Darrell Waltrip will retire from his NASCAR broadcasting career after Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway. At least two cars in Waltrip's final race as a broadcaster will carry special paint schemes in his honor. The #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the #38 Front Row Motorsports Ford of David Ragan will don paint schemes reminiscent of paint schems on cars Waltrip owned and drove in 1997.
“Darrell Waltrip has meant a great deal to our sport as both a competitor and a member of the broadcast media,” RFR co-owner Jack Roush said. “The thing that stands out to me about Darrell is that after I just announced I was starting the team with Mark Martin, I was invited into a driver’s meeting that season. Darrell Waltrip was one of the first to welcome me into the fold and say, ‘Come on in Jack; we are going to have a lot of fun with you,’ and we sure have over the years.”
Stenhouse's car will have chrome numbers, a throwback to the Western Auto paint scheme on Waltrip raced regularly in 1997. Sunday's race will be the third Cup race in which Stenhouse's #17 carried a paint scheme honoring Waltrip. The other two were at Darlington Raceway during Southern 500 throwback weekends.
“With as much as he’s done in the sport on and off the track, Darrell will definitely be missed,” Stenhouse said. “I have enjoyed all the sit-downs and seeing his passion that he has for the sport. I’ve gotten to pay homage to him with two Darlington throwback schemes, so it will be extra special to drive his iconic paint scheme for his last appearance in the booth.”
Meanwhile, Ragan's paint scheme will be a throwback, of sorts, of the #17 paint scheme Waltrip had on his car to celebrate his 25th season of NASCAR competition in 1997. Ragan's car will be white, though. Waltrip's version of the car was chromed.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to run this scheme during Darrell Waltrip’s last race as a broadcaster with FOX,” Ragan said. “We’ve developed a great relationship over the years, and he’s truly been an asset to our sport. It still gives me chills listening to replays of him calling my Talladega win in 2013. His enthusiasm for racing is unmatched, and I know we will all miss seeing him up in the booth each week. All I can say is, ‘Thanks, D.W.'”
Ragan's car also will have Waltrip's face on the hood, along with the driver-turned-broadcaster's catchphrase, "Boogity, boogity, boogity."
Waltrip has been a member of the NASCAR on FOX broadcast team since 2001. He retired from full-time competition as a Cup Series driver at the end of 2000. He won 84 races throughout his top-level NASCAR career and was a three-time champion [1981, '82 and '85]. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012, making him a part of the third class of inductees into the Hall.