He drove from the late 1960s until 2000, and ever since he stepped out of the stock car, he has been in the announcer’s booth working for Fox Sports as an analyst and commentator, but it appears that it is now the time for Darrell Waltrip, the man from Owensboro, Kentucky with the ever-positive attitude and good old boy charm, to hang up his hat. In an announcement that came yesterday, Waltrip has announced that his final race will be the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 23rd, 2019. In a statement, Waltrip said, “I have been blessed to work with the best team in the sport for the past 19 years, but I’m 72 and have been racing in some form for more than 50 years. I’m still healthy, happy and now a granddad, so it’s time to spend more time at home with my family, although I will greatly miss my Fox family.”
Waltrip has a solid career run-down over those fifty years. He hit the big leagues in 1972 at the Winston 500 at Talladega, took the championship three times (1981, 1982 and 1985) and ran races in the Xfinity series (formerly Grand National series) and the Truck series. He ran his own team as an owner/driver for a few years in the 1990s, and went through one of the nastier crashes in NASCAR history at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona in 1991. But it might have been Waltrip’s first race as an announcer that truly defined Waltrip’s career…nevermind that it was his first announcing gig, but he got to see his brother Michael win the Daytona 500 in 2001, and had to deal with the death of Dale Earnhardt in the exact same race. That is a hell of a rollercoaster for a first time on the mic, on the screen. That would be enough for most people to walk away at that point, but D.W. has stuck out nearly two decades of announcement with enthusiasm that you can’t fake, a passion that can only come through a love of the sport and everybody who you know within the ranks.
It is going to be a lot less colorful in the announcer’s booth once D.W. leaves the building.