How does a NASCAR fan know that it’s almost time for the Coke Zero 400 race at Daytona International Speedway? Just look for semi-retired driver and two-time Daytona 500 Champion Michael Waltrip to jump behind the wheel of a car in order to take on one of his favorite tracks!
Waltrip has announced that he is set to drive the No. 66 Royal Teak Collection Toyota Saturday Night at Daytona.
Waltrip, a seasoned driver and well known in media circles as one of the best in the business for promoting a sponsor, will be driving for MWR affiliate Jay Robinson Racing (JRR) in the upcoming Coca-Cola Zero 400. JRR made the announcement that the veteran driver will once again get behind the wheel for the 400-mile Sprint Cup Series race with royal Teak Owner Claus Villebro.
“The veteran driver gives the Jay Robinson Racing team one of its best chances for victory in 2014,” Villebro said. “Michael Waltrip is one of the most admired and recognized drivers in the history of NASCAR. It’s an absolute honor to have him drive my car. He still has it on superspeedways. Look at his record. He knows Daytona as well as anyone. He came close in this race last year and we hope he can repeat that performance Saturday.”
Waltrip is known for his driving skills on superspeedways and since his retirement, as a full time driver, has jumped back into the driver’s seat several times for events at both Talladega and Daytona. Waltrip won both the 2001 and 2003 Daytona 500 races and notched another win at Daytona during the 2002 July race at the track. While he has retired from being a full time driver it’s clear that his skills on the larger speedways are still solid.
During the 2013 season Waltrip raced in four restrictor plate races. Of those four he posted a fourth-place finish at Talladega in May and fifth-place finish at Daytona in July. Waltrip also drove the No. 66 at Daytona and Talladega in 2014.
NASCAR fans know that Waltrip loves talking to the public and does double duty on the track as well as on TV so it’s no surprise that the driver put together a deal to hit the track at Daytona which is often referred to as the World Center of Racing. It’s a fan favorite as well as one of Waltrip’s favorite places to race.
“Daytona is my favorite race track for so many reasons and I really appreciate Jay Robinson and Royal Teak Collection giving me this opportunity,” Waltrip told Kent Whitaker for GiveMeSport. “The draft is such a great equalizer so I know if we manage the race correctly we can put ourselves in a good position at the end.”
Always the promoter, which is why sponsors love him so much, Waltrip is one of the best drivers in the business for getting the word out about his partners even if it’s just for one race. If you’ve ever seen Waltrip plug a sponsor you can picture his beaming smile as he playfully announces that “Royal Teak is offering race fans a chance to win a luxurious Steamer lounge set for 2 by going to Royalteakcollection.com, clicking on the race car and filling out the information to get a chance to win!”
Regardless of his skills as a pitchman it’s always fun to watch Waltrip take to the track and in this case it will add to some impressive numbers for the longtime Cup Series driver. When Waltrip takes the green flag on Saturday it will mark his 53rd start at Daytona International Speedway and his 777th career Sprint Cup start. The broadcast of the race will be on TNT will air live at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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