Michael Waltrip

Ryan Blaney to race Michael Waltrip tribute in Southern 500

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Ryan Blaney will boast a paint scheme inspired by Michael Waltrip in this year’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (Sep. 1 on NBCSN).

Blaney revealed the scheme Wednesday for his No. 12 Ford on NASCAR America presents MotorMouths.

The scheme is based on the No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac that Waltrip drove for owner Chuck Rider from 1991-95.

 

Here are the previous cars Blaney has driven for the Throwback Weekend at Darlington.

2018

Blaney drove a scheme based on the car his father, Dave Blaney, used in the Cup Seres in 2003.

2017

Blaney drove Kyle Petty’s 1987 CITGO scheme.

2016

Blaney piloted David Pearson’s scheme from 1976.

2015

In his first Throwback Weekend start, Blaney’s car had a mosaic of more than 2,0000 pictures depicting the history of Wood Brothers Racing.

Jimmie Johnson completes Boston Marathon

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Jimmie Johnson completed the Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the 26.2-mile route in 3 hours, 9 minutes and 7 seconds. His average pace was 7:13 per mile.

Johnson placed 4,155th overall. He was 3,746th among men and 641st in his division.

Johnson, who ran with bib number 4848, had stated his goal was to complete the marathon in less than three hours. His wave of runners left the starting line at 10:25 a.m. ET.

“I left the pace I wanted to try to hold and came up a little bit short of my goal,” Johnson told reporters after the race. “I wanted to race it and really run hard and challenge myself. I need some food. I’m afraid to sit down. I might not get back up. Everything is starting to tighten back up right now.”

Johnson said it was “amazing” how many people recognized him and his bib and cheered him on, “from banners and T-shirts. My sponsor Ally was at the firehouse (at mile marker 17) and took it over and decorated and I got a huge applause coming through there.”

Johnson also noted the “camaraderie” among fellow runners and the “energy” and “excitement” from fans with “kids passing out popsicles and waters. It was really amazing.”

For the first time, the marathon took place on the anniversary of the bombings that marked the event six years ago (April 15, 2013). The tragedy left a mark on Hendrick Motorsports.

“We had somebody close to Hendrick Motorsports … was lost in the bombing,” Johnson said. “Sean Collier was a security guard at MIT and was lost trying to apprehend the bombers. His brother (Andrew) worked in our engine shop and I’ve been able to meet with his family and spend time with them and take them to the races. I’ve been trying to bring up his name and honor him.”

Will Johnson return to the marathon in 2020?

“I’ve got to look at the car racing schedule,” Johnson said. “Somebody told me that it doesn’t work out as well. I’d like to have Sunday to recover some. So I need to look at it, but I’ve heard that with my time I’m qualified to come back. So, if I can, I will.”

The 2020 Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, April 20. The Cup Series is scheduled to compete at Richmond Raceway the day before.

Kenyan Lawrence Cherono won the marathon in a photo finish over Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa. Cherono won with a time of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 57 seconds.

For a time comparison, this year’s Daytona 500 was completed in 3 hours, 45 minutes and 55 seconds.

The 500-mile Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway took 3 hours, 16 minutes and 11 seconds.

In Johnson’s last Cup win at Dover International Speedway in June 2017, the time of the race was 3 hours, 52 minutes and 6 seconds.

Johnson took part in the marathon two days after competing in the 400 lap Cup race at Richmond Raceway.

Former Cup driver Michael Waltrip competed in the Boston Marathon in 2000 the day after a race at Talladega Superspeedway. He completed the route in 4 hours, 42 minutes and 20 seconds.

Below are tweets documenting Johnson’s marathon experience.

Darrell Waltrip taking the checkered flag on his broadcasting career

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip is retiring as a broadcaster upon the conclusion of Fox Sports’ final Cup race in June, he announced Thursday.

“I could’ve waited until Charlotte or somewhere else down the road, but it’s been hanging over my head,” Waltrip told The Tennessean. “I just wanted to clear the air, let people know what my plans are and then other people can make plans accordingly. Like who’s going to take my place or is somebody going to take my place?”

Waltrip’s last race will be June 23 at Sonoma Raceway, the final race for Fox Sports before NBC Sports broadcasts the rest of the Cup season.

The 72-year-old Waltrip has been with Fox since it began broadcasting NASCAR races in 2001, making his debut in the 2001 Daytona 500 – the race his younger brother Michael won and the race Dale Earnhardt suffered fatal injuries.

Outspoken and passionate, Waltrip sought to reach out to NASCAR fans in his own way.

“Darrell has been the heart and soul of the Fox NASCAR booth since day one, so it’s incredibly bittersweet to know this is his final season,” said Fox Sports CEO & executive producer Eric Shanks. “DW’s unmatched charisma and passion helped Fox Sports build its fan base when we first arrived at Daytona in 2001, and he has been the cornerstone of our NASCAR coverage ever since.”

Waltrip told The Tennessean he considered retiring earlier.

“My dream had been that I was going to retire in 2017 because I love 17,” he told the newspaper. “Well ’17 came and I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, bad decision, no, no, no. I’m not quite ready for that.’

“A big wake-up call for me was when our first grandchild was born 14 months ago and I would come and go and it was just like when I’d watched my girls grow up. They grew up at the racetrack and they were grown and married before I hardly knew it.”

Waltrip also told the newspaper that the addition of Jeff Gordon also played a role in Waltrip’s decision to retire.

