Darrell Lee Waltrip is a former three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion as well as the 1989 Daytona 500 winner. At the moment Waltrip is working at Fox Broadcasting Company as a television race commentator. His racing days started off in Kentucky, but with his growing success it led him to move to Nashville, Tennessee. There he raced at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds on the Nashville Speedway USA, where he won two track championships. Darrell Waltrip did a lot to help promote races by appearing on the local television program, something many other competitors refused to do.
In 1972 Waltrip started in the Cup level driving an old Mercury Cyclone, which was his primary car during the first few seasons. At the Cup level races Darrell drove aggressively and was known for his outspoken style, which earned him the nickname “Jaws” as given by his rival Cale Yarborough. The year 1980 was the height of Waltrip’s NASCAR success but at the same time it was where he had to endure criticism from his fans. Eventually he used his wit and silliness to win their hearts over.
Darrell Waltrip had much success with Junior Johnson, a car owner, winning three national championships. However, there was concern with Waltrips involvement with Budweiser as it created this image of alcohol, fast cars, and success. With that Darrell Waltrip made a move to Hendrick motors. In 1989 Waltrip won the Daytona 500 for the first time in his entire race career. That same year a lot of pressure was placed on Darrell to win one more race, that being the Heinz Southern 500 in Darlington. If he did so, he would earn himself one million dollar bonus for having won four majors in one season.
However he did not cope well with the pressure as he also had the added strain of winning the Career Grand Slam. This led to him hitting the wall early on in the race, putting him out of the race as a contender. The year 1990 also proved unsuccessful. While practicing for the Pepsi 400, Waltrip spun out in another car’s oil and suffered a broken leg, two broken arms and a concussion.
Darrell retired from racing in 2000 and upon retirement signed up with Fox as an analyst on the network’s NASCAR telecasts.
Located in Gladeville, Tennessee, the Nashville Superspeedway is a concrete track which is oval in shape and measures roughly 2.145 km (1.333 miles) in length. It is situated about 30 miles east of Nashville and was built in 2000. There are currently only three concrete tracks on the NASCAR circuit and the Nashville Superspeedway is one of them. The track is owned by Dover Motorsports and it currently hosts four major races each year – two NASCAR Nationwide Series races (the Pepsi 300 and the Federated Auto Parts 300), one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and one Indy Racing League event.
The Nashville Superspeedway has a seating capacity of 50 000 with the potential to be expanded to 150 000 should the track be chosen to host a Sprint Cup Series event though currently NASCAR has shown little interest in doing so. In fact it would seem that there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding Dover Motorsports’ unwillingness to move either of its two most successful races from the Dover International Speedway to the Nashville Superspeedway. This has resulted in NASCAR’s unwillingness to allow the track to host a Sprint Cup event which has resulted in it being the only track to host two Nationwide Series events and not be included on the Sprint Cup calendar.
The track is called a ‘superspeedway’ as it is slightly longer than a mile as opposed to a ‘speedway’ which is traditionally shorter than a mile. The use of the term in the name helps to differentiate it from the Nashville Speedway USA, which is 0.596 miles in length. The Speedway can be found at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. The Speedway originally conducted a number of races in the Winston Cup Series but this was eventually stopped due to disagreements over track management.
The Superspeedway near Nashville has at least one interesting tradition worth mentioning, that of presenting race winners with specially-designed Gibson Les Paul guitars instead of trophies. While these may take up more space on the trophy shelf, they have a functional purpose as well as a special uniqueness which makes them that much more special. The Nashville Superspeedway in Tennessee is also known for producing a large number of first-time winners.