Darrell Waltrip’s Racing Hero Was AJ Foyt

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By Keith Waltz

During an impressive 28- year NASCAR career, Darrell Waltrip, a former driver and team owner, won three Cup championships and logged 84 wins before turning his attention to broadcasting in 2001.

Waltrip is known as one of the most vibrant personalities of NASCAR’s 66-year history, aggressive behind the wheel and very insightful behind the microphone.

Long before becoming one of the sport’s most iconic stars, the Owensboro, Ky. native patterned himself after a legendary champion of open-wheel IndyCar racing and winner of the Indianapolis 500 four times in 1961, ’64, ’67 and ’77.

“When I was growing up, I thought A.J. Foyt was the coolest guy I had ever seen race for a number of reasons,” Waltrip said. “He always wore red gloves and ared bandana.

“So when I raced at Whitesville (KY.) in my little modified early on, I wore red gloves and a red bandana and a red hoody. In that car, I sat right in the middle and straddled the drive shaft. It had a big back window opening and that red hoody would fly out the back. (Laughter) I had all that red on like A.J. and boy, I was something else!

“As it turned out, many years later A.J. and I drove the 24 Hours of Daytona race together as teammates one year. He was someone that I admired and respected.”