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Old rivals to serve big roles for Food City 500

Kevin Mays • Updated Apr 5, 2019 at 11:46 PM

NASCAR legend and Fox Sports racing commentator Darrell Waltrip will make his famous start-of-the-race catch phrase from an unusual spot Sunday.

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

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

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

Another legend, four-time BMS winner Bobby Allison, will serve as the grand marshal for Sunday’s race.

Allison, who won the spring race at Bristol in 1969 and 1972, will give the infamous “drivers start your engines” command.

RACING WITH A PURPOSE

Cup series rookie Matt Tifft is happy to be in his car this season for several reasons.

It’s been a dream of Tifft to drive on NASCAR’s top circuit.

There’s another reason he is thankful to be in his ride.

In 2016, doctors found about a half-dollar size brain tumor in Tifft.

After recuperating for a few months, Tifft was back to racing.

After a couple of more years in the Xfinity series, the Cleveland native is in the seat of a Cup car.

The Keto diet and more exercise have helped Tifft battle back in his recovering.

“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 with the National Brain Tumor Society and the American Brain Tumor Association as an advocate.

“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,” said Tifft. “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.”

BREAKFAST AND QUALIFYING

NASCAR’s Xfinity Series’ Alsco 300 is scheduled to start 1 p.m. Saturday, but drivers will have to go to work at lot earlier.

Qualifying the for the event is scheduled to start at 9:45 a.m.

Another race is also scheduled for Saturday.

The NASCAR K&N Series East Zombie Auto 150 will follow the Xfinity Series race.

Approximate start time for the K&N Race is scheduled for 4 p.m.

MCDOWELL GETS DIRTY

Dale McDowell, of Chickamauga, Georgia, won the Ultimate Super Late Model Series race Thursday at the season opener of the Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap.

With the win, McDowell took winning check of $10,000.

Jimmy Owens and Brandon Overton finished second and third in the event.

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