Darrell Waltrip back at Daytona after gall bladder surgery

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Like the swallows returning to Capistrano and Major League Baseball players reporting to training camp, yet another harbinger that spring will soon be here has returned to Daytona.

Can you say, “Boogity, boogity, boogity”?

Fox Sports announcer and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip is back at Daytona International Speedway after, shall we say, a little detour through a hospital emergency room.

Waltrip underwent emergency gall bladder surgery last Thursday, Feb. 13 in Nashville, forcing him to miss the Sprint Unlimited last Saturday and pole qualifying Sunday while he recuperated.

But make no mistake about it, whether you love him or hate him, Waltrip is back, just in time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his 1989 Daytona 500 win.

Who can forget Waltrip’s hilarious celebratory “Ickey Shuffle” in victory lane (see video below)?

(For those of you too young to know who Ickey Woods, creater of the Ickey Shuffle was, Google it.)

Sure, Waltrip may be a little lighter weight-wise after removal of the gall bladder, but he’s ready to get back to boogity-boogity-boogitying for this Sunday’s telecast of the 56th Daytona 500.

“I feel great,” Waltrip told the Motor Racing Network. “I had no idea I had anything wrong. I just got sick all of a sudden. I was getting ready to leave to come down here. Next thing you know I was rushed into the emergency room and they took out my gallbladder.

“I should be good for Thursday (Budweiser Twin 150 Duels) and Sunday, no problem. Being at home, watching the guys, watching somebody else (brother Michael filled in for him, as did driver Clint Bowyer) do your job is like watching somebody else run your racecar. It wasn’t any fun.”

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Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup