Waltrip ended his racing career exactly how he hoped. The only way it could have topped his NASCAR finale, which came at the track where he earned half of his four career Cup victories, would have been to end up in victory lane. He knew that was unlikely, so he set a more realistic goal : to finish in the Top 10 in his 30th and last Daytona 500. Waltrip took the checkered flag in eighth at Daytona International Speedway, providing him the ideal conclusion to a career that began in 1985, spanned more than three decades and included 784 Cup Series starts, the Associated Press
Waltrip wasn't much of a factor during most of Sunday's Daytona 500. However, he used his 30 years of veteran experience and knowledge of superspeedway racing to avoid much of the accidents that dotted the second-half of this race. 'It's going to be a great memory, you know, to have a Top 10,'' Waltrip said. ''I had so many times I was in the middle of a crash and just missed it. So, you do a good job and you get lucky both. I'm thankful that I survived and I'm thankful for being able to run upfront and I'm happy about the finish. I'm ready for it to be my last one, so it's going to be a good one to remember it by.'' Waltrip caps a career that spans 33 seasons, four victories and 133 Top-10 finishes. With 784 starts he leaves the sport ranked 10th all-time in Monster Energy Series Cup starts.