenny,” Squeaks said.

He said they are both racers, “He earned everything he got, and he raced hard and he still enjoys it just like I do you know. So it’s nice to talk to a guy like that that’s been around racing all his life.”

As Wallace took to the track, Squeaks looked on.

“Kenny did pretty good, you know, he looked pretty good out there I thought,” Squeaks said.

And after the dust settled over the Mitchell Speedway with Wallace in first place, it was clear he wasn’t the only one who had won the evening.

Wallace will be racing again on Saturday for part two of the Shootout. He currently sits atop the points standings in the modified class.

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