Winston Cup Champion and Franklin, Tennessee, resident Darrell Waltrip was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, on February 5, 1947. In the early 1980s Waltrip was one of the new generation of drivers to take NASCAR racing to unprecedented heights of popularity and national visibility.
Waltrip’s Winston Cup racing career began in 1972; his first victory came three years later, on May 10, 1975, at the Music City 420 in Nashville. He won his first Winston Cup championship in 1981; he defended his title in 1982 and won again in 1985. His eighty-four career Winston Cup victories rank him third all-time going into the 2001 season. His fifty-nine Winston Cup poles (awarded the fastest qualifier for each race) ranks fourth all time, and he is one of only seven NASCAR drivers to have won at least three Winston Cup championships.
Waltrip won his last Winston Cup race in 1992 at Darlington, and he won the Daytona 500–the sport’s most prestigious race–in 1989. He was the first NASCAR driver to exceed over $10 million in winnings; his career total was over $19 million. He retired from driving after the 2000 season and joined the Fox television network’s broadcasting crew as a race commentator.
Waltrip opened a Honda dealership in his hometown of Franklin in 1986. He continues to reside there today. He married Stephanie “Stevie” Rader in 1969; they have two children, Jessica Leigh and Sarah Kailyn.