Darrell Waltrip Talks About His Lifelong Connection to Broadcast - myfoxcarolinas.com

Darrell Waltrip Talks About His Lifelong Connection to Broadcasting

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This Sunday, the NASCAR on FOX broadcast team will call their final Sprint Cup Series race of the 2014 season. The announcers in the booth, comprised up of Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Mike Joy, have been calling races together since the 2001 season.

For Darrell Waltrip, it seems broadcasting is in his blood. He got his start in Nashville co-hosting a racing-themed television show.

"I loved it," said Waltrip. "I didn’t even know we were on camera. I’ve never thought about it that way. I’ve never thought about, “Hey, someone’s gonna see this besides us.”

At the track, he was known for his willingness to go in front of the camera and talk with the media. It drew some criticism from other members of the garage and Waltrip eventually gained a new nickname.

"Jaws," said Junior Johnson, Waltrip's former car owner. “He don’t fit that now, he was trying to arouse people, especially Earnhardt.”

Waltrip commented, “Well, they all said I talked too much, but the bottom line was they didn’t talk any.”

During his racing career, Waltrip would host various shows and even serve as an analyst for certain races. Unbeknownst to him, he was building valuable experience for his career with NASCAR on FOX. His first race, following his retirement from the Sprint Cup Series, was the 2001 Daytona 500.

“There’s no building up. There’s no practice. Your first race is the Superbowl, it’s the Daytona 500," Waltrip said. "It’s been one of the most competitive Daytona 500's we have had in a long, long time. My brother’s leading. My brother’s never won a race. He’s driving Dale Earnhardt’s car."

Waltrip found himself in a position to call the race but also cheer for his brother, Michael.

"Well, as they're coming to the line to get the flag," he said. "I saw the 3 car shoot up the track. Then, Michael crossed the line. A lot of emotion and I’m excited. I’m going to go to Victory Lane and celebrate. This is huge."

It was a few minutes later that Waltrip received some devastating news. His brother's car owner, Dale Earnhardt, had died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500.

D.W.s complete story on the 2001 Daytona 500

“That was my first race and it was sort of baptismal by fire," he said. "I mean, you know, it couldn’t have gone any better to end up any worse.”

As Waltrip winds down another season calling races for FOX, he still seems to enjoy his second career.

"TV is fun. I love being up there. I get to watch the whole race. And you don’t edit it down and you don’t get a second chance. You call it like you see it and hope you get it right.”

NASCAR on FOX's final 2015 Sprint Cup Series race airs Sunday, June 1 at 1 p.m. on MY Fox Carolinas.

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