Michael Waltrip (born April 30, 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky) is a professional race car driver and team owner. He is the younger brother of Darrell Waltrip, a 3-time NASCAR champion (now retired). Michael drove the #15 NAPA Chevrolet car in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series for DEI through the 2005 season. In 2006, Waltrip and NAPA left DEI for Michael's own team, Waltrip-Jasper Racing. Waltrip currently drives the #55 NAPA Dodge Charger. He also drives the # 99 Aaron's "Dream Machine" car in NASCAR's Busch Series.
While many of his competitors started racing cars when they were barely old enough to walk, Michael Waltrip waited until his teen years to start tooling around the midwest in go-kart races.
Waltrip's stock-car career got off the ground in 1981, whe he captured the Mini-Modified division track championship at Kentucky Speedway. A year later, Waltrip entered the Goody's Dash Series, where he won the series championship in 1983 and was voted the circuit's most popular driver in 1983 and 1984.
Waltrip made his Cup debut in 1985 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. He finished 28th in that race and finished 57th in the series standings after just five starts.
In 1986, driving for Dick Bahre, Waltrip finished second in the Cup rookie of the year race to Alan Kulwicki on the strength of a pair of 11th-place finishes at Martinsville and Pocono.
In 1988, Waltrip began running Busch Series events, making five starts for his brother Darrell's fledgling team. It didn't take long for Waltrip to make an impact, as he took the checkered flag at Dover in just his fourth start.
Waltrip's most memorable Busch Series effort came in 1993 at Bristol. After taking the checkered flag, Waltrip made a "Polish victory lap" in honor of Alan Kulwicki, who had lost his life in a plane crash on his way to that weekend's events. What's more, he proposed to his wife Buffy in Victory Lane that day.
While Waltrip had always been a competitive driver through the '80s and '90s -- he had even won The Winston in 1996 -- he had the dubious honor of having the longest active streak of Cup point-paying starts without a victory. That 463-race streak ended at the 2001 Daytona 500. Later that same season, he finished second behind teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Pepsi 400, also at Daytona.
In his spare time, Waltrip is a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys and an avid runner. In fact, he ran in both the Boston and Tampa marathons in 2000. Michael serves as a member of the "expert panel" on SPEED Channel's NASCAR Inside Nextel Cup series and he also often does fill-in work for Speed's coverage of the Craftsman Truck Series. He also appears in advertisements for NAPA, Domino's Pizza and Aaron's along with his brother, Darrell. He often is loyal to his sponsors and calls his car by a list of different sponsors from time to time.
On January 25, 2006 it was announced that Waltrip's team Waltrip-Jasper Racing will field two Toyota Camrys in Nextel Cup racing for the 2007 season.