As with most things, Darrell Waltrip's love of racing started simply.
As a little boy, he'd travel to his local short track with his grandmother to take in the action. She was a diehard fan, one who loved her favorite and reviled all others. Sitting in those stands showed Waltrip a lot about fans -- information that would come in handy in years to come.
Then his eyes caught sight of a go-kart as he traveled his father's Pepsi-Cola route in the summer. When he finally got a chance to drive the gleaming machine, Waltrip felt like a new person. Something altered in that boy a little that day.
What had been a love for racing, one that already had led him to proclaim his plans to be a race-car driver someday, blossomed into an obsession.
Soon, Waltrip commanded a go-kart of his own. Racing and winning sparked a new fire in the Owensboro, Ky., native, a fire that would blaze for the rest of the life.
That would lead him track to track, race to race, first across the South, then acros...