NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Vito Pugliese · Thursday July 26, 2007
Hometown: Franklin, TN
Darrell Waltrip is known by all race fans and casual viewers alike, as the jovial anchor for Fox Sports’ NASCAR coverage. Since 2001, we’ve all become familiar with his trademark phrase "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity…..Let’s Go Racin’, Boys!!!"
He has also developed his own language, ‘splainin’ to us the difference between loose and tight, the practice of working together while trying to win for yourself (coopetition), cars named "Bertha", and he has also been known to break out into song. What many fans who have only started following the sport don’t know is just how successful Darrell Waltrip was as a driver. He is often introduced as "3-time Champion, Darrell Waltrip", but with today’s Chase format, it’s hard to appreciate just how much he has accomplished.
Darrell Waltrip won his first race in 1975 at Nashville, TN and he won again later that year at the Richmond Fairgrounds. This was back during the "big car" era. With all the aerodynamics of a sofa on tap and no power steering, the control truly was in the driver’s hands. During this time when he started racing, he would tally 27 wins. Some of those wins came as an owner AND a driver. All of them came against four of the top seven drivers in the all-time wins column:
Don’t look now, but right there on that list are 21 Winston Cup Championships and 548 wins. The only drivers with more wins than Waltrip are Petty and Pearson.
As Anchorman Ron Burgundy would say, that’s, "….kind of a…‘Big Deal’…"
In 1979 Waltrip crossed the finish line in the Daytona 500 on Richard Petty’s bumper. Later that year at Darlington, a late-race duel with The King would see Waltrip coming out on top and began to signal the changing of the guard in NASCAR.
About this same time he would develop a reputation as brash, outspoken, and some would say arrogant. Cale Yarborough gave him the nickname "Jaws", because of his knack of giving his opinion on anything and everything, to anyone who would listen. He made a comment once to a reporter prior to an autograph session at a K-Mart, that if people just had an opportunity to meet him face to face and talk, they’d think differently of him.
The next day the headline in the paper read, "Waltrip Challenges Fans To Meet Him Behind K-Mart Parking Lot", as if he were challenging them to a bare-knuckle brawl.
The early 1980’s brought radically different downsized racecars. Waltrip was now driving for Junior Johnson, and immediately took to the new cars that wore the dash plaques, "Custom Built for Darrell Waltrip by Junior Johnson & Associates". In 1981 Waltrip won 12 races in car No. 11, including four in a row towards the end of the season, a record shared with only a handful of drivers in the modern era.
Waltrip would win his first championship driving the Mountain Dew Buick Regal that year, besting another legend of the sport, and a driver with whom he did not get along particularly well, Bobby Allison. He would repeat the feat in 1982, winning another 12 races and taking the title by 72 points over his bitter rival Allison. During the 30-race long season he would finish out of the Top 10 on only five occasions.
In 1983, following a particularly hard impact with the inside wall at Daytona in his yellow No. 11 Pepsi Monte Carlo, he would go on to rack up six wins and finish second it the standings to none other than, you guessed it… Bobby Allison. His third championship would follow in 1985 while driving the Budweiser Chevrolet for Junior Johnson, despite winning only three races to Bill Elliott’s eleven.
With the addition of Neil Bonnet as his teammate, Waltrip began to grow weary of what was happening at Ingle Hollow. In 1987 he would move on to drive the Tide Ride for Rick Hendrick. The plan at Hendrick’s All-Star Racing team was one designed to create a "super-team". Hendrick was an up and coming owner, whose roster included Geoff Bodine and late Tim Richmond. A new sponsor in Tide, one of the first major non-traditional sponsors in NASCAR, along with the pairing of Waltrip and another legendary name in Waddell Wilson, and Hendrick had the makings of a winner.
Though he would only win one race in 1987, and twice in 1988, Waltrip would start the 1989 season off with an improbable win in the one race that had eluded him, the Daytona 500. A fuel mileage gamble paid off for the blinding orange Chevrolet, as Waltrip weaved the car side to side on the last lap, trying to get every last ounce of fuel to slosh around to the pick-up in the fuel cell. Never one to be short for words, Waltrip grabbed Mike Joy in victory lane who was interviewing him for CBS and demanded to know "this IS the Daytona 500 isn’t it?!!". Five more wins would follow in 1989, and Waltrip was poised to make a run at his fourth Championship in 1990.
Unfortunately the success that Waltrip had so enjoyed at Daytona the year earlier, was shattered in July of 1990, along with his leg. An accident during practice for the Pepsi 400 would send Dave Marcis plowing into Waltrip’s driver side door along the frontstretch, breaking Waltrip’s leg and his championship hopes. The six races he would miss would drop him to 20th in points, his worst placing since 1973.
