Darrell Waltrip entered the 1992 Bojangles’ Southern 500 on a hot streak and was looking for more.
The three-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion and owner of 83 career victories (at the time) traveled to Darlington Raceway that summer for the annual Labor Day Southern 500 weekend festivities with momentum after winning at Bristol Motor Speedway and posting a second-place showing at Michigan International Speedway the two races prior.
Little did Waltrip know that after winning the Bojangles’ Southern 500 for his 84th career win, it would be the last time he visited Gatorade Victory Lane in NASCAR’s top series. It was also his first and only Bojangles’ Southern 500 victory (his other four wins at Darlington were in spring events).
“It was interesting, because we didn’t have the fastest car in the field for sure. All eyes were on Davey Allison trying to win the Winston Million that weekend and no one was looking at us to compete for the win,” Waltrip said. “It ended up being a rain-shortened event about 5-6 laps after I took the lead and was in front of Mark Martin. The race never got restarted so I got the victory, which I never would have thought would be my last Cup victory in the sport.
“It was pretty remarkable that up to that point all my wins at Darlington were in spring races and I had never won a Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend,” Waltrip continued. “I was fortunate that the weather gods were on our side that day and we were able to get the lead and keep it with around 70 laps to go in the race. I hated it for Davey, because he had a great car and raced up front most of the day, but they pitted 12 laps before the rain came and could never get back up front. It is a victory I will cherish forever despite the circumstances of how it played out.”
Waltrip competed in NASCAR’s top series for another eight seasons until 2000 and posted nearly 40 top-10 finishes in those years but another trip to Gatorade Victory Lane eluded him. Despite that, Waltrip is considered one of the sport’s all-time greatest drivers, culminating with his election into the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s third induction class in 2012.
Waltrip’s 84 career NASCAR Cup Series is tied for fourth all-time with Bobby Allison, just one ahead of current driver Jimmie Johnson, who has 83 (who is tied with Cale Yarborough).
“I can’t complain about my career at all. I’m fortunate that I had so much success in NASCAR over a nearly 30 year career. We won a few championships and a lot of races and I’m blessed to still be part of it with my television career. It’s been a great ride for sure,” Waltrip concluded.
Darrell Waltrip by the numbers: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Wins – 84 (tied for fourth all-time with Bobby Allison)
Poles – 59
Top-5 Finishes: 276
Top-10 Finishes: 390
Laps Led: 23,134
Most wins at track: Bristol Motor Speedway (12), Martinsville Speedway (11), North Wilkesboro (10)
*Darlington Raceway is celebrating the 1990-94 era for its Bojangles’ Southern 500 Throwback Weekend on Aug. 31-Sept. 1. As part of the celebration, the track Too Tough To Tame is highlighting specific moments and icons in the sport’s history each month leading into the Labor Day race weekend.
Darlington Raceway’s award-winning throwback campaign is The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR featuring the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup SeriesBojangles’ Southern 500® on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 at 6 p.m. on NBCSN. The NASCAR XFINITY Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 will race on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019 at 4 p.m. on NBC. Tickets are on sale now by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com.
Darlington Raceway PR