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Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain

As The Tennessean reported on April 5th, NASCAR legend and Owensboro, Kentucky’s own Darrell Waltrip announced his retirement after 19 years in the FOX broadcast booth.  With his homespun humor and signature “Boogity, boogity, boogity! Let’s go racin’, boys”, DW has cemented himself and set himself aside as a one of a kind announcer.  It’s one thing to have one long, distinguished career.  Waltrip has had two parts.  

The 72 year-old Franklin, Tennessee native raced from 1972-2000.  He amassed 84 wins in 809 races.  After 276 top 5’s, 390 top 10’s, 59 poles, 237,773 laps run, he retired from active racing at the dawn of the new millennium.  The 2001 Daytona 500 kicked off not only the season but FOX’s time with NASCAR.  It was Waltrip’s first race in the booth after 4 decades of racing.  His brother Michael had a mediocre winless career up to this point.  It must’ve been something to call, in your first race, your brother winning his first race.  That would also be the day Darrell’s friend Dale Earnhardt would crash fatally.  “I just hope Dale’s OK”, he said.  He wasn’t.

Everybody wants to know where “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity” originated.  I sure did.  And this particular Tennessean article provided the answer.  Sonoma 2001, FOX’s final race of that year(and where DW will call it a career in June) was when he first said his now-signature catchphrase.  Ever wonder where it originated? So did I. Here it is in DW’s own words: "I hated the way a race started on the radio," he said as we talked in his office. "The announcer would say, 'The green flag is in the air, and the cars race off into Turn 1.' Are you kidding me? That's the best we can do?"

Waltrip said he had that conversation one day with David Hill, who was then the head of Fox Sports. Hill gave Waltrip the green light to try something different at the beginning of races. Waltrip - who by this time was several years into his tenure at Fox as a broadcaster, which started in 2001 - was unsure what it should be.

"It was a Sunday morning in Darlington in '05 or '06," Waltrip recalled. "Now I love country music. I listen to it all the time. Ray Stevens is a really good friend of mine. We play golf together. His attorney is my attorney. So we know each other pretty well. … I'm listening to country radio and all of a sudden 'The Streak' comes on."

In his office Tuesday, Waltrip then broke into the chorus of the song, which was about a man streaking through various places in a small town and causing a commotion: "Here he comes - Boogity, boogity! There he goes - boogity, boogity!" And now you know.’s-the-origin-of-darrell-waltrip’s-‘boogity-boogity-boogity’-catachphrase/ar-BBVCWEl 

My natural next question was who would take Darrell’s spot in the booth (and will they be as biased towards Kyle Busch)? We’ll just have to wait and see.  


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