You would think, it takes nerves of steel and an iron gullet to race door to door at nearly 200 mph on a NASCAR racetrack. Actually, you would be right. It takes that, and something more we can't mention here; but suffice to say, they're spherical. So, how do you make a world-class driver like Darrell Waltrip feel a little uneasy? It's simple. Put him on the water, in the driver seat of an aqua rocket, and head him toward the far end of Lake Lloyd, going more than 100 mph, with no brakes and only a prayer.
Lake Lloyd is the man-made remnants of the hole dug in the infield of Daytona Speedway to provide enough dirt to hike the banking corners towards the sky. Covering barely 29 acres, the lake is a great little spot for small cruising vessels or ski boats, but it's terribly small for anything with speed or too much length. Darrell told us he used to pucker up hoping his car would stop before splashing down into the lake during his racing days. With Waltrip at the wheel of a speedy catamaran and both throttles pinned, the tables were turned as he was now worried about turning in time, to avoid running the speed boat out of the water and up onto Daytona Speedway's paved oval. Nerves of steel? You bet.
The boat we're referring to is none other than the Eliminator 28 Daytona. A Daytona at Daytona? It couldn't be more perfect. During Darrell Waltrip's racing career, he posted some impressive numbers, but it was his partnership with Mountain Dew during the '81 and '82 racing seasons that is being commemorated here. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Darrell's NASCAR championship in '82, Mountain Dew tracked down and found the winning Buick, which had been stashed away in a barn, and he had the car returned to its former glory. The car was displayed during the '07 Daytona 500 race for all to view. Matching the special car, Eliminator boats had The Graphics in Lake Elsinore, California, wrap the 28 Daytona ICC in near-period-perfect green and red stripes. The Graphics even went so far as to reproduce the sponsorship logos featured 25 years ago.
Why was '82 so special, you may ask? Well, it was the year Darrell Waltrip ran the 30-race Winston Cup Series and won. He posted an impressive 12 race victories, with 17 top-five finishes, while riding the pole seven of those 30 races. A total of 9,455 laps were run with Waltrip holding the lead position for almost 33 percent of those at 3,027 laps. During his 20 top- 10 finishes, the now 60-year-old Waltrip ran nearly 10,600 miles of racing in the Winston Cup, alone. Combined with his championship '81 season, Waltrip has statistics that are impressive, even by today's racing standards. Not one to stray far from NASCAR's calling, you'll find him pitting the play-by-plays during racing for FOX Sports.