Darrell Waltrip Named Honorary Starter For Gatorade Duel Darrell Waltrip, five-time winner of the Gatorade Duel At Daytona and 1989 Daytona 500 champion, will serve as the Honorary Starter for the 50th annual Gatorade Duel At Daytona on Thursday, Feb. 14 at historic Daytona International Speedway.
Waltrip, who was also the first driver to wheel the famed green and white No. 88 Gatorade car for DiGard Racing, will wave the green flag for the first 150-mile Gatorade Duel At Daytona qualifying race, which is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
The Gatorade Duel at Daytona is a pair of 150-mile qualifying races that finalize the startling lineup for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, which is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 17.
“Darrell Waltrip is one of the legendary champions at Daytona International Speedway and it’s a true honor to have him atop of the flag stand to kick off the 2008 Gatorade Duel at Daytona,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “The competition is going to be fierce as drivers will vie for a starting spot in the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500.”
"This is our way of honoring Darrell Waltrip for his outstanding contributions to NASCAR racing and to the Gatorade brand," said Scott Paddock, Director of Sports Marketing for Gatorade. "When we launched our first relationship with stock car racing more than 30 years ago, Darrell was a rookie driver and Gatorade was an emerging business. Who could have imagined the amazing success we’ve enjoyed together over the years?"
“Gatorade was my first big sponsor and they put me on the map so to speak,” Waltrip said. “Many drivers feared the Gatorade green, the orange lighting bolt, that big 88 on the door and my name on the roof. That was a winning combination. As far as waving the green flag, I can't wait to feel the power at Daytona. I am truly humbled that after all these years, Gatorade still considers me part of the family.”
Waltrip, who is a three-time NASCAR champion, owns 14 victories at DIS and captured wins in the Gatorade Duel in 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1988.
The 2007 winners of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona were Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports and Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing