Darrell Waltrip Motorsports is a NASCAR team that is owned and operated by three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip. It was formed in 1991 when Waltrip resigned from Hendrick Motorsports to start his own team. During the 1970's, Waltrip, like many drivers of the time, formed their own teams for racing, in lower levels, originally DarWal, Inc, was 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. In 1991, the racing team moved up to the Cup level, with Hendrick support, but he divested himself of Busch operations at the end of the 1993 season.
Waltrip has also run part-time with his team, with his final NASCAR race coming at Martinsville Speedway, where he finished 12th.
Winston Cup Edit
DWM debuted at the 1991 Daytona 500 as car #17 with sponsorship from Western Auto. Waltrip led at one point during the event, but finished 24th following an accident late in the race. Waltrip won five races over the next two years, with his final top-10 points finish coming in 1994. After that, the pressure of being an owner/driver started to crash down on Waltrip, and his performance declined. After Western Auto was renamed to Parts America, they planned on leaving the team, but stayed on for another year before leaving after 1997. That same year, failed to qualify for his first race since 1975 at the fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition, DWM briefly expanded to two cars, when Rich Bickle finished 34th at that year's Brickyard 400 the #26 Kentucky Fried Chicken Chevy also fielded by DWM, as well as Waltrip running special paint schemes to commerate his 25th year in the sport.
After almost losing his team due to a lack of sponsorship, Waltrip signed Speedblock/Builder's Square to sponsor his car in 1998, but they did not live up to most of their obligations as a sponsor, and Waltrip cancelled the contract. Waltrip's last race as owner/driver came at the spring Darlington race that year, driving the Tim Flock Special, a special paint scheme to honor the NASCAR legend who had died earlier that month. After that, Waltrip sold the team to Tim Beverly. The team was so disorganized Beverly temporarily suspended operations to get everything situated. The team returned later in the year as the #35 Tabasco sauce Pontiac with Waltrip driving after the team merged with a defunct team. This part of the season was a disaster, and Waltrip left at the end of the year. This car is now the #14 Waste Management Chevy driven by Sterling Marlin.
Craftsman Trucks Edit
In 1996, Waltrip began his own team in the Craftsman Truck Series team, hiring Bill Sedgwick to drive his #17 Sears/Diehard Chevy. Sedgwick collected eight top tens and finished 14th in points. In 1997, Rich Bickle drove the truck, and performed admirably, winning three races and finishing second in points. After the season, Bickle resigned as he had hoped to run with Waltrip in the Cup series in 1998. Waltrip was about to run Phil Parsons in the truck, but after Sears pulled out, he shut the team down.
In 2004 Waltrip teamed with Toyota to field a new team. The truck was the #17 Toyota Tundra/NTN Bearings Toyota driven by David Reutimann, who won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year award. The team expanded to a second team in 2005, purchasing the #12 truck piloted by Robert Huffman from Innovative Motorsports. Huffman was replaced during the season by Mike Wallace. Joey Miller attempted to pilot the truck full-time in 2006, but the team closed due to a lack of sponsorship. Reutimann is currently third in points.