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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NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.