Michael Waltrip’s final start to come in 2017 Daytona 500 – Nascar

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FOX Sports analyst Michael Waltrip will make one final run at the Daytona 500 next month and then call it a career in NASCAR.

Waltrip, 53, made the announcement in a release with sponsor Aaron’s on Thursday afternoon. He is a two-time winner of the “Great American Race,” prevailing in the Daytona International Speedway opener in 2001 and 2003. Should he qualify for the 40-car field in the “Aaron’s #15 Thanks Mikey Toyota,” it would mark his 30th consecutive start in the Daytona 500. Waltrip has had more than a 17-year association with the company. It was unclear which team would back his efforts.

“I have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows at the Great American Race,” Waltrip said in the release. “But when you are a NASCAR racer who has the privilege of racing here, you love Daytona no matter what happens. In my 30th and final Daytona 500, I am just going to enjoy every moment and be happy that Aaron’s has given me one more opportunity to hoist the Harley J. Earl trophy.”

Waltrip has four victories in 783 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. All of those triumphs have come on restrictor-plate tracks — three at Daytona and one at Talladega Superspeedway.

Waltrip has been a part of FOX Sports’ coverage of NASCAR’s top division since 2012. The Kentucky native has entered no more than four races a year — primarily at Daytona and Talladega — for the last seven seasons.

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