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Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Waltrip his usual self at Hall event


CONCORD, N.C. -- Darrell Waltrip, as usually the case, was on a roll Monday at the unveiling of his No. 11 Mountain Dew Buick that will be on display when the NASCAR Hall of Fame opens on May 11.

Here are some of the highlights:

• The driver with three Sprint Cup championships and 84 career wins obviously thinks he should be in the Hall's second class. Until he realized founding fathers Bill France and Bill France Jr. were eligible, you can read between the lines and figure he thought he should be in the first class.

"If someone said, 'How would you do that?' I'd have made the Frances the founding fathers of the Hall,'' Waltrip said. "The father and son that started the sport. They would have been the big plaques and statues out front of the place. That would have opened up room for a couple more drivers.

"My first impression was the place was just going to be drivers. If they took five drivers, I'm on the edge. Me, Bobby [Allison], Cale [Yarborough]. We have similar records. Wins, championships, performancewise, we all are about the same.''

Waltrip had no problem with Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and driver/owner Junior Johnson being the first three drivers. He admitted David Pearson being left out threw a wrench in things, but Waltrip said he still thinks he deserves a shot at the 2011 class.

"I heard Richard say they need to honor the old guys,'' said Waltrip, referring to those that began the sport but had lesser records than more recent stars. "Well, that's easy to say whenever you're already in.''

By the way, Waltrip believes his broadcasting career should count in his overall body of work.

Here are some more of his thoughts:

• On why points leader Kevin Harvick got into the Brad Keselowski-Carl Edwards feud by calling Edwards a fake in a radio interview: "This is just my observation. He's leading the points, none of you all were noticing. He's running really well. You all were noticing that a little bit. But he hasn't been the center of attention and Carl and Brad were, and he thought he ought to get his dog in that fight.

"That's where those comments came from. There are people in this sport who are antagonists, and he likes to be one of those. He stirs the pot.''

For the record, Harvick disagreed, saying, "No. You guys want it so you can give your opinion, then you want to bury us after we give it to you to make somebody look as bad as possible. It is one of those things. You say something, it goes as far as everybody wants to take it. But I have an opinion on a lot of things.''

• On what Steve Addington, the crew chief for Kurt Busch, has brought to Penske Racing: "I don't know what he's brought over there, but you look at Sam Hornish and Keselowski. Last year, Keselowski ran a few races in the 12 car and you didn't know he was in the race. Had a slow start this year, but Addington has helped the whole Penske program. He's a Penske prototype. That's where he helped the whole organization.''

• On Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "I told Rick [Hendrick] I'd run him in truck races. He needs to get somewhere he can win. I'd get him in a truck, not a Nationwide car, but a truck. They're fun to drive. You have a good time in the Truck Series. If I were Junior, I'd talk to Harvick and ask to drive the 2 truck.

"And I'd win a couple races. That's what he needs. Would really help his confidence, and his fans would enjoy seeing him do that. It'd be a win-win.''

Earnhardt's response: "Well, I mean, I don't have any interest in driving those trucks. I want to drive a truck race, I guess, before I retire just to see what they feel like. And Harvick said I could drive his truck anytime I wanted to. Hopefully, that offer will be around for quite a while, because I don't plan on doing it anytime soon. I have plenty of confidence in myself."