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Wheaties honors racing legend Darrell Waltrip
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Updated Mar 21, 2003 11:00 AM ET
The Breakfast of Champions Joins With One of Racing's Greatest Champions
Wheaties announced today the release of a new special-edition package honoring auto racing legend Darrell Waltrip. One of the most dominant drivers of his time -- he was named NASCAR's Driver of the Decade for his dominance in the 1980s -- this racing champion with 84 Winston Cup victories will now be featured on The Breakfast of Champions. At a news conference held this morning at the Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, Wheaties unveiled the new package featuring Waltrip. FOX Sports broadcaster Jeff Hammond, Waltrip's former crew chief, and fellow NASCAR on FOX crew member Larry McReynolds were on hand to salute Waltrip's selection as the latest Wheaties champion.
"Darrell Waltrip exemplifies what it means to be a champion," said Brian Kittelson, who manages Wheaties brand breakfast cereal. "Wheaties is honored to bring to the breakfast tables of millions of Americans the story of this racing legend, who throughout his long career displayed courage and dedication and was a champion on and off the track." Waltrip's career accomplishments place him among racing's elite drivers of all time. During his 29-year career, Waltrip won three national championships and 84 races, including the Daytona 500 in 1989, and he is the only five-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600. He was the first Winston Cup driver to earn $10 million in winnings in a single season. He is listed among NASCAR's top 50 drivers of all time and won the Most Popular Driver Award in 1989 and 1990. The Bristol Motor Speedway has special meaning for Waltrip since he has won 12 races there, more than any other driver. Waltrip has a successful second career as a FOX Sports broadcaster and is also the brother of
, who won his second Daytona 500 in three years last month. "Wheaties has honored legendary drivers since the 1930s, and I am thrilled to represent modern era racing as well as joining all those Wheaties greats such as Lou Gehrig, Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Dale Earnhardt and Tiger Woods," Waltrip said. "As a kid you eat Wheaties, and you think they'll help you become a champion ... I guess it worked!" Waltrip, who was raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, got his start when he was 12 years old. He convinced his dad to get him a silver go-cart, but the family was not wealthy, and they made sacrifices to nurture young Waltrip's emerging career. He immediately showed a knack for speed when he won his very first go-cart race.
The soon-to-be-released 18-ounce package will be available primarily throughout the Southeast United States beginning in April. In 1936, Wilbur Shaw became the first racecar driver to appear on the Wheaties box. A.B. Jenkins appeared on the fabled orange package in 1939. In 1997, Dale Earnhardt appeared on the package and drove an orange Wheaties-clad No. 3 car in the Winston Select that same year. Wheaties began its association with sports in the mid-1930s with a sign on the left field wall at Nicollet Park near downtown Minneapolis. General Mills' broadcast deal with the minor league Minneapolis Millers on WCCO Radio included the large signboard that Wheaties would use to introduce its new ad slogan: "Wheaties-The Breakfast of Champions." From that rather humble beginning, Wheaties has built a heritage that includes many of the greatest athletes of all time.
Wheaties® and The Breakfast of Champions® are registered trademarks of General Mills, Inc.
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