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via Imago

via Imago

What image comes to mind when you think of Kenny Wallace? A vibrant, enthusiastic, and energetic person with a robust sense of humor. What if you were told that, at some point in his career, he was also subject to depression? You wouldn’t believe it, right? Mental health problems are common these days. According to various surveys, it is going to be a deep-rooted issue in the upcoming future. It is present in various fields, from corporate to the world of sports.

In today’s world, it’s increasingly rare to encounter someone who is not subjected to mental health challenges. Kenny Wallace sits down with young Natalie Decker to discuss those tough times of his career. What made him depressed?

Repeated Daytona 500 failures made Kenny Wallace overwhelmed

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In a recent episode of ‘Kenny Conversation’, Wallace had NASCAR Xfinity driver Natalie Decker with him. In the episode, she discussed the challenges she faced during the recent Daytona 500 and how not qualifying left her with a sense of disappointment. Wallace comforted her by saying that he completely understood her and that he was in the same position multiple times.

Wallace said, “I want to let you know that, I’m with you, I understand you. Listen, I didn’t have the best of career. I spent a long time at Daytona missing a lot of races, under the same circumstances. My anxiety, my heart was pounding, I was depressed. I did everything it took psychologically, to keep my stuff together.” He added, “So, I want to let you know, that I’m with you. I’m walking right with you right now. I do the maximum, actually, I got way more experience at missing races at Daytona than you do.”

Notably, Natalie Decker became the third female racer to ever lead a race in the Xfinity Series with her P18 finish at Daytona International Circuit after 11 long years. Even after acquiring enormous praise, she was not satisfied to be out of the top 15. Surely she deserved that spot.

Additionally, Kenny Wallace praised Natalie for making history despite his own Daytona hardships.

Wallace’s first Daytona hardship from 1989

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Kenny Wallace has nine overall wins in his illustrious racing career, but that surprisingly does not include the Daytona 500. He had run into the same situations, but there was no improvement in the results. That, for sure, frustrated him.

In one of the Kicking the Tires reports, he described his first year in NASCAR and Daytona. He said, “I go down to Daytona for the first time in ‘89 and David Ifft is my crew chief, We go to Daytona and set quick time with being on the pole. I’m running well and break a cylinder but still ended up 10th. That whole deal is crazy because Rusty was going to win the race, but he ran Dale Jarrett up the track into the wall.”

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Furthermore, Kenny Wallace clinched his inaugural Xfinity Series victory at the 1991 Spring 200 race held in Volusia County. His ultimate Xfinity Series win occurred during the 2001 Sam’s Club 200 in Rockingham. Other than that, he had an unforgettable stint at Volusia last month to look out for. It won him a Gator for the first time, more than a decade after his retirement. Despite the challenges and ups and downs, Kenny Wallace’s legacy is defined by these remarkable victories.