DW: Bonnett was greatest 'mate while Richmond was a show

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Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

Kurt from Wyoming: As I wait to pre-order your autobiography on DWStore.com on January 19, I'm reading 's book, and the next time you see him, could you tactfully "enlighten" him that a multi-car team won a championship before Rick Hendrick? Say in 1985! P.S. What was it like racing with Neil Bonnett? Darrell Waltrip: Jeff is like a lot of other new fans in this sport. They think racing started in 1992. They sometimes fail to realize that some of the things that are going on today are the same things that went on 25 years ago. The Pettys had multi-car teams. Junior Johnson had multi-car teams. There have always been a number of multi-car teams -- some more successful than others. Neil Bonnett was the greatest teammate you could have. He didn't have a big ego. He was very giving. He and I made a good pair because I was just the opposite, and Neil knew that. And it really worked out well. He shared with me. Tim Brewer was his crew chief, and Jeff Hammond was mine. We were on one side of the creek, and they were on the other. We competed against each other. Junior wanted it that way. He wanted to have a rivalry between his two teams. He thought that made us better. Neil Bonnett was one of the kindest, most gentle and nicest men you'd ever want to be around, but you didn't want to mess with him on the race track. That dog did have a bite to him, but he was a great teammate. He would have been a good teammate for anybody.

Cliff from Virginia: What was Tim Richmond like as a teammate, and how many championships do you think he could have won? Darrell Waltrip: Richmond was a showman. He was a lot like me, but he was a little bit more outgoing. I'll never forget. We were over here at Nashville, and this was right at the end of his life. He had been out of the car for a little while, and he was the grand marshal of a Busch race. It was in July, and it must have been 110 degrees. He had on leather pants and a leather sport coat. It was so hot that everybody else was running around in t-shirts and shorts. He came down on the track to wish me well, and he got in the car with me when the race was getting ready to start. He said, "Let's go! I'll ride with you." I said, "No man, you can't do that. You've got to get out, go back up there and start the race." He loved to have a good time, and one of the funniest Tim Richmond stories that I can remember took place during the Southern 500 Darlington golf tournament. Richmond, probably Neil Bonnett and four guys total were on a golf cart going down a fairway. They had a bottle of rum in one hand and a golf club in the other. Richmond spun the thing around and threw them all off on the ground. They got up laughing and picking up all of their golf clubs. They turned the golf club back up on all four wheels, and they took off again. The guy was just wide open all the time, and he would fit right in with this bunch of wild kids that we've got today.

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