Most younger NASCAR fans know Darrell Waltrip as one of the television voices of NASCAR and the guy who exclaims “Boogity, boogity, boogity!” at the start of each race on Fox. But back in 1989 he won a long-forgotten race that looked so amazing, NASCAR should bring it back.
In the fall of 1989, in association with the Goody’s 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia, some of the drivers participated in a go-kart race.
While many NASCAR drivers are no strangers to go-kart racing, this was a full-fledged go-kart race held on the Martinsville track. The race even used karts that looked like miniature NASCAR cars with the drivers heads sticking up out of the roof!
Unfortunately, all we have are 13 seconds of footage aired by Fox Sports 1 during a recent episode of “NASCAR Masters of the Clock.”
It was fitting that the race was won by Waltrip, who grew up racing go-karts and was a short-track master in his career. Of his 84 career wins, 11 came at Martinsville, not including this go-kart race.
However, Waltrip did admit to some pre-race shenanigans with the engine device that regulates speed on a go-kart and that helped him win the race.
“I grew up racing go-karts,” Waltrip told FS1. “I knew a little bit about them, so I kinda knew how to bypass the governor the go-kart had on it. And so, just before we got ready to race, I tweaked mine just a little bit and it seemed to really help.”
Sure enough, there was Waltrip in his familiar orange and white Tide car finishing first and going around the track with the checkered flag.
It is unclear why this isn’t still an annual tradition in NASCAR, but it would seem that Martinsville is one of the only tracks where it could be held.
At just a shade over a half-mile, Martinsville is the shortest track on the NASCAR circuit. If NASCAR tried to do something like this at Daytona, it would probably take 5-6 minutes to get around the 2.5-mile track just once, not to mention the karts probably wouldn’t be able to handle the 31-degree banking in the turns.
NASCAR does have an annual go-kart race for a hand-full of drivers called The Little 600. But that is with more standard go-karts and on an actual go-kart track in front of a small crowd. It just doesn’t seem as fun and it is often impossible to tell which driver is which.
But if NASCAR ever wanted to have something akin to the Home Run Derby or the Slam Dunk Contest, a go-kart race with miniature NASCAR cars on an actually NASCAR track should absolutely be at the top of the list.
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