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Michael Waltrip

Michael Waltrip
File:Michael Waltrip at the Daytona 500.JPG
Waltrip in 2015
Born (1963-04-30) April 30, 1963 (age 52)
Owensboro, Kentucky, U.S.
Height Script error: No such module "convert".
Weight Script error: No such module "convert".
Achievements 1983 Darlington Dash Series champion
1996 The Winston winner
2001, 2003 Daytona 500 winner
2002, 2005 Gatorade Duel Winner
Awards 1983, 1984 Darlington Dash Series Most Popular Driver
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24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 2011
Teams AF Corse
Best finish DNF in LMGTE-PRO (2011)
Class wins 0
Statistics current as of May 3, 2015.

Michael Curtis Waltrip (born April 30, 1963) is a professional race car driver, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, racing commentator, and published author. He is the younger brother of three-time NASCAR champion and racing commentator Darrell Waltrip. Waltrip is a two-time winner of the Daytona 500; having won the race in 2001 and 2003. He is also a pre-race analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was the interim driver in the #55 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He was filling in for Brian Vickers who was out for heart surgery, Brett Moffitt took over at Atlanta. He also competed in the 2011 edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Racing career


According to his autobiography In the Blink of An Eye, Waltrip's career started at age 15. When he was 15 he phoned his older brother Darrell Waltrip, who was out racing in the 1978 Daytona 500 and asked Darrell to help him build a career in NASCAR. Darrell, however, claimed he had no time to help him and advised that Michael focused on school. When Michael asked his dad for help, his dad ignored his requests. With none of his parental figures helping him, Michael built his racing career all by himself with influence & help from his older brother Bobby Waltrip, who was very close to him in childhood. He began building a career by racing go-karts at carnivals and various racing clubs around his hometown. He won many races and thanks to Bobby's help was noticed by rising hotshot star Dale Earnhardt. When Waltrip moved out of his house, he moved in with Kyle Petty and then he ultimately ended up living with Richard Petty as a roommate. When Michael explained to Petty that he was going to try the Busch Series (now the Xfinity Series) to build his NASCAR career, Petty told Michael he was "wasting his time" and advised that Michael immediately went for the Cup Series ride.

Waltrip's stock-car career got off the ground in 1981, when he captured the Mini-Modified division track championship at Kentucky Motor Speedway. A year later, Waltrip entered the Goody's Dash Series, where he won the series championship in 1983 and was voted the circuit's most popular driver in 1983 and 1984.

Waltrip made his Cup debut in 1985 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte driving for Dick Bahre. He finished 28th in that race and finished 57th in the series standings after just 5 starts. His brother Darrell won the race. At the same time, Waltrip got confronted by Earnhardt, who questioned a previous move early in the race in which Waltrip nudged him out of the way and Dale responded by flipping the bird. Despite this incident, Earnhardt and Waltrip agreed to disagree over the move and remained friends.


File:Waltrip 1989.jpg
This is what was salvaged from Waltrip's 1990 Kool-Aid sponsored Busch Series car after his accident at Bristol.[1]

In 1986, driving the No. 23 Kool-Aid-sponsored car for Bahari Racing, Waltrip finished second in the Rookie of the Year standings to Alan Kulwicki on the strength of a pair of 11th-place finishes at Martinsville and Pocono. The following season, he posted his first career Top 10 finish when he ended up 10th in Martinsville's spring race. In 1988, Waltrip began running Busch Series events, making 5 starts for his brother's team. He took the checkered flag for the first time at Dover in his 4th start. In 1989, he had his first top-five finish in the No. 30 Country Time Lemonade/Kool Aid-sponsored Pontiac.

Crash at Bristol Motor Speedway

For Waltrip, 1990 was memorable for a horrific crash at Bristol in the spring, where he destroyed his Busch Series Pontiac. After making contact with Robert Pressley in the #59, he hit a turn-out gate at the corner exit, broke the gate, and went head-on into the end of the wall, disintegrating the car on impact and collapsing the car into itself. Onlookers were sure that Waltrip was severely injured, perhaps fatally, because of how massive the impact was and his brother Darrell rushed to the wreck fearing the worst. Amazingly, Waltrip survived the accident and he only suffered cuts, soreness, and bruises in the wreck.[2]


In early race lineups, Waltrip was referred to by broadcasters as "Mike Waltrip" or Darrell's little brother. It wasn't until 1991 that he began being referred to in racing lineups as Michael (Waltrip).

