Waltrip honored by championship panel By Marty Smith HAMPTON, Ga. (Nov. 19, 2000) Darrell Waltrip's last NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship party was thought to have been in 1985. That was before six champions assembled Sunday at Atlanta...
Waltrip honored by championship panel
By Marty Smith
HAMPTON, Ga. (Nov. 19, 2000) Darrell Waltrip's last NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship party was thought to have been in 1985. That was before six champions assembled Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway to honor one of NASCAR's greatest ambassadors.
Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott and Michael Waltrip each bestowed "Ol' DW" with a heartfelt gift, most of which included an intriguing story.
Wallace unveiled an illustration of the famous 1987 run-in between the two during The Winston, when Wallace spun Waltrip during NASCAR's All-Star event. He included a symbolic stack of money, which represented the "$200,000 I stole from you that day."
Earnhardt handed Waltrip a rocking chair, then sat in it while Waltrip thanked him. Labonte gave him a special commemorative "Champions" box of Corn Flakes complete with Waltrip's picture.
Gordon gave Waltrip a steering wheel with a picture from 1995 when they shared "Gentlemen of the Year" honors. Gordon thanked Waltrip for "steering NASCAR to what it's become." Waltrip then called Gordon "the classiest guy in NASCAR - ever."
Jarrett praised Waltrip for always staying true to himself, and helping NASCAR become a Christian-oriented institution. He handed his mentor a crystal cross.
Elliott's gift had some history. He had a broken shifter from the 1985 season finale at Riverside, Calif., an eight-dollar part failure that limited Elliott to a 31st-place finish, and enabled Waltrip to win his third and final NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship.
Michael Waltrip presented his older brother with a poster of them hugging following his 1996 victory in The Winston, his only trip to Victory Lane as a NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitor. He also handed his older brother a check for $200. "I borrowed this from you in 1986, told you I'd pay you back. So there you go." -nascar.com-