Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Darrell Waltrip (born February 5, 1947 in Owensboro, Kentucky) is a NASCAR driver, active from 1972 to 2000, who won three Winston Cup (now Nextel Cup) titles (1981, 1982, 1985) as well as the 1989 Daytona 500 stock car race. His 84 Winston Cup race wins are the most by any driver in NASCAR's modern era, which began in 1971.
Early in his career, his aggressive driving and outspoken style earned him the nickname "Jaws", a reference to the 1975 film about a killer shark. The nickname was given to Waltrip by rival Cale Yarborough in an interview after Waltrip crashed Yarborough out of a race. Waltrip himself preferred the nicknames "D.W." or "D-Dubya" but he did acknowledge Yarborough by displaying an inflatable toy shark in his pit at the next race.
At the heights of his NASCAR success in the early 1980s fans often booed Waltrip, but his wit and endearing silliness gradually won over the hearts of most of his critics. Once, as a crowd booed him in Victory Lane , Waltrip silenced the hostile audience by challenging them to "Boo if you love D.W."
Waltrip becomes a fan favorite
By the time he won the 1989 Daytona 500, fans loudly cheered the child-like exuberance of his post-victory celebration: shouting "I won the Daytona 500! I won the Daytona 500!" accompanied by a now-infamous "Ickey Shuffle" dance in Victory Lane. Of all of Waltrip's 84 victories, it was his only victory in the Daytona 500, NASCAR's premier event.
He is now a color commentator for the Fox network's NASCAR telecasts. As the cars take the green flag to start each race, Waltrip shouts "Boogity Boogity Boogity!", a meaningless phrase that has become his trademark in recent years. (The phrase appears in the 1960 doo wop parody "Who Put The Bomp" by Barry Mann.) Waltrip also owns a Honda and Volvo dealership in Franklin, Tennessee
His younger brother Michael Waltrip is currently a top NASCAR driver, and winner of the Daytona 500 in 2001 (the race in which Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash) and 2003. He and Earnhardt were close friends, and the finish of the 2001 race was an obviously emotional one for him, as he was torn between joy over seeing his brother take the flag and concern over Earnhardt's condition.
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