Once the most hated man in NASCAR, he evolved into a fan favorite and retired in 2000 tied for third on the alltime victory list, with 84. At 56 he's winning new fans as Fox's folksy NASCAR analyst.
SI: How much fun is talking about a race on TV compared with driving?
Waltrip: TV's more fun because everyone has to listen. I'm preaching to a 20-million-person choir. Driving, I just had a few folks in the garage area listening.
SI: You open every race broadcast saying "boogity-boogity-boogity" as the green flag drops. What's the story with that?
Waltrip: As kids we'd say, "This car can really boogie." Well, you can't say boogie-boogie. But boogity-boogity-boogity, it just sounded right.
SI: In 1964 you set a Kentucky high school record with a 2:02.04 in the 880-yard run. How'd you manage that?
Waltrip: They threw me a hubcap and hollered, "Police!"
SI: When you were growing up in Owensboro, Kentucky, the police once shot six times at your car. How come?
Waltrip: Me and my buddies were racing the cops, and it got a little out of hand. I think they were just trying to send me a message. And trust me, I received the message.
SI: You sometimes break into song in the booth. What's your favorite on-air ditty?