At the conclusion of the 59th running of the Daytona 500 this year, Michael Waltrip climbed out of the car for the final time. The two-time Daytona 500 winner was sure that his 30th appearance in the Great American Race was meant to be his last.
“I just thought it was a cool place to run my last race,” he said in an interview with Motorsport.com prior to the event. “I’ve been thinking about calling it a day over the last couple years, and this just seemed like the perfect time to do it, so I’m looking forward to my opportunity to go out there and compete one last time and then sort of slow down, I guess.”
But he hasn’t found a way to slow down quite yet. Michael remains a frequent visitor to the Fox Sports broadcast booth, recently adding his valuable input during the July 19 broadcast from Eldora Speedway.
And that’s just the way he likes it.
“I went straight into TV and into the booth right from racing, so its cool,” he said during a recent interview with Rare Country. “I still get to be with the competitors, and drivers, and teammates and that energy that surrounds the sport.”
And he’s predicting that another soon-to-retire driver will follow in his footsteps.
“I bet Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. will wind up on TV, and that will definitely help his transition into retirement,” Michael tells Rare Country. “Its what Jeff Gordon did and my brother [Darrell Waltrip] did. It’s a natural transition around this sport.”