MICHAEL WALTRIP Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Preview
CORNELIUS, N.C. – Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip has enjoyed many special races in his career, but few will be as meaningful to the Owensboro, Ky. native as the July 9 inaugural NASCAR Sprint race at Kentucky Speedway.
[media-credit name=”MWR” align=”alignright” width=”160″][/media-credit]With the support of long-time sponsor Aaron’s Inc., Michael will celebrate the election of his brother Darrell to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. He’ll race an orange and white paint scheme similar to the Terminal Transport car Darrell drove to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Nashville Speedway in 1975. Michael’s Kentucky paint scheme also includes a photo (attached) of the Nashville victory lane celebration on each of the car’s rear quarter panels and a picture of “DW” on the hood also taken at Nashville.
WALTRIP ON KENTUCKY PAINT SCHEME: “What a great photo! And, I was there! Seeing it still makes me smile. This was when all the winning started and led Darrell to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. What a happy group we were. So many people who helped him are in it, including my grandparents. I had never seen a man so happy. I have always idolized my brother and because of him racing is all I ever wanted to do. It is truly special for our family that I will be able to honor him by driving this paint scheme at the first Sprint Cup race in our home state of Kentucky.”
MICHAEL ON DW: “I know Darrell, and I know his story. I know how he started. He was about 12 years old driving by a go kart race in a parking lot in Owensboro, Kentucky. He was just mesmerized. It was all he could think about. He somehow talked my dad into buying a go-kart. He said he would mow yards to pay for the go-kart. My dad bought that story and then bought Darrell the go-kart. I don’t think many yards got mowed, but that was the start to the road that led Darrell to where he is today, the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“I guess this means more to me than maybe it does a lot of people, because I know the road that he traveled to get to the Hall of Fame. I’m so happy for him. We all have role models especially as kids, and sometimes those role models let us down. Darrell has always been my role model and my hero ever since I was a little boy, and he’s never let me down. To me, he has been in the Hall of Fame for a long time. I told him that being a future Hall of Famer makes him sound younger, now it’s official he is a Hall of Famer. At least he is still young at heart.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
· Waltrip’s book “In the Blink of an Eye” spent 11 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list soaring as high as fourth. Sony Pictures plans to bring the story to the big screen in the near future.
· Sunday’s race marks Waltrip’s 766th career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It marks his 1,054th combined start in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. He and Mark Martin are the only drivers to win in those series in four different decades.
· The Kentucky paint scheme features photos taken during the May 10, 1975 victory lane celebration at Nashville Speedway. It includes 28-year-old Darrell Waltrip and wife Stevie atop the car next to two-time champion crew chief “Suitcase” Jake Elder. Wearing the Goodyear hat is legendary racer Robert Gee (grandfather to Dale Earnhardt Jr.) Next to the car are the Waltrip’s grandparents Lee and Odie Phillips. At the bottom left is 12-year-old Michael Waltrip.