DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 25, 1998) Numerous sources have indicated that three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip will be announced as the driver of the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc., ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 25, 1998)
Numerous sources have indicated that three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip will be announced as the driver of the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc., until its regular driver, Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Steve Park, recovers from injuries suffered in a crash earlier this month.
Pennzoil and DEI plan a major announcement regarding an interim driver on Friday at 10 a.m. EST in the infield media center at Bristol Motor Speedway, where NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will compete in Sunday's Food City 500.
Waltrip is also expected to announce the sale of his Darrell Waltrip Motorsports team at that time. Waltrip had placed the team for sale after he was forced to cancel a sponsorship contract with a company that failed to make its scheduled payments. However, the Chevrolet Waltrip will race at Bristol reportedly is the same car -- prepared in his own shop -- in which he qualified 23rd and finished 42nd in last August's Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Bristol after being involved in an accident. And his own crew will travel to Bristol to continue preparation of the car before the race.
Waltrip had indicated in recent TV news broadcasts in Charlotte, N.C., that he might create an alliance with a former bitter foe. Probably the most publicized clash between Waltrip and Earnhardt occurred in the 1995 running of The Winston all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, when the pair crashed near the end of the event while battling for the lead.
Park has been sidelined since suffering multiple injuries, most notably a broken femur, in an accident during practice on March 6 for the PRIMESTAR 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His return to racing is not anticipated for anywhere from three to six months.
The No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet has failed to qualify for three straight races after Park made the field for the Daytona 500 and GM Goodwrench Service Place 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham.
While Waltrip, 51, has had difficulty making races on qualifying speed, he has the potential protection of a "past champion's provisional" starting position, which he has used in four of five races this season.
Waltrip has won 84 NASCAR Winston Cup Series events in his career, which ties him for third on the all-time victories list with Bobby Allison. He has 11 victories on Bristol's high-banked half-mile. His last NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory came in 1992 in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Source: NASCAR Online