File:Michael Waltrip 1994.jpg
Waltrip driving for Bahari in 1994

In 1991, he gained new sponsorship from Pennzoil and won the Winston Open, as well as his first two career pole positions. He came close to winning the 1991 Transouth 500 with the team but had an incident that put him out of the running. Waltrip would have to wait 10 more years to get his first win. He stayed with the Bahari team until the end of 1995, when he was replaced by rookie Johnny Benson. He joined Wood Brothers Racing to drive their No. 21 Citgo-sponsored Ford. He won the 1996 edition of The Winston after capturing the last transfer spot in The Winston Open. After posting one Top 5 finish over a period of three years, and missing his first race since 1986 at the 1998 Dura Lube/Kmart 500, Waltrip departed the Woods at the end of 1998 to drive the No. 7 Philips-sponsored Chevrolet for Mattei Motorsports, posting three Top 10 finishes and ending that season 29th in points. The next season, Nations Rent replaced Philips as the sponsor & he moved up to 27th in points but finished in the Top 5 once, causing him and the team to part ways at the end of the season.


Waltrip was hired by Dale Earnhardt to drive his team's new #15 NAPA Auto Parts-sponsored Chevrolet Monte Carlo entry, Waltrip Drove for Earnhardt in the Busch Series in 1989 and 1994. In his first race with the team, the 2001 Daytona 500, Waltrip broke his streak of 462 consecutive Cup races without a victory and won his first career points-paying Cup race. His teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished in 2nd. However, the win itself was largely overshadowed by Earnhardt, Sr.'s fatal crash on the last lap. In the movie The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt, Waltrip said that Earnhardt let him in line late in the race, which allowed him to take the lead, noting that Earnhardt "never let anyone in line". This presumably is because Earnhardt wanted Waltrip and Earnhardt, Jr. to finish in the Top 2 spots, as both were members of his team. Waltrip was not aware of the severity of Earnhardt's crash until over 30 minutes after the end of the race when he was celebrating in victory lane. Ken Schrader, after having been treated and released from the infield care center following the crash (his car was hit by Earnhardt's during the crash), informed Waltrip that Earnhardt had been taken to Halifax Medical Center, 2 miles from the speedway. There, Earnhardt was pronounced dead at 5:16 PM EST.

Waltrip did not have another Top 10 finish until returning to Daytona in July in the Pepsi 400, where he finished 2nd while holding off the field as teammate Earnhardt, Jr. won his first plate race. Earnhardt, Jr.'s Pepsi 400 finish was emotional to the entire DEI team and when Earnhardt, Jr. did his burnout on the infield grass, Waltrip pulled up alongside him. Waltrip would also have a second-place finish at Homestead with Bill Elliott winning, and finished 24th in the standings.

The next season, Waltrip won the second Gatorade Duel. His next top ten finish would be a second-place finish at Talladega, where he and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. combined to lead more than two-thirds of the race, with Earnhardt, Jr. taking home his second of four straight wins at Talladega. The following week, Waltrip finished tenth at Auto Club. He had eighth-place finishes in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and the first Pocono race, and fourth place in the first Michigan race. He picked up his second career win at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. After a ninth-place finish at Watkins Glen, and eighth-place finishes at New Hampshire and Talladega, Waltrip finished 14th in the points standings.

In 2003, Waltrip won a rain-shortened Daytona 500 and also took victory at the EA Sports 500 at Talladega (his only non-Daytona win), while running in the top-five for most of the season before falling back to 15th in points. Of trivial note, Waltrip won the first three NASCAR on Fox races at Daytona (2001 and 2003 Daytona 500s, and the 2002 Pepsi 400) with Michael's brother Darrell in the broadcast booth. His Talladega win was also his only win at a NASCAR on NBC race.

In 2004, Waltrip went winless and dropped five spots in the standings. In 2005 Waltrip only had seven top tens and a single pole. He had an incident with Robby Gordon at New Hampshire. After Waltrip accidentally wrecked Robby Gordon and was spun in retaliation, Gordon furiously wagged his finger and threw his helmet at Waltrip's hood. Waltrip repeated the words Gordon said the previous year in another helmet-tossing incident: "He just threw a helmet on my car." Waltrip was fined $10,000 after he supposedly gestured at Gordon for the damage on his car from the helmet, but he and Teresa Earnhardt appealed and the fine was cancelled after a short investigation proved the charge false. Gordon however was fined $50,000 and put on probation for the rest of the year after he was discovered to have said "You know everybody thinks Michael is this good guy. He's not the guy he acts he is. The caution was out, and he wrecked me, and he's a piece of shit." Waltrip and Gordon conferred later on, apologized, and continued their careers. After the 2005 season, Waltrip left DEI for Bill Davis Racing.



