Darrell "Jaws" Waltrip

 

 I am going to give you a brief history of Darrell "Jaws" Waltrip and some interesting pictures of his racing history. Remember, if any of this puts you to sleep just scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the link to email me. 

A brief bit of Darrell trivia before we begin, did you know that he was the winner of the Volunteer 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1978 and had 9 more wins at the same track with 7 of them being consecutive from 81 to 84.

 

NASCAR Winston Cup
Career: 1972-2000


One of the enduring figures on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit and a three-time series champion (1981, '82, '85), Darrell Waltrip became the elder spokesman for the sport prior to his retirement "Victory Tour" in 2000. His 809 starts is third-best, his 84 victories ties him for third (with Bobby Allison) on the all-time list, and his 59 pole positions are fourth best in NASCAR Winston Cup history. Waltrip won the (1989) Daytona 500 in his 17th attempt. He is the only five-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and won the inaugural The Winston in 1985. Waltrip holds the modern-era record for wins from the pole position with eight in 1981. He was the first NASCAR Winston Cup driver to win $6 million, $7 million, $8 million, $9 million, and $10 million in prize money and was the third driver in NASCAR Winston Cup history to surpass the $15 million mark. Waltrip was the tinner of the NASCAR Most Popular Driver award in 1989 and 1990 and the National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the year in 1977, 1981, and 1982. Waltrip will continue to reap the respect he has cultivated as a motorsports broadcast analyst in 2001. He was inducted into the Charlotte Motor Speedway Court of Legends and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway's Heroes of
Bristol Hall of Fame in 1997.

 


 

Starting his driving career in go-karts at age 12, Darrell Waltrip entered his first stock car race just four years later.

Waltrip and his father built a 1936 Chevrolet coupe and headed to a local dirt track near their Owensboro, Kentucky home. The first night out was not good as the youngster, barely old enough to drive on the street, slammed the wall and heavily damaged the coupe. Waltrip soon left the dirt and found his niche on pavement where the smoothness he learned in the karts proved a valuable asset.

 

His racing activities continued to increase and by the late 1960's Waltrip had become a regular at the fairgrounds in Nashville. He quickly developed into one of the nation's top short-track drivers and made his first NASCAR Winston Cup start in 1972 at Alabama's Talladega Speedway. He continued to make a sporadic NASCAR start while earning a living as a barnstorming short-track racer. Finally in 1975, Waltrip decided it was time to become a full-time NASCAR Winston Cup competitor.

He recalled: "Wherever I would go, I was almost assured I was going to win one or two races a week and I made a good living doing that. It was hard to step to the big leagues and be just another fish in a big pond. So it took some time to make up my mind that I needed to get in there, give it 100 percent and make my mark." And the rest is history.

 

Darrell Waltrip Awards/Recognition

Bill France Award of Excellence in 2000

NASCAR Winston Cup Champion - 1981, 1982, 1985

Most Popular Driver Award -1989 and 1990

NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated Person of the Year - 1997

American Driver of the year - 1979, 1981, 1982

NASCAR Driver of the Decade - 1980s

National Motorsports Press Driver of the year - 1977, 1981, 1982

Auto Racing Digest Driver of the Year - 1981, 1982

Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Professional Athlete of the Year - 1979

First Winston Cup driver to earn $10 million (Feb. 18, 1990)

Starts Wins Poles Top5 Top10
809 84 59 276 390
Laps Laps Led Races Led Miles Winnings
  23,191 404 250,121 $19,416,618

In closing, the Leroy's Boys truck team is a tribute to Darrell and Mikey's father. I wish Darrell and Mike all the luck with this venture, this is a fitting tribute to their father, Lee Waltrip.

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Email Grant