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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Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.