Main article: Michael Waltrip Racing, Waltrip-Jasper Racing and Bill Davis Racing

Michael Waltrip's No. 55 NAPA Dodge (right) in 2006

On January 20, 2006, Michael Waltrip and president of Jasper Motorsports, Doug Bawel, announced the forming of Waltrip-Jasper Racing. Waltrip-Jasper Racing fielded the No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Car in the 2006 Nextel Cup Series, driven by Waltrip. Bawel, as the listed owner of the No. 77 that he fielded with Roger Penske in 2005, had a guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of 2006 by virtue of finishing 34th in the 2005 owner points. This enabled Waltrip to make the first five races in 2006 without qualifying on time before it was renamed to Bill Davis Racing. Waltrip failed to qualify for the first time since 1998 at the Coca-Cola 600. He bought a slot from the No. 74 McGlynn Racing Dodge from Derrike Cope to drive in the race and to keep his streak of 262 consecutive races.[3] Waltrip ended up missing three races total in 2006 and did not have a top-ten finish. This was attributable to BDR's lawsuit with Dodge, which meant the team did not receive manufacturer support for Waltrip or teammate Dave Blaney.

The Waltrip-Jasper partnership ceased at the end of the 2006 season.


Waltrip moved his NASCAR Nationwide Series team, Michael Waltrip Racing, full-time for the 2007 season. He hired Dale Jarrett and David Reutimann to race in the three car operation. Reutimann in the #00, Jarrett in the #44, Waltrip in the #55, Waltrip was listed as the owner of the #44 and #55, Wife Buffy was listed the owner of the #00, also his wife. After the first round of qualifying for the 2007 Daytona 500, NASCAR inspectors found evidence in the engine manifold that Waltrip, Reutimann and Jarrett team's had used an illegal fuel additive's. NASCAR confiscated the cars, forcing Waltrip, Reutimann and Jarrett to move to a back-up for the Daytona 500. On February 14, 2007 NASCAR officials announced at a press conference the penalties that would be levied: Bobby Kennedy (Director of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing) and David Hyder (Waltrip's Crew Chief) were removed from Daytona International Speedway, and suspended indefinitely.[4] David Hyder was also fined $100,000 and was placed on a leave of absence, eventually to be released by the team in April. Waltrip, Reutimann and Jarrett was docked 100 driver points and Waltrip and Wife Buffy was docked 100 owner points each. Waltrip, Reutimann and Jarrett's initial qualifying time's was disallowed, but Waltrip and Reutimann was permitted to qualify by racing a backup car in their Gatorade Duel's qualifying race for the Daytona 500, while Jarrett qualify by Past Champions provisional from Jarrett's 1999 title but was also permitted to race a backup car in his Gatorade Duel.[5] Waltrip's Interim Crew Chief was announced as Scott Eggleston, who was Waltrip's former crew chief in 2001.[6] After a 30th-place finish in the Daytona 500, Waltrip became the first driver in series history to go into the second race of the season with a negative number of points (−27). Waltrip failed to qualify for the next eleven races following the Daytona 500, so he maintained his negative point total for almost 4 months. He qualified for the thirteenth race of the season at Dover and finished 28th, moving his point total above zero to 52 points.

On Saturday April 7, 2007 he fell asleep behind the wheel of his Toyota Land Cruiser which overturned and hit a utility pole. Waltrip crawled out from the car suffering only minor cuts. There was no Nextel Cup race held that weekend. He was charged with reckless driving and failing to report an accident.[7][8]

After failing to qualify for the Pocono 500 in June, Waltrip bounced back the following week by finishing 10th at the Citizens Bank 400 in Michigan.

Waltrip decied make changes to the #00 and #55 because both were outside the top 35 in owners points he hired Terry Labonte took over Waltrip's #55 and P. J. Jones took over David Reutimann's #00 Infineon Raceway (Jones #00, Jarrett #44, Labonte #55), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Reutimann #00, Jarrett #44, Labonte #55) and Watkins Glen International (Jones #00, Jarrett #44, Labonte #55) Labonte qualify by Past Champions provisional from Labonte's 1984 and 1996 title's, While Jones was permitted to qualify as Jones was a Road Course Ringer.

