Why @SPONSORKENNY? The Story Behind The Movement


Editor’s Note: Readers, I am proud to introduce you to Crystal Jenkins. She is a great person, great writer and a big supporter of the sport. You may know her as the Sponsor Kenny movement gal!

Chances are if you are a NASCAR fan, you know who Kenny Wallace is. The always up-beat, happy-go-lucky, and even “jolly” man you see on your TV screen every week on Speed TV’s Race Day is a well-known, and well loved, race car driver. Oh yes, make no mistake about that; Kenny is a wheelman. He may enjoy, and be good at, broadcast television, but racing is his passion, dream and purpose. It’s that one “career” he has always wanted and always loved. Even through all his ups and downs in this roller coaster sport, Kenny’s passion and love for NASCAR has never faded; not even a little. If anything, it has grown. He has never once, through all the adversity he has faced, given up or just walked away. Instead he has chosen to work with the hand he has been given, happily, with a positive mind set and a “never give up” attitude.  Check off item number one on my list of reasons for starting @SponsorKenny.

One thing many people may not know about Kenny is the fact that there are many sides to him. The first, and most important side is his family side, to which he enjoys the roll of son, brother, uncle (etc.) and most important a doting husband to his wife Kim of 28 years, and loving father to daughters Brooke, Brandy and Brittany; his finest achievements and better than any trophy. (Check off number two.)

Besides being a dedicated family man, Kenny is also a talented television personality on Race Day. His peppy personality, cheerful genuine laugh, honest and knowledgeable perspective as well as his love for the fans and sport transcend media and work their way right out of fans televisions and right into their hearts. It is nearly impossible not to like, or at least have a great respect, for Kenny Wallace. (Check off number three.)

The second most important side of Kenny (second to that of a family man) is that of a focused race car driver. When Kenny is not driving he is playful, talkative and making sure to shower all his fans, friends and family with attention and affection; but once he steps into that fire suit the focused and passionate professional takes over. He is focused and driven behind the wheel; giving every ounce of energy and effort to his team and career 100% of the time, and let me tell you it shows. Kenny placed 7th in a race with NO sponsor, and a recent 4th in a race with one. The man can race with or without the money of the big teams, which makes you stop and think about just how much more he could do with a sponsor fulltime. The subsequent equipment and ability to pay for all the necessary pieces of a top 10 team would be like adding NOS to his career.  (Check off number four.)

The last and most important item to check off my list of reasons to start @SponsorKenny is the role of inspiring hero he has played in my own life. I don’t want to sit here and give my entire life story, but I feel it’s necessary to give a quick rundown of my own personal battles to parallel Kenny’s never give up scenario in my own life. I spent 8 years of my life battling severe depression and subsequent health issues, but was able to fight my way out of that darkness and make the decision to change my life.

Before my depression began I was a straight A student, making honor roll most years and scoring off the charts on state examinations. Once the depression began my grades steadily dropped until I was unable to graduate with my class. I had to resort to going to an adult education school to make up the missing credits to graduate. Being at that school unfortunately only added to my depression and began a long several years of identity crisis. I doubted my intelligence and talent and lost all faith that life beyond working at a drug store was possible for me. To add to my depression I also went through several family illnesses, tragedies and deaths during those years.

When I was finally able to pull myself away from those negative thoughts and move on from those dark years I found myself struggling at 28 years old in a barely over minimum wage job. How was I going to fix this? I knew what my dream was, and had always been, since the age of sixteen; working and traveling with a NASCAR race team…but how was I going to get there from here? It seemed impossible. Then I saw Kenny. I had been flipping aimlessly through the TV channels when I stumbled upon a television show (unfortunately I can’t remember which one, it may have been Race Hub). They were discussing Kenny’s television show that chronicled his attempt to get into the Daytona 500, how much it meant to him and how hard he and his team had worked on getting a car and preparing to get into the race. It was just a small segment but it pulled me in. I watched the documentary, and subsequently started watching Race Day. Here was this man, who had been kicked down again and again, only to get up over and over and keep on fighting every round thrown at him for his dream. What an amazing and inspiring human being. I thought: “Why can’t I be like that? Why am I not fighting that hard?” And so it began.

The death of yet another young school mate pushed me over that final ledge that Kenny’s inspiration had helped me to reach and I took my GED…scoring off the charts in all categories except math, which I still scored above average in. My confidence was back, and I was never looking back. I applied to Penn State’s World Campus and was accepted based on my test results and application essay, and am currently going into my third semester working towards a degree to fulfill my dream, one not too different from the very man who had inspired me to begin with. NASCAR is both of our “homes”, it’s where we belong.

Kenny Wallace is a family man, a caring, giving, inspiring human being, a lover, an intelligent business man and an extremely talented race car driver. Fans love him, and in a sport where fans are more loyal to their driver’s sponsors than any other major league sport, Kenny is a sponsors dream. I have no doubt that whatever company makes the extremely savvy decision to @SponsorKenny will see a large return in profits, and quickly, simply because of this: the company that sponsors Kenny will be his “white knight” coming in to save the day, or his “white horse” that allows him to ride off into the sunset. The point is, whichever scenario you choose the truth is still the same: everyone loves a good Cinderella story. That’s why we are here; Sponsor Kenny on twitter aims to find Kenny his well-deserved fully sponsored fulltime ride in the Nationwide Series. So who wants the job? We are still accepting applications for this prime position! Don’t let this amazing opportunity slip away, apply today at www.twitter.com/SponsorKenny  or call 704-784-4648.  😉