Healthy Waltrip Relishing Anniversary
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on February 18, 2014 | 5:13 P.M. EST
Darrell Waltrip, shown celebrating his 1989 Daytona 500 win, is recovering from emergency gallbladder surgery. (Photo: ISC Archives)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Darrell Waltirp is back in Daytona just in time for his Fox broadcasting duties and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Daytona 500 win.
Waltrip missed last weekend’s Sprint Unlimited and Sprint Cup qualifying because of emergency gallbladder surgery.
“I feel great,’’ Waltrip said. “I had no idea I had anything wrong. I just got sick all of a sudden. I was getting ready to leave to come down here. Next thing you know I was rushed into the emergency room and they took out my gallbladder. I should be good for Thursday and Sunday no problem.
“Being at home, watching the guys, watching somebody else do your job is like watching somebody else run your racecar. It wasn’t any fun.’’
Today marks the anniversary of Waltrip’s only Daytona 500 victory. It came in his 17th attempt. Waltrip and crew chief Jeff Hammond used fuel strategy to beat Ken Schrader in 1989.
“Certainly every year when you come down here and they mention the winners of this race, it’s a big deal to have your name included in that crowd,’’ Waltrip said. “It’s really what we live for. This is the pinnacle. This race more than any other race that we run, there’s more preparation, there’s more pressure, there’s more joy than anything we do all year long. To have only one victory, I’m OK with it. It’s good to have that one victory down here.’’