This year is the 10th anniversary of Michael Waltrip’s second Daytona 500 championship.
His first, and his first ever Sprint Cup victory, came in the 2001 race which will forever be remembered as the last for Waltrip’s then-owner and close friend Dale Earnhardt Senior.
Waltrip never got to fully celebrate what should have been one of the best moments of his life. Two years later, he took full advantage of every moment in victory.
Back then, the Daytona 500 champion would come back to Victory Lane and do brief interviews with all the local TV stations that were still around the infield. The rule was, you ask two questions and move on so everyone gets a chance and the driver isn’t hanging around for hours answering the same things over and over.
It was still raining when we had our turn. We had gathered a cork from a champagne bottle in the first celebration and decided to present it to Waltrip as a “memento” of his victory. Like the Earle Trophy wasn’t enough of a trinket!
Waltrip’s response is classic Michael, and one of the reasons we love to see him do well.