NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip gives keynote address at National Prayer Breakfast


Speaking to an audience that included President Obama, the Dalai Lama, and several thousand attendees from around the world, NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip discussed his faith during the keynote address at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

The three-time Sprint Cup champion joined a long line of prominent past guest speakers for the event, a line that includes the late Mother Teresa, U2 frontman Bono, and former UK prime minister Tony Blair.

As part of his address, Waltrip talked about how arrogant he was in his early career and how hated he was by fellow drivers and fans, as well as how hard it was to look back on that now.

“My personal life was a mess,” Waltrip said. “I drank too much. I liked to go to the bars and hang out with the boys. I just did everything to satisfy me. Whatever felt good to me, I did it. I didn’t give it a second thought.

“That was my lifestyle. That’s how I lived. I didn’t have any great friends. I didn’t have any close friends. I’d always figured if you wanted a friend, get a dog…I have several dogs [now].”

His personal woes didn’t stop him from winning the 1981 and 1982 Cup titles, and his wife, Stevie, stood by him even as he brushed off her prayers that he would one day pursue a deeper faith.

But a crash in the 1983 Daytona 500 caused him to truly take a hard look at his life.

“When I finally came to or woke up, I realized that that wreck had knocked me unconscious,” Waltrip recalled. “It scared the hell out of me, and I mean that literally. I realized that I could have been killed that day. What if I’d lost my life right there that day at Daytona? What would I have done? Would I have gone to Heaven? Or would I have gone to Hell?

“I thought I was a pretty good guy, but folks, let me tell you something. Good guys go to Hell.”

After the crash, the Waltrips began going to church together. Darrell became a Christian, which he said today was “the greatest day of his life.” And Darrell, now kinder and more humble, eventually became a fan favorite – a status he still enjoys in his current role as a NASCAR analyst for Fox Sports.

President Obama thanked Darrell for sharing how his faith impacted him.

“Darrell knows that when you’re going 200 miles an hour, a little prayer cannot hurt,” Obama said. “I suspect that more than once, Darrell has had the same thought as many of us have in our own lives: ‘Jesus, take the wheel.’ Although I hope that you kept your hands on the wheel when you were thinking that.”

Obama also thanked him and Stevie for their efforts in supporting Motor Racing Outreach, which offers church services and spiritual support to the NASCAR family on race weekends. The Waltrips were part of the founding group for the organization, and remain part of its Board of Directors.

“…We are so grateful to Stevie for the incredible work they’ve done together to build a ministry where the fastest drivers can slow down a little bit and spend some time in prayer, reflection, and thanks,” Obama said.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.