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Darrell Waltrip Slated to Drive No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine at Martinsville Speedway
"I was driving Terry Labonte's car and I don't remember how the deal came about, but I wanted to run it," said Waltrip. "Both Bobby Labonte and Terry Labonte drove and I drove the third car. I qualified and got the pole. At the start of the race, we went off in the first turn and I was determined to lead the first lap. I want to say it was Randy LaJoie or Johnny Benson, but we slammed into each other going into Turn 1 and that knocked the front end out of whack. I still finished in the top-10, but that was last time I raced in a Busch car. I also had my own Busch cars for years. Earnhardt and I used to be big rivals with the Busch cars. Every year we'd go to Daytona to see who had the most chrome on their cars. We'd do all kinds of things to one up each other. Running the Aaron's Dream Machine this weekend brings back some good memories."
D.W. and his younger brother Michael Waltrip have both starred in a long-running ad campaign for Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership stores where Michael repeatedly denies D.W.'s requests to drive the Aaron's Dream Machine. According to Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership President Ken Butler, turning this marketing punch line into reality has been nothing short of a thrill.
"The Waltrip brothers are just quality people and Aaron's is so proud to have them represent our company," Butler said. "We are really excited that after all these years we are finally able to get D.W. into the Dream Machine for his first-ever Busch start at Martinsville. From the moment D.W.'s wife Stevie handed him the Dream Machine helmet back in March, the media and the fans have really followed this story and everyone involved has benefited from the extra exposure. Regardless of how the race turns out this weekend, we already feel like winners. And D.W. should feel the same way, too. We always say Aaron's makes 'Dreams Come True' and now we've made a great dream come true for our good friend Darrell Waltrip."
Waltrip agrees with Butler and is pleased that the ad campaign with his brother is coming to life.
"I kept saying we can't do this ad campaign forever and that there's got to be a pay off," Waltrip added. "Someday, somewhere, there has to be or it loses its significance. There really wasn't a place I could race except Indianapolis Raceway Park. So, when the rumors started floating around that they were going to have a race at Martinsville, I knew it was my only opportunity."
Michael Waltrip made it all possible for his elder brother to handle the driving chores for the first time in a NASCAR Busch Series entry at Martinsville Speedway.
"I wonder if NASCAR will allow him to run the 30 minute rookie practice session even though he's won at Martinsville 11 times in a Cup car," Waltrip said tongue-in-cheek. "Let's just say this is his first race at Martinsville in what could potentially be his final NASCAR race. I couldn't be happier to be Darrell's car owner. I've loved being a part of Darrell's racing career. By providing a way for D.W. to drive in the Busch race with the Aaron's Dream Machine, it's a great way for me to repay him."
Aaron's stores have reported strong demand for the limited-edition die cast 1:24 scale and 1:64 scale cars to commemorate D.W.'s special Dream Machine paint scheme for the race.
"I saw the car for the first time in person on Monday and it is beautiful," said Waltrip. "If it only had chrome numbers, it would have been perfect. I would have put them on there any way and then they could have changed them when we got there."
The Goody's 250 NASCAR Busch Series race will be televised live in NBC starting at 3:30pm Eastern time on Saturday, July 22.
About Aaron Rents, Inc.:
Aaron Rents, Inc. (NYSE: RNT), based in Atlanta, currently has more than 1,230 Company-operated and franchised stores in 47 states and Canada for the rental and sale of consumer electronics, computers, residential and office furniture, household appliances and accessories. The Company manufactures furniture, bedding and accessories at 12 facilities in five states. Aaron's stores offer customers access to high quality furniture, appliances, electronics and computers for sale or on a lease-ownership arrangement. Customers have the option of buying their merchandise for an attractive cash price, or opting to lease their merchandise for even greater flexibility. With a lease option, customers make modest monthly payments and have the immediate use of the items they need without waiting for credit checks or other delays. Plus, Aaron's will take care of delivery, set-up, repairs and more for the duration of a customer's lease.