Waltrip hopes NASCAR career ends on high note

Tricia Pearson
February 25, 2017

But he's not going away. Man, when I'm trying to get into the Daytona 500, if my mom was in that spot, I'd probably wreck her, too.

In addition to a bunch of drivers with a realistic shot at winning, everyone must face the unknown of NASCAR's new race format that separates each race into three stages.

Waltrip, 53, isn't stopping cold turkey; he hasn't driven a full season since 2009. The two powerhouse teams are Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon -2008 Indy 500 winner, 2015 Champion, Tony Kanaan - 2013 Indy 500 Winner, Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton) and Team Penske (Josef Newgarden - who finished fourth in the championship last season, Will Power - 2014 Champion, Juan Pablo Montoya - 2000 and 2016 Indy 500 Winner, Simon Pagenaud - 2016 Season Champion and Helio Castroneves a three-time Indy 500 Winner). In many ways, the race will resemble last weekend's Clash. I can't sit here and say I know exactly how I'm going to react in those situations with confidence. Edwards retired at the end of past year without ever winning it.

"I thought Chase did an awesome job", McMurray said.

Dale Junior's final season - I hope I'm wrong, but it's hard to see Junior racing much longer, or perhaps even finishing out the season. "I enjoy going there".

You could never accuse Waltrip of not hustling.

With just over 20 laps remaining, Elliott powered around Keselowski to take the lead for the first time. The win makes Elliott only the third driver in NASCAR history to win both the pole for the Daytona 500 and a Duel in the same season. That spring afternoon, he won his first of two 500s, breaking a 462-race non-winning streak, only to have his team owner, friend and icon Dale Earnhardt die on the last turn of the last lap.

Elliott made some daring moves in the race to work his way to the front, including one to get around then-leader Keselowski to take the lead on Lap 37.

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"I don't know how it will affect me", he said. "I'm looking forward to it though". Biffle accepted a recurring role as a guest analyst on NBC Sports' "NASCAR America" show. - Jeffrey Earnhardt, on the marriage of his uncle Dale Earnhardt Jr.to Amy Reimann on New Year's Eve.

It was the greatest day of Waltrip's life.

"That was special", Busch said "I asked him Saturday night leaving the track, 'If you think about it, I'd love to do a helmet swap with you'. But that's racing, I guess".

"It's just what I live with", Waltrip noted.

"I think that's the biggest thing - it's going to change the strategy", said Kevin Harvick, the 2007 Daytona 500 victor. I think we're pretty competitive. And that was Dale's day. I was the ideal person to win because I just wanted to give him the credit.

"You know when he said something about having 12 concussions I was like, 'Oh I'm sure I've had 12 concussions.' I think that we all like to sweep it under the rug as drivers like we feel fine".

(Elliot) "Daytona was certainly a struggle for us a year ago, just as far as as you getting in wrecks or wrecking and tearing up a lot of cars". But it was also not without controversy, as rain ended the race after 109 of the scheduled 200 laps. In 15 starts at the 2.5-mile track, he has one win, three top fives and four top 10s.

What we're talking about: last Sunday's qualifying sprint for the first four spots on the raceday grid (which saw Hendrick Motorsports upstart Chase Elliott win the pole for the second straight year), the subsequent all-star showcase (which saw Logano grab the checkers) and Thursday's two Can-Am race (which sets the rest of Sunday's running order).

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