Darrell Waltrip’s Rain Dance Lives On 30 Years Later | Sports News
DARLINGTONCS – Thirty years ago, Darrell Waltrip literally danced through the record books – for both NASCAR and Darlington Raceway.
Entering the 1992 Southern 500, all Waltrip wanted was a win to cap off an already legendary career that would improve his overall rating to 84 career wins.
As the rain caused a delay with none other than Waltrip, 45, in the lead, he would do whatever was necessary to stop the cars from returning to the track.
So he danced… a rain dance.
And that’s it, it worked. What became the last Cup victory of Waltrip’s career was won.
“It’s the best rain dance I’ve ever done,” Waltrip told reporters after his 1992 victory. rain and we were running the thing, I thought, ‘I can’t be so lucky. It probably won’t be raining that long. We’ll go back to the pits and see what happens. I have to give credit to the man upstairs today, because it rained and we were up front.
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Waltrip, who won four spring races at Darlington (’77, ’79, ’81, ’84), is now in the NASCAR Hall of Fame and went on to a successful television career as a pit analyst with Mike Joy for Fox Sports (Waltrip retired from broadcasting in 2019).
But make no mistake. If Waltrip – a three-time Cup Series champion – hadn’t won the Southern 500, he would have felt a void in his career.
“I wanted to win the Southern 500 because it means a lot. …I don’t care if there’s an asterisk next to it, I won the sucker. It’s been on my mind ever since I won the Daytona 500 in 1989,” Waltrip said.
Speaking with Darlington media in 2017, Waltrip still can’t get over this moment.
“It was an interesting day; we didn’t have the best car,” Waltrip said. “Seems like sometimes you’re better off like that on a lot of race tracks – you don’t have the fastest car, but things seem to be working.
Simply put, sometimes things go a driver’s way.
“Davey (Allison) had a fast car, Alan Kulwicki had a fast car,” Waltrip said in 2017. “There were a number of them that were a bit better than us; we were just fair, mediocre. If you asked to people, “Does DW have a chance?” they would probably have said, ‘No.’
“Many times I had a car to beat in the Southern 500, I had really good cars and something went wrong. Just different things at different times, and nothing really worked. So 1992, it was really interesting.
Waltrip, nicknamed “Jaws” by Timmonsville native (and five-time Southern 500 winner) Cale Yarborough after Waltrip caused a crash that wiped them out of the 1977 Southern 500, had found redemption – in more ways than one .
Three years earlier, Waltrip had a shot at winning the Winston Million by taking the checkered flag in the Southern 500. But the Lady in Black had the upper hand.
“Like this spinster will, she reached out and grabbed me that day, so I couldn’t capitalize,” Waltrip recalled.
But he wanted another chance at Darlington.
Then that day, September 6, 1992, it was Waltrip who danced — and then walked away with a coveted Southern 500 trophy.
“The reason why this track has always been so important to all of us, no matter where and how long you’ve been doing this sport, everyone is like, ‘What’s the hardest track? What is the hardest race? Which track proves who is the best driver? “Waltrip said in 2016. “And it was always Darlington.