Waltrip Recalls Ups, Downs of Racing Career

Published on April 14, 2014 by Sean Flynt  
Samford University’s Journalism and Mass Communication Department and Talladega Superspeedway hosted NASCAR legend and Fox Sports analyst Darrell Waltrip on Samford’s campus April 15.

The free public event included a talk by Waltrip, games, refreshments and a silent auction and raffle benefitting the Feed the Children Charity, a non-profit organization providing necessary resources to children across the globe.

During his talk in Reid Chapel, Waltrip emphasized the rewards and challenges of life lived at 200 MPH. Reviewing his passion for racing, from his Kentucky childhood through his 1972 Talladega debut and his retirement in 2000, Waltrip led a rapt audience on a tour of a champion’s career.

Waltrip also described the 1983 crash that he said “knocked me conscious” with the sense that his success had lapped his faith. He emphasized how important his Christianity became to him through the ups and downs of a sport in which victory and loss or even life and death can be decided in milliseconds. “The highs are never as high as the lows are low,” Waltrip said, but faith, family and friends sustained him in both.

After the talk, the Samford community braved chilly temperatures to mingle with Waltrip and Talladega Superspeedway employees in Ben Brown Plaza, where Waltrip’s vintage #88 Gatorade car and the Talladega Superspeedway pace car provided a unique photo opportunity for race fans.

The charity auction and raffle included many signed NASCAR items, including a trip for two to Fox Sports' "Hollywood Hotel" at the April 19 Talladega race. Winners will watch the entire pre-race broadcast with Waltrip, his brother Michael, Chris Myers and other NASCAR on Fox staff.

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ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY -- Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,509 students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.