Michael Waltrip joins NASCAR on FOX
The Waltrip brothers are taking a new step in their relationship next season – sharing the Hollywood Hotel as part of the FOX NASCAR Sunday prerace team.
Darrell Waltrip has long been a member of the FOX NASCAR team, but team owner/driver Michael Waltrip joins the group in 2012. The pair will take a seat in the Hollywood Hotel with host Chris Myers.
In an innovative new role, veteran analyst Jeff Hammond takes his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to the garages and pit road. Both moves were announced today by FOX Sports Media Group President, Co-COO and Executive Producer, Eric Shanks.
“Michael is simply one of NASCAR’s most gregarious, genuine personalities, and we loved the dynamic between him and Darrell when we paired them up on occasion last season,” Shanks said. “Michael has also been featured in numerous television commercials over the last decade, which makes him familiar to a much broader audience. I expect a lot of ‘gotta see’ TV coming out of an all-Waltrip Hollywood Hotel next season.”
In addition to his FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace work, the younger Michael also contributes analysis and updates during the race as time permits.
Michael Waltrip adds NASCAR on FOX to on-air positions that already include FOX’s sister network SPEED and Showtime’s “Inside NASCAR.” He joined the broadcasting world with the launch of SPEED in 1996 as an analyst for what is now titled this week in NASCAR. Waltrip’s credits at SPEED include Fast Track, Track to Fame, Trackside and NASCAR Nation. He’s also nationally renowned for numerous commercial appearances for major marketers. Currently, his Michael Waltrip Racing organization features Sprint Cup drivers David Reutimann (00) and Martin Truex Jr. (56). Waltrip made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in 1985 at the Coca-Cola 600 and is a two-time Daytona 500 champion (2001, 2003). His first book, “In the Blink of an Eye,” marking the 10th anniversary of his 2001 Daytona 500 victory, was released in February 2011, and spent 11 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
Hammond will use his extensive crew-chief experience as he works pit road for news throughout the race. Having a former crew chief serve in this role is a first for network television’s NASCAR coverage.
“We’re excited about Jeff’s new role,” Shanks said. “It’s a first for televised NASCAR coverage, and no one knows more about cars than Jeff does. Now he’ll be in a much better position to cover and humanize that side of the sport for viewers.”
Hammond has been a member of the NASCAR on FOX broadcast team since 2001, the network’s first year covering the sport. He’s also a frequent contributor on SPEED, the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle. Hammond received a Sports Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Analyst in 2006. In 1982, he became a NASCAR Cup crew chief, working for Darrell Waltrip at the pinnacle of the legendary driver’s career. Together, they saw Victory Lane an impressive 43 times, including Waltrip’s memorable Daytona 500 victory in 1989.
Hammond was Waltrip’s pit boss in two of his three NASCAR championship seasons (1982 and 1985). In total, he has 508 NASCAR Cup races on his crew chief resume, while his television credits also include work for FX, ESPN, Turner and TNN.