|Born||February 5, 1947|
|Award(s)||3x NASCAR Winston Cup champion|
2x NASCAR's Most popular driver
NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers
|Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series statistics|
|Best pts finish||1st (1981, 1982, 1985)|
|First race||1972 Winston 500|
|Last race||2000 NAPA 500|
|First win||1975 Music City USA 420|
|Last win||1992 Mountain Dew Southern 500|
|NASCAR Xfinity Series statistics|
|Best pts finish||22nd (1986)|
|First race||1982 Mellow Yellow 300|
|Last race||2006 Goody's 250|
|First win||1982 Miller Time 300|
|Last win||1989 Goody's 300|
Darrell Waltrip (born February 5, 1947) is a retired NASCAR driver and current commentator for Fox Sports. He won three Winston Cup titles (1981, 1982, 1985), the 1989 Daytona 500, 1992 Southern 500, and is the undisputed Memorial Day major race record holder, having won an unprecedented five Coca-Cola 600 titles. His 84 Winston Cup race wins are the most by any driver in NASCAR's modern (post-1971) schedule format. His family, including his wife, the former Stephanie Rader, and daughters Jessica Leigh and Sarah Kaitlin, reside in Franklin, Tennessee.
An early racer in Kentucky, Waltrip's success led to him moving to Nashville, Tennessee, to race at the Nashville Speedway USA (now Music City Motorplex) at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, where he would win two track championships. There, he would aggressively promote the week's race when he appeared on a local television program promoting the speedway's races, and was not afraid to frequent the show when other competitors refused. Some of the notorious trash-talking on air included making fun of drivers such as Coo Coo Marlin (whose son Sterling, later raced at the circuit and is a two-time Daytona 500 winner), James "Flookie" Buford, whose nickname he would mock on air (James and son Joe Buford were both track champions — Joe Buford would beat Waltrip's record of 55 wins at the MCM), and was known for a swagger similar to the swagger of another famous Kentuckian at the time, Muhammad Ali.
While some fans didn't like it, it pleased track management that he was helping sell tickets, leading to extra paychecks from track operators for his promotional skills. He also embraced WSM radio host Ralph Emery during his early years, forming a bond which would be influential during his career, as Waltrip would later substitute for Emery in the 1980's on Emery's television show.
Waltrip started in the Cup level in 1972 with an old Mercury Cyclone which was originally the 1967 Ford driven by Mario Andretti to victory in the 1967 Daytona 500. That car was later rebuilt into a Mercury Cyclone for Rolf Stommelen at Talladega before Waltrip purchased the car and made it the #95 Terminal Transport Mercury. It was his primary car for his first few seasons.
As he moved into the Cup level in the 1970's, his aggressive driving and outspoken style earned him the nickname "Jaws", a reference to the 1975 film about a killer shark. The nickname was given to Waltrip by rival Cale Yarborough in an interview after Waltrip crashed Yarborough out of a race. Waltrip himself preferred the nicknames "D.W." or "D-Dubya" but he did acknowledge Yarborough by displaying an inflatable toy shark in his pit at the next race. The nickname stuck after Waltrip made a now famous comment about one time rival Dale Earnhardt, in which he stated that he could say whatever he wanted about Dale and his team in the news because they "wouldn't be able to read it anyway".
At the heights of his NASCAR success in the early 1980s fans often booed Waltrip, but his wit and endearing silliness gradually won over the hearts of most of his critics. Once, as a crowd booed him in Victory Lane, Waltrip silenced the hostile audience by challenging them to "Boo if you love D.W." He also was able to please his sponsor, Mountain Dew, by noticing, "They were saying Dew!", making his sponsor stand up and be noticed.
Late 80's Edit
Waltrip's success with car owner Junior Johnson led to success with three national championships, but concerns grew inside his friends. Cortez Cooper, his pastor, became concerned about his involvement with Budweiser as a sponsor, and after parents complained of how he was helping create a bond of alcohol, fast cars, and success, he seriously considered changing teams, moving after the 1986 season to Hendrick Motorsports, with Procter & Gamble detergent Tide as his sponsor.
