DARLINGTON, S.C. — Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip has been named recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association‘s Myers Brothers Award for 2019.
The award, named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, was presented Thursday during the annual NASCAR Awards banquet held at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
The native of Owensboro, Kentucky, began his driving career in go-karts at age 12 in 1959 and graduated to stock cars by the mid-1960s. Numerous victories on area short tracks led to track championships at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Raceway in Nashville and further cemented his passion to be successful in NASCAR‘s premier Cup Series circuit beginning in the early 1970s.
Over a 30-year period, Waltrip became one of the greatest stars in NASCAR history, logging 84 career victories, including the 1989 Daytona 500. All three of Waltrip‘s Cup Series titles in 1981, 1982 and 1985 came while driving Chevrolets for driver-turned-owner Junior Johnson, a fellow NMPA Hall of Fame inductee. During his illustrious career, Waltrip also wheeled cars for Bud Moore Engineering, Digard Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. as well as his own team, to name a few.
Waltrip was named Driver of the Year in 1979, 1981 and 1982 and was chosen the Driver of the Decade for the 1980s. He was also awarded the NMPA Most Popular Driver in 1989 and in 1990 and named one of NASCAR‘s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
Upon his retirement from driving in 2000, Waltrip worked as analyst and race commentator for FOX Sports’ NASCAR telecasts from 2001 to 2019.
“I had no idea, this is a huge surprise,” Waltrip said. “To tell you the truth, Stevie (his wife) and I almost didn‘t come. That would have been really embarrassing. This is a thrill. What a thrill. I thought retirement, kind of, sucked. But maybe with these things before I me, I will enjoy it a little more.
“I am really humbled for this award. I am really appreciative, thank you so much.”
The Myers Brothers Award is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership. It recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock-car racing and has been presented annually since 1958.