Michael Waltrip is a former stock car racing driver, racing commentator, and published author. Waltrip is a two-time winner of the Daytona 500, having won the race in 2001 and 2003. He is also a pre-race analyst for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and color commentator for the Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcasts for Fox Sports.
Waltrip began his career racing go-karts in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. His stock car racing career took off in 1981, when he won the Mini-Modified division track championship at Kentucky Motor Speedway.
In 1983, Waltrip won the NASCAR Dash Series championship. Soon after, he moved to North Carolina, where he resided with NASCAR racing legend Richard Petty and his wife Lynda.
In 1985, Waltrip started five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) events for Richard (Dick) Bahre, making his debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May. The following year, Waltrip completed his first full season in the Cup Series, finishing 19th in the point standings driving for Bahre. Waltrip drove for James (Jim) Smith from 1999 to 2000 in the Cup Series. In 2001, Waltrip moved to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) to drive the NAPA AUTO PARTS racecar. The racing veteran earned a total of four wins during his five seasons at DEI, including Daytona 500 victories in 2001 and 2003.
In 2007, Waltrip not only competed for the 2007 NSCS championship in the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, but also expanded his role as a full-time car owner of MWR that included three Sprint Cup teams and a NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) team. Waltrip and his teammates, 1999 NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett and rookie David Reutimann, led Toyota’s efforts during the manufacturer’s first year in NSCS competition. Waltrip also opened the doors of his one-of-a-kind race shop and fan experience, Michael Waltrip Racing.
The 2008 season saw Waltrip qualify his No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry on the front row of the 50th running of the Daytona 500. On Oct. 26 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, he achieved an impressive milestone when he made his 1,000th NASCAR start. Waltrip, Mark Martin and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty are the only drivers to have accomplished the feat.
In 2009, Waltrip celebrated his 25th season in NASCAR’s premiere division and ninth season with sponsor NAPA AUTO PARTS. In May, in front of a live audience and televised on SPEED, Waltrip announced MWR’s sponsorship extension with NAPA, his plans to drive a limited schedule in 2010 and his successor Martin Truex Jr. to drive the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota.
He’s an analyst for its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcasts and was an original member of one of the longest running shows on the cable network, “This Week in NASCAR” 1996-2009.
Waltrip wrote a New York Times best-selling book, published in 2011, called In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day that Changed Everything.
In 2014 he traded the racetrack for the ballroom as a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars."
Waltrip raced in the 2017 Daytona 500, driving the No. 15 Toyota Camry for Premium Motorsports, and ended his NASCAR career with an eighth-place finish.
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