LOS ANGELES (Aug. 10, 2000) The inaugural season of NASCAR on FOX already had landed the services of one of the most colorful and successful drivers in the history of stock-car racing. Now the network also has secured one of the sport's most genial crew chiefs.
Larry McReynolds will join three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip as a race analyst when the network begins broadcasting NASCAR Winston Cup Series events next season, FOX announced Wednesday.
McReynolds and Waltrip will form two-thirds of the team in the NASCAR on FOX broadcast booths. A play-by-play announcer will be announced at a later date, as will pit reporters and an on-site pre-race show team, the network said.
"While everyone knows that Darrell agreed to join the NASCAR on FOX team several months ago, today's announcement makes it official," said Ed Goren, president and executive producer of FOX Sports. "Hiring Darrell for the premiere season of NASCAR on FOX was like hiring John Madden for the first year of the NFL on FOX. He gives us instant credibility with the sport's strong, loyal fan base. DW has a natural enthusiasm, an in-depth driver's perspective and a homespun sense of humor that will make him easy and fun to listen to."
McReynolds, 41, has 23 years of racing experience. He has been a NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief since 1985, and has worked at Richard Childress Racing since 1997.
McReynolds, whose intentions to leave RCR were announced earlier Wednesday, has been doing some part-time television analyst work in recent years, earning high marks for his gentlemanly demeanor and folksy style of delivery.
"The television work he's done has been outstanding, and he has the respect of everyone in the garage area," Goren said. "Larry's crew experience, combined with Darrell's 29 years behind the wheel, will make us ready for just about anything a race can throw at us."
McReynolds began at RCR as crew chief for Dale Earnhardt and the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolets. They combined for what is arguably the biggest victory in Earnhardt's career, the 1998 Daytona 500.
In the middle of the '98 season, RCR made an internal crew chief swap, and McReynolds joined driver Mike Skinner on the No. 31 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolets. In their 74 points races together, Skinner and McReynolds have earned three poles, 10 top-5 and 30 top-10 finishes.
McReynolds' career as a NASCAR mechanic began in 1975 as a hobby. After 11 years of toiling as a general mechanic for a variety of teams, McReynolds landed his first crew chief position with King Racing in 1986.
Veteran driver Ricky Rudd brought home McReynolds' first victory as a crew chief at Watkins Glen in 1988.
In 1991, McReynolds joined Robert Yates Racing, where he enjoyed success with the late Davey Allison. The team recorded back-to-back victories in The Winston at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1991 and 1992, and was a championship contender each season.
Robert Yates Racing flourished under McReynolds' direction, especially after adding a second team with driver Dale Jarrett. With McReynolds as team manager for both the Texaco/Havoline Ford of Ernie Irvan and the Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford of Jarrett, the teams finished third and 10th, respectively, in the 1996 point standings.
McReynolds' success and thorough approach to his crew chief responsibilities earned him selection to the Copenhagen/Skoal All-Pro Team for five consecutive years (1991-1995), an all-star who's who of crew members.
Waltrip, 53, is in the midst of his 29th and final NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. He won series titles in 1981, 1982 and 1985). His 84 career victories rank him third on the all-time list, and he won an astonishing 24 races through his back-to-back championship seasons.
Waltrip is the first three-time winner of the America Driver of the Year Award (1979, 1981-82) and the only five-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600. In 1981, Waltrip won a modern-era record eight races from the pole and tied the all-time record of four straight.
He was named the National Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year in 1977 and 1981-82; Auto Racing Digest Driver of the Year in 1981-82; and Tennessee Professional Athlete of the Year in 1979.
His most memorable victory was the 1989 Daytona 500, his lone career triumph in the event known as the Super Bowl of NASCAR racing.