In October 2007 prior to the 2007 Bank of America 500. Dale Jarrett announced his retired from points racing after the 2008 Food City 500, Waltrip decied to put David Reutimann (#00 driver) to take over the #44. Jarrett's final race was the All-Star race in May 2008.

On October 6, 2007, Waltrip won the pole for the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, the first restrictor plate race to be run with the Car of Tomorrow.[9] He finished 25th after a wreck, but bounced back the next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway with his second top-10 finish of the season.


In 2008, Michael Waltrip Racing underwent a change following the disappointing 2007 campaign. Waltrip welcomed business owner Robert Kaufmann, owner/founder of the Fortress Investment Group and was made an equal partner and got more aid with real estate developer Johnny Harris buying into the team during the 2007 off-season. Former Cup owner Cal Wells was brought to MWR to oversee day-to-day operations, Dale Jarrett #44 retiring from points racing after the 2008 Food City 500, David Reutimann starting the season in the #00 then taking over Jarrett's #44 Michael McDowell taking over Reutimann's #00. Waltrip entered three full-time cars cars for 2008 David Reutimann/Michael McDowell/Mike Skinner/Kenny Wallace/A. J. Allmendinger and Mike Bliss #00, Dale Jarrett/David Reutimann#44 and Waltrip #55. On February 10, 2008, Michael qualified second for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, which guaranteed him a second place start in the race. Waltrip started the race with "gold wheels" on his car in tribute to the golden anniversary of the Daytona 500; after the race the wheels were signed and sold to benefit NASCAR charities.[10] After leading the first two laps, he was not a factor in the race and finished 26th. Waltrip finished second at New Hampshire's Lenox Industrial Tools 301. He made his 1,000th NASCAR touring series start at Atlanta in October. He is second to Richard Petty in most career starts spanning all of the top divisions in NASCAR.

However, Michael McDowell struggled to keep the car in the Top 35 in owner points, which is necessary for automatic qualification into each race, and Waltrip replaced him with Mike Skinner, Kenny Wallace, A. J. Allmendinger and Mike Bliss in an effort to reclaim a Top 35 spot. In October 2008, MWR transferred its third team to the #47 Toyota of JTG Daugherty Racing, driven by Marcos Ambrose, and discontinued the #00 team for the balance of the season.

At the end of 2008 MWR solded the #44 to Richard Petty Motorsports and contracted to two cars with David Reutimann moving back to the #00, Waltrip in the #55.


Waltrip entered two full-time cars cars for 2009 David Reutimann #00, Waltrip #55. In early 2009, Waltrip announced that he would be sharing the No. 99 NNS Aaron's dream machine with David Reutimann and Scott Speed during the season. On May 25, 2009 Waltrip scored his first win as an owner in Sprint Cup Series competition in the Coca-Cola 600, with David Reutimann winning the event.

In the 2009 season, Waltrip garnered two top ten finishes (Daytona and Talladega) He came within a few laps of winning his third Daytona 500 as he was moving forward when the race was called for rain. He ended up seventh.

Waltrip decied to skip the road courses (Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International) handing it over to Patrick Carpentier to get the #55 back in the top 35 owners points.

On July 7, 2009 Waltrip announced he would be driving part-time in the 2010 season starting with the Daytona 500.[11] Waltrip also announced Martin Truex Jr. will take over Waltrip car driver as the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota full-time in 2010, using the #55 owners points.


In 2010, Waltrip announced that he would only be racing at the Daytona 500 unless more sponsorship was found Waltrip drove the #51 for the 2010 Daytona 500. Waltrip entered two full-time cars cars for 2010 #00 David Reutimann and #56 Martin Truex Jr., with Reutimann and Truex Jr. running the full schedule, Waltrip ran 6 races Daytona 500 (#51 MWR), Food City 500 (#55 Prism), Aaron's 499 (#55 Prism), Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 (#55 Prism), Toyota/Save Mart 350 (#55 Prism) and AMP Energy Juice 500 (#55 MWR). Waltrip qualified 21st on Daytona Pole qualifying day. This was not fast enough to get in the race on speed, however. He then wrecked out of the first qualifying race. Waltrip was able to gain a spot in the starting grid when driver Scott Speed raced to make the 500 using his qualifying time in the second qualifying race, giving Waltrip the 43rd place starting position. He finished in a respectable 18th place. Since then, Michael has started the No. 55 Prism Motorsports entry at Bristol, finishing 41st. Waltrip qualified for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway and raced his way to the lead early, but wound up finishing 39th after "The Big One" on lap 84 of the race. It was announced in May that Waltrip would pilot the Toyota Sponsafier winning paint scheme on June 20 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, but he failed to qualify. Waltrip also ran the Amp Energy 500 in a Michael Waltrip Racing fielded No. 55 Toyota. Waltrip lead a handful of laps but finished 28th due to a last lap crash.