In 1991, Waltrip would make another change in his career, going the Alan Kulwicki route as owner and driver. Waltrip would prove no slouch as an owner, winning for the first time in just his seventh outing at North Wilkesboro. The resulting interviews with him as he put his "owner’s cap” on (which was his Western Auto Cap, pulled down low over his eyes) quickly became mandatory for any DW interview. Later that year Waltrip would suffer one of the most violent crashes ever at Daytona, as he flipped down the backstretch a dozen times, flinging mud and sod 50 feet in the air. Waltrip would emerge beaten and bruised, but well enough to appear on Late Night With David Letterman shortly thereafter to talk about the ordeal.
In 1992 Waltrip would win three times, including back-to-back wins at Bristol and the Southern 500 at Darlington. He dedicated the Bristol win to his daughter on her birthday, and the rain-shortened Southern 500 was the last win of his storied career. His last Top 10 finish in the points would be 1994. From 1975 to 1994, a span of 20 seasons, Waltrip finished in the Top 10 in points an unbelievable 18 times. From 1977 to 1987, he finished in the Top 5 in points every year.
Whether it was Petty and Pearson or Earnhardt and Elliott, Waltrip beat them in big cars and little ones, on bias-ply tires or radials.
In 1998 Waltrip abandoned the team he started in 1991. The team would be purchased by Tim Beverly, and Waltrip was out of a ride. He would substitute for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated’s injured rookie driver Steve Park. A strong run at Michigan had him singing over the radio to the team as he would pass by the pits each lap. The next week at Pocono, some late race pit strategy had him in position to win for the first time in six years. A series of late race restarts would quell any chance at victory for Waltrip, but he was not without a memorable and emotional soundbite in his post-race interview saying, "I was in a pretty deep hole, and they were throwin’ dirt on me….but I’m crawlin’ back out. This feels good." Later that season he would return to drive for Beverly who had purchased his team in another florescent orange car, the No. 35 Tabasco Pontiac.
Following 1998, Waltrip would suspend all ties with his former team. He would leave to go drive for Travis Carter as teammate to Mr. Excitement, Jimmy Spencer. Beverly would eventually sell the team to MB2 Motorsports, which would become Ginn Racing, and has now merged with DEI. Beverly himself merged into an 8 × 10 cell, as he was convicted for fraud and money laundering in 2004.
Waltrip would drive the No. 66 Ford for Travis Carter through 2000, his best finish being an eleventh place run at his last Brickyard 400. He would miss a number of races due to being part of a new team without owner points in 1999, and for generally being slow. He was driving a second car that wasn’t part of a marquee organization, and he could never seem to get on track to build any momentum or semblance of his past successes. His final race at Atlanta had every team member lined up on pit road to salute him in his final Winston Cup event, a fitting tribute to the driver who still ranks third in all-time victories, in a racing series that is only rivaled by Formula1 in prestige.
In 2001 we watched and listened as Darrell called his younger brother Michael home to victory for the first time in the Daytona 500, just about the same time the Lord was calling home his longtime rival Dale Earnhardt. The next weekend at Rockingham, Darrell led a touching and emotional prayer at the track, inviting everyone to hold hands with the person next to them. A fierce competitor and clever with a word, Darrell Waltrip also revealed a level of compassion and eloquence matched by few.
Today Darrell is as much a part of the sport as he was at Darlington in 1979. While the driver that Cale Yarborough deemed "Jaws" is never at a loss for words in front of a camera, his previous work behind the wheel is recognized by few these days. Don’t let the myriad of jokes and clowning around fool you; Darrell Waltrip is one of the greatest competitors in the history of the sport. His accomplishments as a driver are somewhat over-shadowed by his presence in the broadcast booth, but all anyone has to do is check the stats: Darrell Waltrip is a certified legend in auto racing.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
One other thing the article misses is the fact that DW’s win percentage on short tracks (where driver ability is especially crucial and car and aero mean considerably less)is perhaps the best all-time of everyone mentioned in the article
great article on DW!
Great driver with a big mouth. Terrible TV commentator because of the big mouth.
I wish he were driving again….that way we wouldn’t have to listen to his incessant garble on television.
Did you miss something, I thought NASCAR awarded Bobby Allison his long disputed win at Bowman-Gray stadium to put him in third place ahead of Darrell Waltrip, but in any nonetheless they are tied for third in victories, Darrell does not hold third place. Well, I guess the battle is still going on between these two.
Since the 1971 Myers Brothers 250 at Bowman-Gray was a combination race and Allison was racing in a Grand American Series Mustang rather than a Grand National car, he was credited with the win in the Grand American series for that race.
Darrell Waltrip does rank third in all-time wins. In addition, Bobby Allison’s official win total also has him at third on that list.