Old rivals to play major roles in Food City 500

Kevin Mays • Apr 6, 2019 at 2:10 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — NASCAR legend and Fox Sports racing commentator Darrell Waltrip will make his famous start-of-the-race catchphrase from an unusual spot Sunday.

Waltrip, who announced his retirement from the broadcast booth Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, will drop the green flag for the start of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500.

Waltrip is expected to give his “Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing” call from the flagstand.

During his driving career, Waltrip won a record 12 Cup Series races at BMS, including seven straight at the track.

Another legend, four-time BMS winner Bobby Allison, will serve as the grand marshal. Allison, who won the spring race at Bristol in 1969 and 1972, will give the famous “Drivers, start your engines” command.


Cup Series rookie Matt Tifft is happy to be in his car this season for several reasons. Though it’s been a dream of his to drive on NASCAR’s top circuit, he has another reason to be thankful to be in his ride.

In 2016, doctors discovered a tumor about the size of a half-dollar in Tifft’s brain.

After recuperating for a few months, Tifft went back to racing. The Cleveland native spent a couple of more years in the Xfinity Series, but now he’s in the seat of a Cup car.

Tifft said the keto diet and exercise have helped in his recovery.

“The biggest issue was, hey is this thing going to grow back or not?” he said. “I really did it at first because of the health benefits of maybe it not coming back, but then also I had really bad brain fog and struggled a lot because I had a lot of toxicity of the MRI contrast. That really helped with that.”

Now, Tifft works as an advocate with the National Brain Tumor Society and the American Brain Tumor Association.

“It’s just been different events, but we’ve also gone down to Washington, D.C., the last couple of years and talked to Congress to try to get more funds for research and awareness for brain tumors,” he said. “The hardest part about it is you have 140 different types of brain tumors and four or five different grades for all of those. And there’s four treatment options and it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing for those. It’s crazy with the amount of people living with a brain tumor or have passed away because of one.”


The Alsco 300 Xfinity Series race is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Saturday, but the drivers have to start work a lot earlier.

Qualifying for the event begins at 9:45 a.m.

More action is scheduled after the Xfinity race. The NASCAR K&N Series East Zombie Auto 150 follows at about 4 p.m.


Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Georgia, won the Ultimate Super Late Model Series race in Thursday’s season opener at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap and collected the winner’s check for $10,000.

Jimmy Owens and Brandon Overton finished second and third.