Waltrip and his business partner Rob Kaufmann have entered various GT endurance races, participating in the Dubai 24 Hours and also the 24 Hours of Spa, driving a Ferrari F430 GTE for Italian team AF Corse in both races. Waltrip, Kaufmann, and the AF Corse team finished 5th overall and 3rd in class at Spa, clinching a podium spot.


In 2011, Waltrip announced that he would attempt to make his 25th consecutive Daytona 500 start driving the #15. Waltrip retined his drivers for 2011 #00 David Reutimann and #56 Martin Truex Jr., with Reutimann and Truex Jr. running the full schedule, Waltrip ran 4 races Daytona 500, Aaron's 499, Quaker State 400 and Good Sam Club 500. Aside from the Sprint Cup event at Daytona, Waltrip also competed in the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series races at Daytona. He captured an emotional win in the NextEra Energy Resources 250. The win came 10 years to the day of the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt and his first Sprint Cup Series victory. The victory also made Waltrip the 22nd driver to win a race in all three NASCAR national touring series. He followed up his Friday night win with a solid 9th-place finish in the Nationwide Series race the next day. On Sunday afternoon, as part of the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's death in the 2001 Daytona 500, which Waltrip won, Waltrip drove a replica of the #15 NAPA Auto Parts car that he drove at the time. However, Waltrip finished 40th in the race because he was caught up in an early wreck, which eliminated 14 cars. For the rest of 2011, Waltrip said he was working on plans to attempt the Sprint Cup Inaugural event at Kentucky Speedway in July, along with his first Le Mans start with AF Corse.[12] He ran in the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans in June in one of the AF Corse entered Ferraris. The car he co-drove with Robert Kauffman and Rui Águas completed 178 laps before retiring, finishing 38th overall. On September 29, 2011, it was announced that Waltrip would be replacing Jeff Hammond in the FOX's Hollywood Hotel on NASCAR on Fox beginning with the Daytona 500 in 2012 with Chris Myers and his brother Darrell Waltrip.[13]

At the end of 2011 Waltrip hired Clint Bowyer to drive the #15 in 2012 On November 4, 2011, MWR announced that David Reutimann would not return as driver of the #00 for 2012 so Waltrip changed the number to #55 in honor of Aaron's 1955 founding and he hired Mark Martin and Brian Vickers to co drive with Waltrip in 2012 and 2013


In January, he was confirmed as a driver for AF Corse Ferrari in the inaugural season of the FIA World Endurance Championship.[14] Four weeks before the Daytona 500, Waltrip and Rob Kaufmann entered the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona. After a series of mechanical problems and off course excursions, Waltrip, Rob Kaufmann, Rui Agas, and Travis Pastrana never gave up and pressed on to finish 22nd in GT and 35th overall.

Waltrip entered three full-time cars for 2012 #15 Clint Bowyer, #55 Mark Martin/Brian Vickers/Waltrip and #56 Martin Truex Jr., with Bowyer and Truex Jr. running the full schedule. Mark Martin ran 24 races, Brian Vickers ran 8 races, Waltrip ran 4 races for MWR Aaron's 499, Quaker State 400, Coke Zero 400 and Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500. In early February it was announced that Waltrip would attempt to qualify for the 2012 Daytona 500 for Hillman Racing, driving the No. 40 Toyota with sponsorship from Aaron's.[15] He failed to qualify for the race, crashing in a single-car incident in the first Gatorade Duel race.[16]

On May 6, Waltrip qualified for the 2012 Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway and led several laps before finishing 19th.

He also qualified for the fall Talladega race. On the last lap, Waltrip was running 5th when he jumped to the bottom lane and made a move for the lead to try to win heading into turn 4 with drafting help from Casey Mears. In turn 4, Tony Stewart tried to block Waltrip but underestimated Waltrip's speed. Waltrip tapped Stewart, and went up into the tightly bunched pack, collecting 23 cars, while Stewart flipped over once and slid on his side airborne and pushed by the wrecking field. After the race Stewart apologized for the contact by saying "I just screwed up...I take 100% responsibility because Michael got a good run and it was my fault blocking to try to stay where I was at...unfortunately I costed everybody a good day with it." Waltrip finished 25th.


