Darrell Waltrip Slated to Drive No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine at Martinsville Speedway Waltrip competes in NASCAR Busch Series event at Martinsville Speedway for the first time in his career ATLANTA (July 18, 2006) -- Aaron's Sales and Lease ...
Darrell Waltrip Slated to Drive No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine at Martinsville Speedway
Waltrip competes in NASCAR Busch Series event at Martinsville Speedway for the first time in his career
ATLANTA (July 18, 2006) -- Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership and Michael Waltrip Racing are pleased to be a part of Darrell Waltrip's (D.W.) long-awaited return to the NASCAR Busch Series occurring this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Since it has been slightly over a decade since Waltrip competed in the NASCAR Busch Series, Aaron's will run a special 'Another for a Brother' paint scheme to commemorate his return.
"When Martinsville Speedway was added, I knew it was my best shot to run the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine," said Waltrip. "I said man this is it. It's a Stevie approved track, but I still had to ask. When I mentioned it to her one day, I thought she was going to kill me. She said don't mention again and get it out of your system. Then, Michael asked me if I wanted to drive. I told him what she said, and if he wanted me to drive at Martinsville that he would have to talk to her. He did, but I didn't know about it. They schemed up the deal. At my roast earlier this year, Stevie handed me the Aaron's Dream Machine helmet to my surprise."
Waltrip has amassed 13 wins, four pole awards, 40 top-fives and 53 top-10s in 94 NASCAR Busch Series starts. Waltrip has 11 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series wins at Martinsville Speedway as well as eight pole awards, 27 top-fives and 31 top-10s in the division, but ironically he has never competed in a NASCAR Busch Series event at the .526-mile oval.
"I have never driven a NASCAR Busch Series car at Martinsville Speedway," Waltrip said. "I was telling Clay Campbell that his grandfather (Clay Earl) tried to get me to come up there, but he wouldn't pay me any deal money. I told him that he had to give me something even it was only $200 dollars or whatever. He said we just don't do that. He said we've never done it for Bobby Allison or Richard Petty or any driver. I told him that I'm just not going to race there and I never did in a Busch car. I did run my car there one time with Harry Gant driving it, but that was only because Dale Earnhardt was going there. The biggest reason I would never race there was because Mr. Earl would never pay me any deal money."
Waltrip's last NASCAR Busch Series race occurred in 1995 at Nashville Speedway USA, where he started first and finished eighth.
"I was driving Terry Labonte's car and I don't remember how the deal came about, but I wanted to run it," said Waltrip. "Both Bobby Labonte and Terry Labonte drove and I drove the third car. I qualified and got the pole. At the start of the race, we went off in the first turn and I was determined to lead the first lap. I want to say it was Randy LaJoie or Johnny Benson, but we slammed into each other going into Turn 1 and that knocked the front end out of whack. I still finished in the top-10, but that was last time I raced in a Busch car. I also had my own Busch cars for years. Earnhardt and I used to be big rivals with the Busch cars. Every year we'd go to Daytona to see who had the most chrome on their cars. We'd do all kinds of things to one up each other. Running the Aaron's Dream Machine this weekend brings back some good memories."
D.W. and his younger brother Michael Waltrip have both starred in a long-running ad campaign for Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership stores where Michael repeatedly denies D.W.'s requests to drive the Aaron's Dream Machine. According to Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership President Ken Butler, turning this marketing punch line into reality has been nothing short of a thrill.
"The Waltrip brothers are just quality people and Aaron's is so proud to have them represent our company," Butler said. "We are really excited that after all these years we are finally able to get D.W. into the Dream Machine for his first-ever Busch start at Martinsville. From the moment D.W.'s wife Stevie handed him the Dream Machine helmet back in March, the media and the fans have really followed this story and everyone involved has benefited from the extra exposure. Regardless of how the race turns out this weekend, we already feel like winners. And D.W. should feel the same way, too. We always say Aaron's makes 'Dreams Come True' and now we've made a great dream come true for our good friend Darrell Waltrip."
Waltrip agrees with Butler and is pleased that the ad campaign with his brother is coming to life.
"I kept saying we can't do this ad campaign forever and that there's got to be a pay off," Waltrip added. "Someday, somewhere, there has to be or it loses its significance. There really wasn't a place I could race except Indianapolis Raceway Park. So, when the rumors started floating around that they were going to have a race at Martinsville, I knew it was my only opportunity."
Michael Waltrip made it all possible for his elder brother to handle the driving chores for the first time in a NASCAR Busch Series entry at Martinsville Speedway.
"I wonder if NASCAR will allow him to run the 30 minute rookie practice session even though he's won at Martinsville 11 times in a Cup car," Waltrip said tongue-in-cheek. "Let's just say this is his first race at Martinsville in what could potentially be his final NASCAR race. I couldn't be happier to be Darrell's car owner. I've loved being a part of Darrell's racing career. By providing a way for D.W. to drive in the Busch race with the Aaron's Dream Machine, it's a great way for me to repay him."
Aaron's stores have reported strong demand for the limited-edition die cast 1:24 scale and 1:64 scale cars to commemorate D.W.'s special Dream Machine paint scheme for the race.
"I saw the car for the first time in person on Monday and it is beautiful," said Waltrip. "If it only had chrome numbers, it would have been perfect. I would have put them on there any way and then they could have changed them when we got there."
The Goody's 250 NASCAR Busch Series race will be televised live in NBC starting at 3:30pm Eastern time on Saturday, July 22.
-Michael Waltrip Racing