DANVILLE – Former NASCAR driver and two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip stopped in Danville on Wednesday afternoon.
Waltrip showed up at Grizzly’s Hatchet House, located in downtown Danville, to promote the upcoming SRX (Superstar Racing Experience) this Saturday at South Boston Speedway and spotlight new beers and brews produced by Michael Waltrip Brewing Company.
“We came to Danville to talk about the SRX race and the fun we are going to have at South Boston Speedway,” Waltrip said. “I got back there (South Boston) 20 years ago I guess, and I remember thinking the South Boston Highway would be a great short track in the Southeast. So I am thankful that I raced there and that I will be back and racing again. I will. We race the SRX cars and when it’s over, we’ll have some beer,” Waltrip added.
Waltrip said when SRX announced South Boston Speedway would be part of the 2022 schedule in late January, it brought back memories.
SRX was founded by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart and former NASCAR Team Owner and Chief Crew Chief Ray Evernham.
“Michael Waltrip Brewing Company is well represented on the racetrack,” Waltrip said. “We have a dining room there (South Boston) and the distributors in the city are looking after us.”
Waltrip described the beer as interesting.
“You make what you are really proud of,” he said, “and it’s hard to put it in people’s hands.” “They used to drink Coors’ light or their natural light and you’re like, ‘Try one of us. “The way you do that is partnering with a great distributor like Danville and meeting friends and new people trying beer. Basically, I’m coming into town to race, but secondly, we’re trying to get more people to try our beer.”
When discussing what makes the South Boston Speedway a must-see track, Waltrip said he gets down to the track’s roots.
“It’s just a tradition. It’s been around forever, and it’s a classic Southern short track,” said Waltrip, “where you can see people mix it up, have a good time, and enjoy Saturday nights seeing the NASCAR stars.” There’s four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who raced in the SRX last year. Ryan Hunter-Rey is racing this year. Only the names of the stars in motorsports are shown. Tradition is all about South Boston and we hope to start a new one this year with the SRX.
“The SRX gives me a chance to go back in time, go back in time if you will, and be able to relive some of those memories I had.”
Ex-NASCAR veterans Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman and Greg Bevel are full-time SRX drivers this season. Other drivers expected to race in South Boston are part-time IndyCar Series driver Marco Andretti and IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan.
At every SRX race this season, the field will feature one guest driver who will have the opportunity to showcase his talent among the best. This year’s guest driver for South Boston is the Danville native and a two-time NASCAR Weekly National Champion of Sellers. Sellers have six South Boston Speedway championships to his name.
“I was driving at Stafford with two laps to go in the first half of the race and Doug Kobe got up and passed me, Doug is a local legend on a short track in the North East and regular at Stafford,” Waltrip said. “And I thought it was great that they had different drivers who are legends in the field. Knowing that Peyton (the sellers) has had a good run and is a great short track racer. He has done a lot of great things and I am looking forward to catching up with him.”
Waltrip said the biggest takeaway he wants at South Boston Speedway is to impress fans and give them a race to remember.
“Just standing there on the net, watching the fans stand up for the national anthem, seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and doing something that makes people happy,” Waltrip said. “That’s all I’m up to these days. Whether it’s TV or being able to sign autographs or even throwing axes with a bunch of people who’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing over the years. That’s it.”