ABC and Michael Waltrip Racing confirmed Thursday that NASCAR will have representation on the ABC hit show “Dancing with the Stars”. Michael Waltrip will be part of the season 19 cast when it is announced. Waltrip is a two-time Daytona 500 champion and currently part owner of Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. His older brother Darrell Waltrip is a three-time NASCAR champion who now works as a NASCAR analyst for Fox Sports.
The 51-year-old Owensboro Kentucky native still races occasionally as well as provides color TV commentary for NASCAR races and programming. Waltrip has made three NASCAR Sprint Cup starts this season, two at Daytona International Speedway and one at Talladega Superspeedway; his best finish was 19th at the Daytona race in July. Waltrip’s last brush with the mainstream media came this past March when he thought he was meeting Donna Summer, who passed away two years prior. Last season his team was embroiled in controversy when their drivers allegedly obeyed team orders to cause cautions in a race that decided the field for NASCAR’s 10-race championship playoff.
NASCAR has never had anyone associated with the sport compete in the celebrity contest. IndyCar star Helio Castroneves won the fifth season of the reality show in 2007 and returned to compete again in 2012.
In addition to Waltrip, the cast includes comedian Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, actor Antonio Sabato Jr. (General Hospital), talk show host Travis Smiley, fashion designer Betsey Johnson, UFC champ Randy Couture, actress Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars), Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson, Lolo Jones (Olympic track and field athlete), actress Lea Thomson (Back to the Future), actor Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls), YouTube personality and designer Bethany Mota, and actor Alfonso Ribeiro (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).
The season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" airs Monday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. on ABC.