Michael Waltrip Merchandise

Written by Henry Baum
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You could say that Michael Waltrip grew up in the shadow of his famous older brother, Darrell. Michael is evidence that this isn't always an impediment, but can be an inspiration instead. Darrell is 16 years older than Michael, an entirely different generation, so there wasn't as much sibling rivalry between the two brothers. Moreover, Michael learned a lot from his brother without being overshadowed.

When Michael was still in grade school, he would go watch his older brother race at the Daytona 500. He didn't just get a lesson in racing, but in winning, as Darrell won race after race. These were formative experiences for a child who would go on to become an expert driver in his own right.

In His Own Right

It can be enormously difficult to live up to such high expectations. Even before he started his first full-size race, people expected Michael to win immediately. This high-pressure environment may be what led to him pushing himself too hard, leading to him crashing his Kool-Aid Pontiac on April 7, 1990. Some people say it was the worst crash they'd ever seen, but miraculously, Michael Waltrip was racing again the next day.

In some way, this endeared fans to Michael--no longer was he just Darrell's little brother, but a competitive racer on his own terms. His fan base has continued to grow, and more Waltrip merchandise is available each year. Since that fateful crash, he's been in the top tier in points, pole positions, and wins. In 2001, Michael won the Daytona 500. Darrell and Michael Waltrip are the only brothers to have won the Super Bowl of racing. However, the win was tempered by the fact that Dale Earnhardt died in the same race, helping his teammate cross the finish line. Diecast models of cars from that tragically historic race are quite collectible among certain fans, Michael Waltrip's winning car and Dale Earnhardt's car especially.

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