File:Michael Waltrip Toyota Richmond 2013 DHSTS.jpg
Waltrip competed in the 2013 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown

Waltrip retained his drivers for 2013 #15 Clint Bowyer, #55 Mark Martin/Brian Vickers/Waltrip and #56 Martin Truex Jr., with Bowyer and Truex Jr. running the full schedule. Mark Martin ran 24 races, Brian Vickers ran 9 races this year, Waltrip ran 3 races for MWR Aaron's 499, Coke Zero 400 and Camping World RV Sales 500. Waltrip entered the 2013 Daytona 500 driving the #30 Toyota for Swan Racing,[17] which was changed for Daytona to the #26 as a charity car to raise funds for victims of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. Waltrip led four laps and finished 22nd in the race.[18] He also finished in the top 5 at all other races (3 others) too.

In his first race in the #55 for the season at Talladega, Waltrip finished fourth. He also ran at Daytona in July and finished 5th.

On August 13, it was announced that Brian Vickers would run the #55 full-time in 2014 and 2015.

In early August, Tony Stewart broke his leg in a sprint car accident. It was determined that he would miss the rest of the year. Mark Martin was hired to replace Stewart for most of the rest of the season except Talladega. Waltrip ultimately agreed to release Martin from the rest of his deal and give the #55 over to Brian Vickers early (except for Talladega, where Waltrip was going to drive the car). However, blood clots discovered in Vickers' leg after the Charlotte race ended his season, necessitating Waltrip to hire Elliott Sadler to drive the #55 for the remaining four races of 2013.

On September 12, 2013, NASCAR penalized Michael Waltrip Racing for intentionally manipulating the outcome of the Federated Auto Parts 400 race. As a result, NAPA Auto Parts pulled its sponsorship of the team at the end of the year, forcing Waltrip to release Martin Truex Jr. from his contract.


Waltrip entered two full-time cars for 2014 #15 Clint Bowyer and #55 Brian Vickers, with Bowyer and Vickers running the full schedule. Waltrip ran 4 races for Identity Ventures Racing owned by Jay Robinson, Mark Bailey and James Hamilton, Waltrip ran the Daytona 500, Aaron's 499, Coke Zero 400 and GEICO 500. At Daytona in Speedweeks, Waltrip was collected in a last-lap pileup caused when Jimmie Johnson ran out of gas on the final lap. Waltrip nonetheless made it into the race. He crashed on lap 144 and finished 41st. He finished 25th at the Aaron's 499 at Talladega.

For both races, he eschewed working with regular Identity Ventures Racing crew chief Scott Eggleston, with whom he had won his first Daytona 500, and instead paired himself with Chad Walter. At the summer Daytona race, Waltrip finally decided to work with Eggleston, and ended up getting his first top-20 in over a year. However at Talladega in October, Waltrip again worked with Walter and did pick up another top-20.


On December 15, 2014, MWR announced that Brian Vickers, the driver of the #55, would miss the first two races of the 2015 season due to health issues. On January 21, 2015, MWR announced that Waltrip would race the 2015 Daytona 500, and Brett Moffitt drove the 55 at Atlanta.[19] Waltrip retined Bowyer and Vickers for 2015 #15 Clint Bowyer and #55 Waltrip/Brett Moffitt/Brian Vickers, with Bowyer running the full schedule.

Personal life

Waltrip in 2004

Waltrip was born in Owensboro, Kentucky. He currently lives in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina.

Waltrip was married to Elizabeth "Buffy" Franks. They were divorced in 2010.[20] They have one daughter, Margaret Carol (AKA Macy) born on September 29, 1997. Michael has an older daughter, Caitlin Marie from a previous relationship, who was born on January 12, 1990. Caitlin is married and has 2 sons.

Waltrip is an avid runner. In 2000, he participated in the Boston Marathon.[21]

In popular media


Waltrip appeared on the two-part April 30, 2009/May 7, 2009 episode of My Name Is Earl entitled "Inside Probe."[22]

Television appearances

When not racing, he is a commentator alongside his older brother Darrell for NASCAR on Fox.