In the 1989 Daytona 500, Waltrip won the race for the first time in his career on a fuel mileage gamble. His post-race interview with CBS pit reporter Mike Joy, became famous, with Waltrip shouting "I won the Daytona 500! I won the Daytona 500!" accompanied by a "Ickey Shuffle" dance in Victory Lane.
After helping develop the new Chevrolet Lumina in 1989 to its first victory by winning his fifth Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway that May, establishing a record, and preparing himself for a win in the one remaining major which had eluded him since his first race, the Heinz Southern 500 in Darlington, SC, and a one million dollar bonus for winning three of the sport's four majors -- the Daytona 500, the Aaron's 499, Coca-Cola 600, and the Mountain Dew Southern 500 in a single season. The pressure of both the bonus and Career Grand Slam (at Talladega, he had won the 1977 and 1982 Winston 500, which were his first and fourth career wins in majors) affected Waltrip badly, and he hit the wall early in the race and was never a contender.
Waltrip was not able to carry his success of the previous year into 1990. Waltrip had failed to visit victory lane all season long. While practicing for his 500th career start at the Pepsi 400, Waltrip spun out in another car's oil, and was T-Boned by Dave Marcis. Waltrip suffered two broken arms, a broken leg, and a concussion. He missed the Pepsi 400, but came back to run one lap at Pocono, before giving way to Jimmy Horton as a relief driver. Despite missing the next five races due to the injury, Waltrip finished 20th in points and the team was very successful, with substitute driver Greg Sacks finishing second at Michigan in August, and the team only scoring one DNF for the season, when Sarel van der Merwe crashed late in the race at Watkins Glen. During the 1989 and 1990 seasons, Waltrip was voted Most Popular Driver by the fans.
Owner/Driver Years Edit
At the end of the season, Waltrip and crew chief Jeff Hammond started their own Cup team, DarWal Inc.. During the 1970's, Waltrip had owned his own team until being picked by Bud Moore Engineering. His team continued to serve as his personal licencing agent and operator for many short-track cars he would race at many circuits on non-Cup weekends or special events, and eventually went to Busch Series racing. His first season as an owner/driver was a relatively successful, as Waltrip won twice and finished eighth in points in the #17 Western Auto Chevy. In 1992, Waltrip collected three more wins, and finished 9th in points. That would be the last time he would visit victory lane in a Cup race.
After being raided by other teams, in 1993, Waltrip chose to attempt new challenges, owing up to not wanting to be in a comfort zone, signing former Richard Childress Racing engine builder Lou LaRosa to build engines, and signing former Cup champion Barry Dodson as crew chief, which he later confessed was the worse mistakes he had made as an owner. He posted four top ten finishes, but didn't finish higher than third. 1994 saw him make his final appearance in the top ten in championship points, where he finished 9th, with a then-unprecedented streak over two seasons of 40 races without a DNF, all with Waltrip's own engines, and only one engine failure in the season, after the car crossed the finish line.
In 1995, Waltrip started off strong and appeared to have regained his old form, when he crashed at The Winston, and was forced to let relief drivers take over for several weeks. He never recovered, and his second half of the season was only highlighted a pole at the NAPA 500.
Waltrip continued to struggle in 1996, posting only two top-ten finishes. Western Auto was about leave the team, but stayed on as part of Waltrip's 25th anniversary celebration. While the year was one of Waltrip's most profitable, his results continued to fall off. At the UAW-GM Quality 500, Waltrip failed to qualify for the first time in over 20 years as Terry Labonte also failed to make the race, and because Labonte was a more recent Cup champion, was able to take the provisional, while Waltrip, who was 20th in owner points, was too low in the owner points position to make the race (only the top four in owner points of cars not in the field, excluding the most recent former champion not in the field, were added after qualifying in 1997 rules). After the season, Waltrip and his team were struggling to find sponsors, but was able to put together a last-minute deal with the Ohio-based company Speedblock for 1998. Unfortunately, Speedblock only paid portions of what was promised, and eventually, the deal was cancelled. Waltrip at this point was nearly bankrupt, and had to sell the team to Tim Beverly.
