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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Wickens tops final Road America practice

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Robert Wickens showed the way in final practice for Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, topping the speed charts with a quick time of 1:42.991, the only time below 1:43 during the session.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, and Graham Rahal completed the top five.

The lone incident of the session came right at the end, when Zach Veach went for a spin exiting Bill Mitchell Bend (turn 13). However, Veach did not suffer any damage in the incident.

Times are below. Qualifying begins at 4:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. local time) and will air on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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