On September 4, 2014, Waltrip was announced as one of the celebrities who would participate on the 19th season of Dancing with the Stars. He was paired with professional dancer Emma Slater. They were eliminated on November 3, 2014.[23]


Waltrip wrote a book published in 2011 called In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day that Changed Everything. It became a New York Times best-seller.[citation needed]


Feuds with rival drivers

In a race in the early 1990s, Waltrip hit driver Dave Marcis, and was fined $500 for his actions.[24]

In 1995 at Michigan International Speedway, Waltrip also hit driver, Lake Speed. Waltrip hit Speed twice on national television,[25] while Speed was strapped in his car. Waltrip was fined $10,000 for his actions.

Waltrip had a much-publicized feud with Jeff Green, then driver of Petty Enterprises No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger in the early part of the 2005 season, which came to a head during races at Martinsville and Darlington, where Green and Waltrip wrecked each other on several occasions.[26]

In the 2005 Sylvania 300, Waltrip wrecked Robby Gordon's No. 7 Jim Beam Chevrolet after the yellow flag had come out. The angered Gordon got out of his totaled car and threw his helmet at the No. 15 car as it was passing by. When TNT interviewed him about the crash he stated "You know Michael, everyone thinks Michael's this good guy. He's not the good guy he acts he is. The caution was out and he wrecked me and he's a piece of [expletive]."[27] TNT apologized for the incident on both drivers' behalf, and both Gordon and Waltrip were required to meet with NASCAR officials after the race. Gordon was fined $50,000 and docked 50 drivers' points. Waltrip was also penalized, but the penalties were overturned on appeal. Gordon and Waltrip ultimately decided to auction the helmet for the benefit of the Harrah's Employee Relief Fund, a fund that provides aid to Harrah's employees displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Both drivers signed the helmet, which was purchased by for $51,100.[citation needed]

In 2008, Waltrip made contact with Casey Mears with 46 laps to go resulting in Mears successfully passing him. As a reply Waltrip rushed up to Mears, locked his hood on Mears' damaging car and tried to push it around through a struggle lasting over 4 seconds. Eventually Mears crashed, and soon after, NASCAR parked Waltrip as a punishment.[28]

In the 2008 Sharpie 500, an irate Clint Bowyer, who was involved in a wreck involving Waltrip, said "Michael Waltrip is the worst driver in NASCAR, period! Could not believe NAPA (his primary sponsor) signed him back on!" However, Bowyer made it up with him after 2008 and eventually joined Waltrip's race team in 2012.[29]


In 2007, Waltrip had his No. 55 Toyota confiscated by NASCAR officials after inspectors found an odorless, Vaseline-like substance in the car's engine. Later in the week, NASCAR handed down punishment to Michael Waltrip Racing, which included the ejection of team vice president of competition Bobby Kennedy and Crew Chief David Hyder from the garage at Daytona. Hyder was also fined $100,000, the largest fine ever handed down by NASCAR (Until Kurt Busch was penalized for a pit road incident). Waltrip himself was penalized with a loss of 100 drivers points and his qualifying time from pole day on Feb. 11 was thrown out. Elizabeth Waltrip, Michael's wife and the official owner of his car, was also docked 100 owners points. The substance found in the vehicle's fuel was referred to as "rocket fuel", later determined to be Sterno.[30]

In the 2013 Federated Auto Parts 400, the final race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Waltrip's team was penalized with NASCAR's biggest penalty in history. In the race, MWR's Clint Bowyer spun out with 7 laps left after radio conversation hinting at an order to do so, and Brian Vickers was ordered to pit because the team "needed one more point". Following an investigation by NASCAR, the team was fined $300,000, stripped 50 driver points and 50 owner's points for each team, indefinitely suspended team vice-president Ty Norris and put every MWR crew chief on probation until December 31. With the points loss, Truex missed the Chase, which put Ryan Newman back in the wildcard spot. Waltrip stated as a reaction to the penalties that "I want to sincerely apologize to NASCAR, our sponsors, fans, and fellow drivers who were disappointed in our actions. We will learn from this and move on."[31]

Car accident

On April 11, 2007, Waltrip was charged with reckless driving and leaving the scene of the accident after crashing his car into a telephone pole.[32]

