Michael Curtis Waltrip was born on April 30 in 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky and is the younger brother of Darrell Waltrip who is the retired three-time NASCAR champion. By the time Waltrip was eleven, he knew he wanted to be just like his older brother. He started go-karting in Kentucky and traveled all the way to Indiana and Tennessee to compete. He won the mini-modified championship at the Kentucky Motor Speedway. He was able to get himself a place on the NASCAR Dash Series championship when he was just 20 years old.

His debut involved the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte while he finished at 20th and was 57th in points after five starts. A year later in 1986, he was runner up for the Rookie of the Year honor with 11th place finishes at Martinsville and Pocono. He made his first career top-ten finish in the next season when he went back to Martinsville. He made his debut in the Busch Series in 1988 while driving for his older brother’s time. He was lucky to get his first top-five finish in 1989. Lady luck blessed him again when he won the Winston Open in 1991 and got his first two career pole wins. An accident however, stopped him from winning the Southern 500. He won the Winston again in 1996 but did not perform as well over the next couple of years.

In 1999 he managed to scrap through to the 29th spot in points and went up two positions in points in the next year. In 2001, after he was brought on board by Dale Earnhardt, Inc, he finally managed to end his dry spell with his 2001 Daytona 500 win. He had another top ten finish in the Pepsi 400 and came in 24th overall. In 2002 he managed to repeat his career win but this time it was at the Pepsi 400 with a 14th position raise in points.

2003 turned out one of his better years when he made a career-high win in two races with his second Daytona 500 win and was in the top-five for most of the season. He hit another speed bump in 2004 and went down to the 20th spot in points. In 2001, Waltrip started up his own team with his former team owner Jasper but he failed to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. In 2007, Waltrip was involved in an accident in his Toyota Land Cruiser but he managed to win the pole at the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway even though he finished 25th after he was involved in a crash.

Although Waltrip is known for his feisty attitude on the tracks, he is a gentle bear amongst his fans. From the beginning of his career, Waltrip understood the importance of his fans to him and has always made time for them. His enigmatic personality has brought upon thousands upon thousands of fans who are drawn to him like moth to the fire. Waltrip also has the spirit of a fighter. He does not know how to give up and never will. He raised money for the Victory Junction Camp which amounted to one million dollars in just six months. Every time he says he will do something, he delivers. Waltrip is not only a driver but he lassos part-times as a commentator for the NASCAR Truck Series and he also helps hosts the weekly NASCAR show that is shown on the SPEED Channel. His easy going charm and his good looks have benefited him on and off the track. He plans a great plenty things for 2008 so all we have to do is sit back and wait for his delivery.


Source by Christopher DiCicco

NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip – From Boy to Superstar