Beverly chose not to race the team immediately, choosing to rebuild the team (now part of MB2 after a second sale). During this time, Waltrip signed with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to drive the #1 Pennzoil Chevy, filling in for injured rookie Steve Park. During his tenure with DEI, Waltrip posted a fifth place finish at the California 500, and led in the final stages of the Pocono 500, before giving way to Jeremy Mayfield and finishing in the sixth spot.
Final Years Edit
At the Brickyard 400, Beverly did return the team as the #35 Pontiac Grand Prix with Tabasco sauce sponsorship. Unfortunately, Waltrip grew frustrated because of the team's lack of success, and resigned at the end of the season. After a brief flirtation with retirement, Waltrip signed to drive the #66 Big K Ford Taurus for Haas-Carter Motorsports. Unfortunately, Waltrip did not mesh well with the new team, and he failed to qualify seven times during that season with a new qualifying rule for the Past Champion's Provisional. During his retirement year of 2000, Waltrip's best run came at the Brickyard 400, where he qualified on the outside pole and finished eleventh. He finished 36th in points that season.
Craftsman Truck Series Edit
Template:Mainarticle In 1995, Waltrip built a Craftsman Truck Series team, and found success by 1997, when Rich Bickle finished second in overall season standings and winning three races, and made Waltrip one of a few car owners to have won races in NASCAR's three national series. When Sears ceased sponsorship of both teams in 1997, he suspended the Truck team, not returning until 2004 as part of Toyota's NASCAR development.
Mike Joy had mentioned to fans that Fox wanted their broadcasters to only field Toyotas to prevent a conflict with interest over vehicle makes they would call in Cup racing.
Move to broadcast booth Edit
After his 2000 retirement, he signed with Fox to be one of two analysts on the network's NASCAR telecasts.
Waltrip's broadcast style led to controversy early in his broadcasting career. A week after NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona in 2001, Waltrip interviewed NASCAR President Mike Helton for a pre-race segment during the broadcast at North Carolina Speedway (Rockingham). Waltrip believed that four deaths in the previous ten months, all caused by basular skull fractures incurred in accidents, was too many, and he was not shy about asking Helton for an explanation. Helton's responses irritated Waltrip, who was referred by one magazine as "acting a lot more like the next Mike Wallace (of 60 Minutes) than the next John Madden."
He then pushed for mandatory head-and-neck restraints, and two weeks later, demonstrated the device during the broadcast in Atlanta Motor Speedway, explaining the device. Seven months later, NASCAR mandated the devices after a crash during an ARCA Re/Max Series race held after qualifying for the UAW-GM Quality 500 killed driver Blaise Alexander. 
As the cars take the green flag to start each race, Waltrip shouts "Boogity Boogity Boogity!", a meaningless phrase that has become his trademark in recent years. (The phrase appears in the 1960 doo wop parody "Who Put The Bomp" by Barry Mann.) The story Waltrip has told about this is that, as a driver, he got tired of hearing his spotter or crew chief say "green, green, green" at the start of every race and wanted to hear something more original.
His younger brother Michael Waltrip is currently a NASCAR driver, and winner of the Daytona 500 in 2001 (the race in which Dale Earnhardt was killed in a final-lap wreck) and 2003. He and Earnhardt were close friends, and the finish of the 2001 race was an obviously emotional one for him, as he was torn between joy over seeing his brother take the flag and concern over Earnhardt's condition.
Waltrip revived his truck team in 2004 as a Toyota Craftsman Truck Series team, with driver David Reutimann, scoring Rookie of the Year honors in the series in 2004, with sponsorship from Japanese industrial giant NTN. The team expanded to two trucks in 2005. In August 2005, the revived Darrell Waltrip Motorsports won its first race, ironically in the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway with Reutimann driving. The team's current drivers are David Reutimann and rookie Joey Miller, who was named to the team following an impressive run in ARCA Re/Max Series races in 2005.
- He was voted one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
- He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005.
