|Darrell Waltrip and SMI CEO Marcus Smith|
Darrell Waltrip won a record five Coca-Cola 600s in his NASCAR Hall of Fame career as a driver. Before the popular FOX: NASCAR broadcaster's time in the booth winds to a close this year, Waltrip added more hardware to his trophy case on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. President and CEO Marcus Smith presented Waltrip with a special-edition Bruton Smith Trophy to commemorate his five-decade influence on NASCAR as well as his remarkable five victories in NASCAR's toughest test of man and machine in 1978, '79, '85, '88 and '89.
"This is the trophy you get when you win the Coca-Cola 600, but this is not the inscription you get on the trophy. This will be something I cherish forever," said Waltrip, whose special trophy includes a nod to each of his 600-mile wins and a thank-you for his contributions to NASCAR. "You have trophies, you have championships, you have wins, but friends are what really make the difference. Marcus has been a great friend to me for a long time. Bruton Smith has been one of my heroes since I started racing in NASCAR in 1972.
"It was a pleasure racing here all those years, but it's been even more of a pleasure to cover these races here for the last 19 years."
In addition to his successful history in the Coca-Cola 600, Waltrip won the first NASCAR All-Star Race in 1985 at Charlotte.
"DW is such a friend to everyone in the sport and certainly to me and my dad and to millions and millions of NASCAR fans," Smith said. "He's won more Coca-Cola 600s than any other driver and completely deserves this honor."