SONOMA, Calif.—Roush Fenway Racing will pay homage to Darrell Waltrip as the NASCAR champion and Hall of Famer turned FOX Sports analyst offers his final “Boogity, boogity, boogity,” at Sonoma Raceway this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who currently pilots the No. 17 Ford, will carry the iconic colors made famous by Waltrip during his days as a team owner with Western Auto as his primary sponsor.
Fifteen of Waltrip’s 84 NASCAR Cup victories were scored driving the No. 17 between 1987 and 1998.
“Darrell Waltrip has meant a great deal to our sport as both a competitor and a member of the broadcast media,” said fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Roush. “The thing that stands out to me about Darrell is that, after I just announced I was starting the team with Mark Martin, I was invited into a driver’s meeting that season.
“Darrell Waltrip was one of the first to welcome me into the fold and say ‘Come on in, Jack. We are going to have a lot of fun with you,’ and we sure have over the years.”
Waltrip retired from NASCAR competition after the 2000 season and has been in the FOX Sports booth since the broadcast partner made its debut in 2001. The three-time Cup champion announced on April 5 at Bristol that he was retiring as a broadcaster.
“For 60 years of my 72, I've been behind the wheel,” Waltrip said at Bristol. “I was holding onto something. I was holding onto a steering wheel for 30 years. I let go of that wheel, I grabbed hold of a microphone. I held onto a microphone for another 19 years. I've always been holding onto something.”
Waltrip let go of the No. 17 at Darlington Raceway in the spring of 1998. Ron Hornaday Jr., used the number for one race, at Sonoma, that same year. The No. 17 remained idle until Roush Fenway Racing adopted the number in 1999.
Matt Kenseth was the first Roush driver to win carrying the number at Charlotte in 2000. He won 24 races behind the wheel of the No. 17 Ford. David Pearson holds the record for wins in the No. 17 car with 30 while driving for Holman-Moody Racing.
Stenhouse won his first of two Cup races in the No. 17 Ford at Talladega in 2017. This weekend marks the third time Stenhouse has carried Waltrip tribute liveries on his car. The first two schemes were run at Darlington Raceway in 2016 and 2017.
“With as much as he’s done in the sport on and off the track, Darrell will definitely be missed,” Stenhouse said. “I have enjoyed all the sit-downs and seeing his passion that he has for the sport. I’ve gotten to pay homage to him with two Darlington throwback schemes so it will be extra special to drive his iconic paint scheme for his last appearance in the booth.”