Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race in Sonoma will mark the end of an era in the sport, with legendary driver/announcer Darrell Waltrip hanging up his microphone after 19 years in the TV booth. In honor of Waltrip’s last call, Roush Fenway Racing and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will pay homage to the former driver and Hall of Famer with a special chrome numbered paint scheme on the No. 17 Ford Mustang.
"Darrell Waltrip has meant a great deal to our sport as both a competitor and a member of the broadcast media," said Jack Roush, a fellow member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "The thing that stands out to me about Darrell is that after I just announced I was starting the team with Mark Martin, I was invited into a driver’s meeting that season. Darrell Waltrip was one of the first to welcome me into the fold and say ‘come on in Jack, we are going to have a lot of fun with you’ and we sure have over the years."
Waltrip piloted the No. 17 car in NASCAR’s premiere series from 1987 to 1998, sporting some of the most iconic paint schemes in the sports history.
Current No. 17 driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has long been a fan of Waltrip and this will mark the third time he has paid tribute to Waltrip on the No. 17, the first two coming at the Darlington throwback events.
"With as much as he’s done in the sport on and off the track, Darrell will definitely be missed," Stenhouse said. "I have enjoyed all the sit-downs and seeing his passion that he has for the sport. I’ve gotten to pay homage to him with two Darlington throwback schemes so it will be extra special to drive his iconic paint scheme for his last appearance in the booth."
In 2016 Stenhouse sported an orange and white Ford, with blue numbers that gave nod to Waltrip’s first winning car from 1975. The second came in 2017 with a car carrying the paint scheme from Waltrip’s 1997 NASCAR Cup season; one of Stenhouse’s favorite paint schemes along with the all-chrome variety Waltrip also ran that same season.
The Ford will also feature Roush Performance on the hood and Stenhouse’s primary sponsor Fastenal on the quarter panel and decklid.
Sunday’s race is set for 3:00 p.m. EST on FS1 and can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUSXM NASCAR Channel 90.
— Roush Fenway Racing —