From “Boogity! Boogity! Boogity!” to boogie shoes, the Waltrip brothers have extended their careers well past their time behind the wheel in NASCAR races to team ownerships, car dealerships, NASCAR network TV analysis and beyond.
Darrell Waltrip, 67, the three-time NASCAR Cup series champion, is now famous for his “Boogity!” catchphrase he yells on national TV at the drop of each green flag to start races.
Michael, 51, a successful driver for nearly 30 years and winner of two Daytona 500s in 2001 and 2003, will soon gain national fame wearing dancing shoes each week as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Waltrip will exchange his boogie shoes for fire-resistant driving shoes Saturday night as he competes for Roseville’s Bill McAnally Racing in the Toyota/Napa Auto Parts 150 at All American Speedway in Roseville.
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McAnally will field five cars for Saturday’s event that benefits the Placer County Breast Cancer Endowment. McAnally and Waltrip met through their affiliation with racing sponsors and have become friends.
“We’re both NAPA guys,” Waltrip said. “But Bill is also a friend of NASCAR, and I appreciate everything he does for the sport. So when he asked me to lend a helping hand, I said, ‘Sure. I’ll be there.’ And when he asked me to drive, I said I’d be happy to do that.”
Waltrip said he’ll arrive in Roseville on Friday night for a sponsors’ dinner; on Saturday morning, he and “Dancing with the Stars” partner Witney Carson will find a suitable dance space in Roseville to practice for Monday’s show.
“The producers of the show asked me if I’d be interested in competing and I said yes almost instantly,” Waltrip said. “Then I hung up and said, ‘Shoot, I don’t know how to dance.’”
Despite low scores each week, Waltrip has advanced through four eliminations. He said this week’s theme is disco, so the boogie shoes will be put to good use.
“This whole dancing thing has been way out in left field for me,” Waltrip said. “But the experience has been amazing. It’s a lot of hard work to get the routines down. It’s been crazy, and I can’t believe how much better I’ve gotten, and that’s because of my great partners.”
Waltrip has dedicated himself to the dancing competition much as he did when he was a driver and now as a car owner for Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers. Bowyer is 18th in the Sprint Cup standings and Vickers is 22nd. Waltrip, who has driven three Sprint Cup races this season, is 45th.
And Waltrip expects to have a competitive car for Saturday’s race in Roseville.
“I’m comfortable with that track and the car,” Waltrip said. “The track at All American Speedway reminds me of the quarter-mile track I learned to race on in Kentucky. But I expect to win, and I’m coming to win, not just help Bill out.”
McAnally chuckled when told of Waltrip’s comment. McAnally has come to know Waltrip well, and Waltrip has driven for McAnally at least once a season since 2008. And they often cross paths at sponsorship events, such as Friday night’s event at McAnally’s racing and car care headquarters off Riverside Avenue in Roseville.
McAnally agreed Waltrip will have a top car capable of competing against the K&N Pro Series West leader Greg Pursley and title contender Dylan Lupton of Wilton, who is 15 points behind Pursley with two races remaining.
McAnally’s driver, Brandon McReynolds, is in third. McReynolds is the son of Darrel Waltrip’s Fox Sports colleague, Larry McReynolds, who will be the race’s grand marshal.
“(Waltrip) and I do share a lot of sponsorship ties with Napa, Peak and Toyota, but he’s become a good friend and it’s a great opportunity for local and up-and-coming drivers to measure up to someone who’s won two Daytona 500s,” McAnally said. “And now, with his popularity soaring because of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ it’s great to have a celebrity like him come to the Sacramento area and get behind the wheel.”
As Waltrip’s big brother would say, “Boogity! Boogity! Boogity!”
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at email@example.com or @editorwriter001.
IF YOU GO
▪ What: Toyota/Napa Auto Parts 150
▪ Where: All American Speedway, 800 All America City Blvd., Roseville
▪ When: Saturday: Mini-Cup at 6 p.m.; Media Blitz 100 at 6:30 p.m.; Pacific Coast Series 100 at 7 p.m.; K&N Pro Series West race at 8 p.m.
▪ Tickets: $30 (advance), $35 at gate; $15 juniors ages 6-12; VIP tickets $60 advance and $65 at gate
▪ Info: (916) 676-0010 or www.bmrnapa.com