BRISTOL, Tenn. — Former NASCAR driver and current FOX TV analyst Darrell Waltrip formally announced his retirement from the NASCAR television booth Friday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway. Waltrip has often faced criticism from fans and media about his favoritism towards Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch.
Waltrip addressed his actions and simply admitted that he is a fan of the driver and admitted that when a driver is putting on a show, someone is gonna talk about it.
“When I stand up there on Sunday and do this race, I’m in one of those cars. I don’t know which one I’ll be in yet. Most people think I’d be in Kyle Busch’s car, which I love Kyle Busch, he’s fun to watch.
“And am I biased? You’re darn right I am. Everybody in this room is. One way or another, when you write a story, when you tell somebody something, you always have to put your own kinda spin on it, you’re own personal opinion.
“We’re all guilty of that. I don’t care if you say ‘No, no, well, I went to journalism school, I sit on my hands and I don’t clap.’ Well that’s bullcrap. Cause we all do. That’s what I’ve done and that’s what I know. I’m a race fan. I love it when the guys put on a show. When they get on the track and somebody’s putting on a show, I’m gonna talk about them.”
During the press conference, Waltrip was asked if there is a current driver in the sport that reminds him of himself. Again, Waltrip admitted that the driving style Kyle Busch has reminds him of his own.
“I honestly believe, and people get on me all the time because people think I’m on his payroll or something or because he drives a Toyota, but Kyle Busch is the most exciting driver I’ve ever seen drive a stock car.
“The things I’ve seen him do. We were at California and he come through the pack and he went three-wide in places where there wouldn’t room but for two. I saw him do it at Texas this passed week. The man puts on a show. I used to say, are you with the show, no I am the show.
“Well he can say when he is in the race, he is the show. We keep a camera on him. We keep an eye on him because we know he’s gonna do something that’s gonna be exciting and fun to watch. I think Kyle has grown up a lot, think he’s changed a lot, but his driving, he hadn’t let up. He’s got a lot of wins ahead of him, but I’m a Kyle Busch fan.”
Although the official announcement is over now, Waltrip will still be in the NASCAR on FOX booth for the next 10 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekends. After the Toyota / Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, California on June 23rd, the 72-year-old will officially call it quits.
Matt Courson is the Managing Editor for The Racing Experts. Courson has covered NASCAR events at 19 of the 23 active racetracks. When not at the track, the 20-year-old Journalism major enjoys spending time with family and playing Ingress.