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Fox Sports’ Darrell Waltrip to Retire From The Booth After Sonoma

NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip announced he will retire at the end of Fox Sports’ coverage of the 2019 season. Since hanging up his helmet after a Hall of Fame driving career in 2000, Waltrip became a fixture for Fox Sports’ coverage of NASCAR for nearly two decades.

Waltrip will call his last race from the broadcast booth at Sonoma Raceway in June, which marks the last race of Fox Sports’ live race coverage before the reigns are turned over to NBC Sports.

Since Fox Sports picked up NASCAR in 2001, Waltrip has called every single Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series the television network has broadcast, totaling more than 330 events. Prior to 2001, the now 72-year-old made guest appearances for TNN, TBS and ESPN’s coverage of undercard races while still a driver.

Known for his enthusiasm and an upbeat personality, Waltrip quickly gained fame for his quick wit, straightforward delivery and famous calls, including the finishes of fellow Fox Sports personality Ricky Craven’s victory in the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 and Trevor Bayne’s improbable 2011 Daytona 500 crown.

“This is 60 years of my life I’ve devoted to this sport one way or the other and ever since I was 12 years old I’ve been holding on to something,” Waltrip said. “I held onto a dream that someday I might be really successful at racing and that dream came true.

“When I went into the TV booth, I was holding onto that microphone thinking that maybe someday I could be considered one of the best broadcasters there’s ever been. So I’ve always been holding onto something. At some point in your life you have to say enough’s enough.”

Waltrip relied heavy on his experiences throughout his lengthy driving career. A three time MENCS champion, the Franklin, TN native tallied 84 wins which ranks tied for fourth on NASCAR’s all time win list. Waltrip also earned 60 poles and the 1989 Daytona 500 crown. He was elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012.

For much as his announcing career, Waltrip worked alongside veteran motorsports announcer Mike Joy and former crew chief Larry McReynolds. When McReynolds was replaced by Jeff Gordon at the beginning of the 2017 season, Waltrip self-admittedly proclaimed he’s struggled to adjust to the different style of commentating Gordon brought.

“Jeff Gordon coming along beside of me has just made me aware of what I know—that I’m old school,” Waltrip said. “I grew up in this sport in one era and Jeff grew up in a totally different era. When he talks to the drivers, they talk a different language than I ever talked. When he relates to the drivers, he relates to them in a different way than I do. And so it just became obvious to me that it’s a young man’s sport. I’m not a young man anymore.”

Despite some instances of recent criticism from fans and media, Waltrip has been a relatable and personable face in the booth throughout his broadcasting tenure. With his simple lexicon and a sliver of southern charm, the three-time Cup champion is easily identifiable.

Whether fans like it or not, Waltrip’s most identifiable characteristic, his personal catch phrase will soon conclude. In just over two months, “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, let’s go racing boys” will be heard one last time over TV sets across the nation.

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Bill B

Great news. It’s a shame that he will always be associated with his annoying catch phrase. Some times I wondered if FOX had it written in his contract that he had to say it. How could he not know that most fans loathed it.
Can we double down on the other Waltrip?

Now we can start speculating on what the booth will look like next year.

Marcia

Great article!

Fed Up

Let the gushing begin. Maybe that Fox will get rid of the stale production crew also.

Bill W

I hope he take Mikey with him and the in-car camera. Two in the booth is all they need.

kb

Long, long, long overdue.

rg72

Maybe the best analogies can be drawn to Dick Vitale and John Madden. They brought a different perspective in their early broadcast days but as time drew on, they became caricatures of themselves and increasingly removed from their given sports.

kb

Good analogy!

DoninAjax

I hate to think what he will come up with to stay in the spotlight.

kb

….Yes there is that. A very distinct possibility. His ego controls him, it seems.

Al Tirney

DWWas and is all about himself. Cale called him Jaws and the description fit perfectly. I don’t believe for one minute that the decision to retire was his. The spotlight is his life. Keep in mind everybody gets complimentary when someone dies or retires. Fans have been complaining about him for years. He’s the reason I watch the races with the mute on. He’s a microphone hog. One only has to watch the pre-race and look at how anxious he is for Joy or Gordon to stop talking so he can take the floor. Like many have said it would be a good idea for him to take that buffoon of a brother with him. Everyone in NASCAR is trying to cut costs. Including Fox. DW was a good race car driver and big on self promotion. Junior Johnson put him in winning race cars and he paid Junior back when he said “he was going from a nag to a race horse” when he signed with Hendrick. That demonstrated real class.

Andy

please take Michael with you, Darrell….that clown has got to go…

djrichiep

And the congregation said Hallelujah and Amen! Too bad it isn’t effective immediately.

Joe

I’ve been waiting WAAAYY too long for this clown to call it quits. Remember that he wouldn’t quit driving when his time was up ……. NASCAR had to put a rule into effect that would limit past champion’s provisional starting spots because he didn’t know when to quit. No way is he retiring voluntarily. He might have been a good driver but that doesn’t make up for being an egomaniac. No wonder he has a bromance with that other egomaniac KB.
Good riddance! Maybe I’ll turn the volume back on.

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