Note: Waltrip will hold a media availability Friday at 2:30 PM ET in the Bristol Motor Speedway infield media center. The event will be live streamed on Twitter at @FOXSportsPR.
*Attached below is reaction from Eric Shanks, David Hill, Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Gordon, Matt Yocum, Chris Myers and original members of the FOX NASCAR production team
Three-Time Champion Takes Checkered Flag at Sonoma after 19 Seasons in FOX Sports Booth
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It will be one to go at the line for NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and FOX NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip when he hits the air from Sonoma Raceway in June.
The three-time champion, a member of the original FOX NASCAR broadcast team that debuted at Daytona in February 2001, will retire from his FOX Sports duties at the conclusion of the network’s 2019 season. Waltrip’s final race calling MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES action will be at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 23 (3:00 PM ET on FS1).
“My family and I have been talking this over the past several months, and I’ve decided to call 2019 my last year in the FOX Sports booth,” Waltrip said. “I have been blessed to work with the best team in the sport for the past 19 years, but I’m 72 and have been racing in some form for more than 50 years. I’m still healthy, happy and now a granddad, so it’s time to spend more time at home with my family, although I will greatly miss my FOX family.”
Waltrip steps away from the FOX Sports broadcast booth at the conclusion of the 2019 season after more than 330 races and 1,500 practice and qualifying sessions with the network.
“Darrell has been the heart and soul of the FOX NASCAR booth since day one, so it’s incredibly bittersweet to know this is his final season,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports CEO & Executive Producer. “DW’s unmatched charisma and passion helped FOX Sports build its fan base when we first arrived at Daytona in 2001, and he has been the cornerstone of our NASCAR coverage ever since. We look forward to celebrating DW at Sonoma.”
Waltrip, a three-time champion (1981, ’82 and ’85) and winner of 84 career Cup Series races, was inducted into the third class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January 2012. His 84 wins tie him with Bobby Allison for fourth all-time. Waltrip completed his 29th and final NASCAR season as a driver in 2000 and joined the FOX Sports booth immediately upon retirement, pairing with Joy and McReynolds in the inaugural FOX NASCAR TV booth.
Waltrip also ranks fifth on the all-time Cup Series pole positions list with 59. He is the only five-time winner of the COCA-COLA 600 (1978-‘79, 1985, 1988-‘89), and was the winner of the inaugural NASCAR ALL-STAR RACE at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1985. DW’s first NASCAR series start came in the 1972 Winston 500, and his first win just three years later in his 50th start. In 1981, Waltrip won a modern-era record eight races from the pole and tied the all-time record of four in a row.
He twice nabbed the Most Popular Driver Award (1989-‘90) and was the recipient of the prestigious Bill France Award of Excellence in 2000 for his lifetime of achievements in the sport. In 2003, Waltrip was elected to the National Motorsports Hall of Fame, an honor followed by induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Waltrip is a three-time winner of NASCAR.com’s Fan Voice Awards, crowning him as the overwhelming fan favorite. In 2006, Waltrip captured 38% of the votes for Best On-Air Analyst. That same year, Waltrip received a Sports Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Sports Person – Event Analyst.
In 2004, Waltrip’s autobiography, “DW: A Lifetime Going Around in Circles,” debuted on the New York Times Best Seller List. His third book, “Sundays Will Never Be the Same,” was published in 2012 and focuses on his career as both a driver and broadcaster. On the big screen, Waltrip was the voice of “Darrell Cartrip” in the hit Pixar movies, “Cars,” “Cars 2” and 2017’s “Cars 3,” and played himself in the Will Ferrell comedy hit, “Talladega Nights.” He also made a cameo in the 2017 movie “Logan Lucky.”
About FOX Sports
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing FOX Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, the business has ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing relationships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Network; FS1, FS2, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes. FOX Sports’ digital properties include FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports App, which provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content, instant scores, stats and alerts to iOS and Android devices. Additionally, FOX Sports and social broadcasting platform Caffeine jointly own Caffeine Studios, which creates exclusive eSports, sports and live entertainment content. Also included in FOX Sports’ portfolio are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that established the FOX Sports Radio Network.