Motorsports career results


(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series

Daytona 500 results
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
1986 Bahari Racing Pontiac DNQ
1987 Chevrolet 18 22
1988 Pontiac DNQ
Mueller Brothers Racing 24 22
1989 Bahari Racing Pontiac 23 21
1990 24 8
1991 13 38
1992 10 18
1993 28 16
1994 14 31
1995 15 6
1996 Wood Brothers Racing Ford 11 10
1997 12 32
1998 6 9
1999 Mattei Motorsports Chevrolet 13 5
2000 Ultra Motorsports 10 39
2001 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet 19 1
2002 4 5
2003 4 1
2004 9 38
2005 3 37
2006 Bill Davis Racing Dodge 30 18
2007 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 15 30
2008 2 29
2009 27 7
2010 43 18
2011 8 40
2012 Hillman Racing Toyota DNQ
2013 Swan Racing Toyota 29 22
2014 Identity Ventures Racing Toyota 42 41
2015 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota 34 26

Nationwide Series

Camping World Truck Series

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

Sports car racing

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, Results are overall/class)

24 Hours of Le Mans results

24 Hours of Daytona

See also


  2. Pearce, Al (April 15, 1990). "Michael Waltrip Deems Survival From Horrifying Bristol Crash A 'Miracle'". Daily Press. Newport News, VA. Retrieved 2013-03-10. 
  3. Newton, David. "Waltrip buys Cope's car; will take spot in 600". NASCAR.COM. Retrieved February 15, 2007. 
  4. Bowles, Tom (February 14, 2007). "His darkest hour: Can Waltrip rescue public image after cheating probe?". CNN/Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 15, 2007. 
  5. Harris, Mike. "Waltrip qualifies for Daytona 500". Associated Press. Retrieved February 15, 2007. 
  6. Spencer, Lee. "Substance in question turned over". Retrieved February 15, 2007. 
  7. "M. Waltrip charged with reckless driving in accident". Associated Press. April 10, 2007. Archived from the original on April 14, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2007. 
  8. "Witness: "I didn't think anybody was alive in there" after Waltrip accident". April 11, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007. 
  9. 2007 UAW-Ford 500 Lineup
  10. MWR auctions gold wheels that ran in Daytona 500
  11. Michael Waltrip to run part-time in 2010
  12. Waltrip, Michael [1], Michael Waltrip, teammates learn the lessons of Le Mans "USA Today" June 11, 2011, accessed June 11, 2011.
  13. "Michael Waltrip joins NASCAR on FOX". Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  14. Dagys, John (January 23, 2012). "LE MANS: AF Corse, Felbermayr-Proton Confirm WEC Entries". Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  15. "Waltrip to drive No. 40 for Hillman in Daytona 500". Turner Sports. February 13, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  16. Diaz, George (February 23, 2012). "Michael Waltrip fails to qualify for Daytona 500". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  17. Associated Press (January 10, 2013). "Waltrip to enter Daytona 500 with Swan Racing". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  18. Associated Press (February 24, 2013). "Daytona 500 Results 2013: Complete Finishing Order". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  19. "Health Issues Sideline Vickers Again". National Speed Sport News. Turn 3 Media LLC. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  20. Hinton, Ed (February 7, 2011). "Waltrip still haunted by 'that day'". ESPN. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  21. Michael Waltrip: Joker or Genius?
  22., Retrieved on June 1, 2009.
  24. "Kyle Puts on the Show; But Bodine Best at Martinsville". 
  25. CBS coverage of one of the two 1995 Michigan races
  26. Smith, Marty. "Waltrip, Green feud all night at Darlington". NASCAR.COM. Retrieved February 15, 2007. 
  27. Blake, Ben. "NASCAR Vows to "Do What It Takes" for Race Control". RACER Magazine. Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2007. 
  28. Associated Press (May 5, 2008). "Waltrip, Mears make nice after Richmond wreck". ESPN. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  29. Blount, Terry (October 8, 2011). "Them wasn't fightin' words". Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  30. Coble, Don (February 12, 2007). "Waltrip could face a Sterno penalty". The Florida Times-Union. [...] inspectors found a gel-like coating inside the manifold. Several engine builders from other teams said the substance appeared to be Sterno, a bluish gel that could provide a hotter, cleaner burn inside the engine to create more horsepower. 
  31. Jensen, Tom (September 10, 2013). "NASCAR hits MWR with heavy penalty". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  32. Newton, David (April 11, 2007). "Waltrip charged with reckless driving". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:S-sports
Preceded by
Larry Hoopaugh
NASCAR Darlington Dash Series Champion
Succeeded by
Mike Swaim
Preceded by
Jeff Gordon
The Winston Winner
Succeeded by
Jeff Gordon
Preceded by
Dale Jarrett
Ward Burton
Daytona 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Ward Burton
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

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