“Jeff Gordon coming along beside of me has just made me aware of what I know I know — that I’m old school,” Waltrip told The Tennessean. “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 it’s a young man’s sport. I’m not a young man anymore.”

What’s next for Waltrip, other than spending more time with family? He’s not sure.

“Every time I’ve made a change in my career or in my life I thought it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me,” Waltrip told the newspaper. “And then next thing you know it was actually the best thing that ever happened to me. So I’m optimistic about future.”

The three-time Cup champion was inducted into the third class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2012. His 84 career victories ties him with Bobby Allison for fourth on the all-time list. Waltrip was the recipient of the Bill France Award of Excellence in 2000 for his lifetime of achievements in the sport.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps praised Waltrip in a statement:

“For nearly five decades, few people have been as synonymous with NASCAR as Darrell Waltrip,” Phelps said. “A Hall of Famer on the track and in the booth, Waltrip brought quick wit, tireless passion and a wealth of stock car racing knowledge to millions of NASCAR fans on FOX for 19 seasons. We are grateful for Waltrip’s many contributions to the sport over the past 47 years, both as a champion driver and broadcaster. On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, we wish DW all the best in retirement.”

 

 

NASCAR commercials that deserve to be in Hall of Fame

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Hello and welcome to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

I’ll be your guide as you take a tour of the museum’s newest wing – the Michael Waltrip “I’m at the wrong track” Advertising Hall of Excellence.*

Yes, it’s a mouth-full, but here in NASCAR we’re no stranger to saying a lot in Victory Lane to pay the bills.

And that’s what this exhibit is dedicated to – excellent examples of NASCAR and its teams paying the bills that also entertained loyal fans during breaks in the TV action.

Now, enjoy your trip through this loving look at some of NASCAR’s best commercial campaigns., and remember to watch the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

*This isn’t real, but it should be.

Newman!

Aside from last season’s NASCAR Fantasy commercial, there’s a severe lack of ad campaigns these days that feature multiple drivers from separate teams and showcase their personalities all in one place. But back in the 2000s the Gillette Young Guns campaign was the standard-bearer for such a concept. Oh, and John Cena was in one.

How Bad Have You Got It?

How do you advertise NASCAR in an entertaining way without including a single shot of a stock car, a track or a NASCAR driver? Via the heightened reality of the “How Bad Have You Got It?” campaign.

The series is helped by depicting the actions of one man and his NASCAR addicted family over a majority of the ads.

Personal favorite: spraying champagne at a wedding anniversary.

Ride Along Program

During NASCAR’s 50th anniversary in 1998, this ESPN campaign featured multiple Cup drivers giving “rides” in the back of their cars to celebrities and actors playing every day people (with their dogs and their weasel collections).

Personal favorite: Richard Petty trying to commandeer his son Kyle’s ride after a bout of back-seat driving.

Honorable Mentions

Dale Jarrett and the UPS Truck

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and “Dale Call”

“Dreamin'” with Kasey Kahne

What are your favorite NASCAR commercial campaigns? Share in the comments or on social media at  and on Facebook.

For better racing, survival of teams, Michael Waltrip sees answer in spec parts

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Michael Waltrip used to be an owner of a multi-car NASCAR Cup Series team.

“Used to” is the key part of that sentence.

The two-time Daytona 500 winner owned Michael Waltrip Racing from 2002-2015, fielding cars in 783 starts and earning seven wins.

Then the sponsorship money dried up.

It’s similar to the situation that found Furniture Row Racing announcing Tuesday it would be shutting it doors following the 2018 season, a year after it was atop the NASCAR world as the Cup champion.

“I have an intimate knowledge of spending more money than you got coming from sponsorship,” Waltrip said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint.” “It was the reason our team doesn’t exist anymore.”

Waltrip, now an analyst for Fox Sports, said a closer look needs to be taken at NASCAR’s business model to “try to figure out a way to make it more viable to have more owners that want to participate. The more that want to play, the better it is.”

For his part, Waltrip championed the further exploration of using spec parts. In the Truck Series, many teams have gone to the spec Ilmor engine. In the Cup Series, spec pit guns are now used by teams. The Xfinity Series has transitioned to a composite body for its cars.

“You have to be competitive for the sponsors you have, whatever it costs to be competitive is what owners will spend,” Waltrip said. “That being said, sometimes you gotta save competitive people from themselves. … We need a spec chassis. A chassis that maybe Richard Childress Racing produces it and supplies to the industry or … maybe there’s a couple of suppliers. (We need a) chassis that we’re not spending millions of dollars developing … right after you just completed a new chassis.”

Waltrip then pointed to the differences between Brad Keselowski‘s No. 2 Ford that he won Sunday’s Southern 500 with and the car it was made to resemble, Rusty Wallace’s No. 27 Pontiac from 1990.

“You just look at a picture of them, you see basically the same thing,” Waltrip said. “But what’s going on underneath that car? There’s some crazy stuff happening with some exotic metals and things that move around and then when you stop they’re back to where they’re supposed to be and all of that is unnecessary. A race fan can’t see that. A race fan just wants to see their favorite guy outrun the rest and we’re spending a lot of money on moving parts and pieces and I just don’t think it’s necessary.”

Waltrip added: “I just feel like there’s a way for us to find common parts and pieces on the car where the crew chief and engineers can still adjust on those cars, but it comes down more to just a driver racing another.”

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