- Waltrip was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2003.
Waltrip has also been successful in the publishing field.
In 1994, he was featured as the cover story in Guideposts, which was also featured during his final race in 2000.
The biography, DW: A Lifetime Going Around in Circles was a New York Times best-seller when released around the 2004 Daytona 500.
In May 2004, Waltrip became the second sports figure to be featured in former NBA player and basketball coach Jay Carty's One-on-One series of devotional books. Darrell Waltrip One-on-One: The Faith that Took Him to the Finish Line is a sixty-day devotional book featuring Waltrip's stories and how they can relate to faith, and Carty's devotionals. (The series also features John Wooden and Mike Singletary.)
Other Entertainment Appearances Edit
Waltrip's entertainment appearances were influenced by his early 1970's work with Ralph Emery in Nashville radio, and that led to his work as a fill-in for Emery.
In the 1980's and 1990's, he would substitute for Emery on The Nashville Network's "Nashville Now" and later hosted himself the network's two successor variety shows, "Music City Tonight," and "Prime Time Country".
Waltrip worked on "Days of Thunder," as Hendrick Motorsports was a major provider of cars and drivers (he helped hire Bobby Hamilton for the project), and one of his injury substitutes was lead stunt driver Greg Sacks, and the Fox broadcast booth worked on "Talladega Nights : The Legend of Ricky Bobby" and "Cars".
Waltrip has twice been a presenter at the GMA Music Awards, partnering with Kathy Troccoli both times. In 1999, the ultimate case of irony came when they presented the "Song of the Year" award to David Mullins (accepting for his late brother Rich) and Mitch McVicker for "My Deliverer". Rich Mullins (who died in the crash) and Mitch McVicker had been thrown from their truck for not wearing seat belts.
In 2006, Waltrip and Nicole C. Mullen hosted a DirecTV special, "Songs of Faith".
List Of Darrell Waltrip Dialogue Edit
- "Boogity, Boogity ,Boogity! Let's go racin' boys!" at the start of races.
- "Coopitition" a play on of cooperation and competition. In Waltrip's words, "Working together for benefit of somebody".
- "Adios" A driver is pulling away from the pack.
- "He pulled a Linda Ronstadt," when a driver easily passes another. The reference is to her version of the song "Blue Bayou" (a pun for "blew by you").
- "Biffle's ol' car is a pig in a blanket, and she's a pretty thing ain't she"? Was said in 2003 when Greg Biffle's car was taped up and beat up.
- "He's sittin' on a hot tin stove and sweating ice water", at the tense moments at the end of a race.
- "Mr. Feel-Goods". Waltrip's words for when the leaders four fresh tires which "feel good" to a driver.
- "As my daddy said, the cake's all dough", that means the race is almost over.
- "Some drivers are amphibious." meaning to say that some drivers were ambidextrous. Darrell said this during the 2002 Sonoma road course race. Chris Myers, FOX Sports commentator called him out and corrected him on the air and it embarrassed Waltrip.
- "Ruh-Roh", is said every now and then when Darrell talks about mechanical problems with a car in the race or when there's no place to go during a big wreck on the track. The phrase is a reference to the Jetsons dog Astro and Scooby Doo, as those were the characters who coined the phrase.
- "Bench-racing", is said when it is a rain delay or red flag, according to Waltrip drivers talking about races that they could have won during a delay or what retired drivers do.
- "Slideways", Waltrip's play on words for sideways or when a driver loses control of his car.
- "Dee-di-do", Waltrip's words for when a car get breaks loose compared to dancing.
- "Datgum it!" Waltrip's words of disgust or anguish, term possibly coined by Larry The Cable Guy.
- "Stay-Together-Please", Waltrip's play on words of STP Oil Treatment during the Richard Petty era.
- "Coopetition", referring to how drivers have to both cooperate and compete with each other at restrictor plate tracks.
- Career Stats - NASCAR.com
- Darrell Waltrip Honda•Volvo
- The Callahan Report:Waltrip to sell team after Darlington
|Darrell Waltrip | Michael Waltrip|