March 22, 2018
Seth and Sutton Sharp
As his career as the owner and driver of the No. 17 was winding down, Darrell Waltrip showed up to Darlington Raceway in March of 1998 with a different look.
The first four races of the 1998 Winston Cup season saw Waltrip behind the wheel of the No. 17 Speedblock/Builders Square Chevrolet but rumors started to spread that he was on the verge of selling his team. After it was announced that Speedblock and Waltrip were no longer partners, he came up with an idea. He wanted to pay tribute to his good friend Tim Flock.
Flock, a winner of 39 races and the 1952 championship, was battling terminal cancer. Once Waltrip found out that Flock and his wife Francis had no health insurance, he wanted to help out. Waltrip showed up to Darlington with his car baring Flock’s No. 300 and painted up like one of Flock’s former race-cars.
Waltrip tried his hardest to raise as much money that weekend as he could for the Flock family during their time of need. “Tim won $109,000 during his entire driving career and my goal was to raise at least that much money for him in one weekend here at Darlington.” Waltrip donated all of the proceeds from the weekend to the Tim Flock foundation.
Flock, who called in via telephone to a press conference at the track, was in awe. “It’s the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen. It is something that I will never forget. God bless you, Darrell.”
Unfortunately the No. 300 never was credited with driving in the TranSouth Financial 400 that weekend. NASCAR threw a curveball at Waltrip’s plans and forced him to return to his familiar No. 17, but Waltrip kept his car painted up like Flock’s former race-car. Waltrip finished 30th, which was ironically the same position Flock finished at Darlington in his final race at the track in 1961.
Sadly, Flock passed away nine days after the race. “I don’t know how significant it was that Tim got to see that car,” Waltrip said after Flock passed away, “but I can tell you this. It was important to me.”