Despite today’s race having been covered by NBC Sports, Fox Sports Nascar commentator and former driver Michael Waltrip was seen conspicuously walking around the Talladega Superspeedway garage and pit area today, for reasons yet to be determined.
|"I brought my driver's suit!"|
“I thought it was kind of weird that Mikey was still here after covering yesterday’s Trucks race”, said driver and former MWR employee Clint Bowyer. “He came by and we talked for a little bit, I wanted to keep it light since it was only a half-hour before the race started, but he kept steering the conversation back to when he used to race.”
Waltrip, who scored one of his four points-paying Cup Series career wins at the vaunted track, appeared to be inspecting a number of cars’ roofs on the starting grid. Numerous fans heard him mutter “No roof hatches anymore—not like when I won it all here back in 2003 for Dale Sr.’s old team” to nobody in particular.
Waltrip later approached driver and former teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the lengthy pre-race ceremonies honoring Dale Jr. for his retirement from the sport. Waltrip’s appearance appeared to come as a surprise to Dale Jr., who was in the middle of an on-air interview when he was approached.
“Hey, remember when we used to double-team to get some wins out on the track!”, Waltrip told a mildly surprised Earnhardt, who mentioned not realizing that Waltrip “would be doing anything this weekend”. Despite the interview segment having ended, Waltrip was heard saying, “You know I wouldn’t miss a chance to give some winners’ advice here at Talladega or Daytona!”
Waltrip, whose career ended with several races each year only on the circuit’s restrictor plate tracks, was later seen during the race sitting alone in an unused room in the media center, and appeared to be talking to an unseen person.
"Chris, these cats have gotta keep it together at 200 miles per hour—and I know from first-hand experience just how hard it is to win one of these things”, Waltrip was overheard saying into a Pringles can fashioned to resemble a microphone. “Its just amazing what they can do out there, just like I used to.”