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Podcast: Sonoma could be Darrell Waltrip’s last NASCAR race ever

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Darrell Waltrip has been a fixture at NASCAR tracks for more than 40 years, since he made his first Cup start in May 1972 at Talladega all the way through his last 19 years as an analyst for Fox Sports’ NASCAR coverage.

But that could change after Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway, which marks Waltrip’s last as a member of the Fox broadcast team as he rides off into retirement.

On the latest episode of the NASCAR on NBC podcast, the 72-year-old Waltrip discussed his broadcasting career’s conclusion and if he’ll still be seen at the track in retirement.

“I don’t know if I’ll go to another race or not,” Waltrip said. “The hardest thing to do, and most people know this that’s been in the sport, is to go to a track and not have anything to do. If you go to the track and you don’t have a team, you don’t have a car, you don’t have a job, you’re just there to show up? That’s a hard road to hold, at least it always has been for me.

“Look, I started racing when I was 12 years old. I’ve said then and I’ll say it now: Ever since I was 12 years old I got up on Sunday morning and held onto something. I held onto a steering wheel for most of my life. I held onto a microphone the last 19 years of my life. I’ve held onto a dream that someday I’d win a Cup race and someday I’d win a championship. When I got into the TV booth, it never happened, but someday it might, that I may win an Emmy for being an outstanding broadcaster.”

Wallace also discussed his preparation for race broadcasts and his reaction to whispers that he was out of touch with the garage and today’s drivers.

“I hear a lot about not being relevant and that really aggravates me,” Waltrip said. “Because one thing I work really hard at and have for most of my career is trust. So when I talk to a Chad Knaus or a Cole Pearn or Rodney Childers, whomever I talk to, I don’t blab … I’ve never been that way. I call guys every week saying, ‘What happened? What’s going on?’ I’ve been in the shops enough to know the equipment.”

Waltrip boasts that if challenged, he could build “a better car by myself than anybody in that garage area.”

The NASCAR Hall of Famer also shared some regrets he had from his broadcasting career, including a very recent one.

“I said something about Jimmie Johnson (last) Sunday that after I thought about it, it wasn’t a great thing to say, but Adam Alexander asked about (Daniel) Suarez and Jimmie, ‘Who’d win a race first?'” Waltrip said. “My response was Suarez is too aggressive and Jimmie’s not aggressive enough. That probably in hindsight wasn’t the right thing to say. I have a lot of respect for the man, seven championships, 83 wins. I have a lot of respect for him. Out of that respect, you should not say something like that.”

You can listen to the full podcast below.

Other highlights: What Waltrip thinks his broadcast legacy is and his defense of his “Boogity” catchphrase (37:00)

 

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter