Michael Waltrip spent over 30 years racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, and he made plenty of money along the way.
One would think, then, that Waltrip lived large near the end of his racing career. When the 2013 Cup Series season began, Waltrip had already earned well over $40 million as a driver.
Longevity and a large bank account didn’t mean that Waltrip wanted to spend his nights sleeping in a mansion or at a lakeside home, though
Michael Waltrip lived above a pizza parlor in 2013
There was no fancy living for Michael Waltrip during the 2013 Cup Series campaign.
Waltrip spoke with USA Today that year and Jeff Gluck, the interviewer, asked Waltrip what the latter did with his memorabilia. Waltrip said he was limited at the time in what he could display at his then-residence.
“Right now, I live in an apartment above a pizza joint, so there’s not really a lot of extra room for displaying things,” Waltrip explained.
The “pizza joint” became a running reference among Waltrip and his fans. As for the gear, Waltrip said that fans could see some of the memorabilia that he collected at his racing shop.
Waltrip added that he collected diecast cars and the actual cars that he had raced.
Waltrip had a controversial 2013 season
Michael Waltrip took a reduced workload in 2013, participating in only four of the season’s 36 races. ‘
According to Racing Reference, Waltrip nonetheless pocketed over $700,000 thanks to two top-10 finishes. In comparison, Jimmie Johnson, who won the Cup Series that year, earned over $14.6 million.
Waltrip’s most significant event in 2013 came that September, when NASCAR penalized his company, Michael Waltrip Racing, for manipulating the finishing order of a race at Richmond International Speedway. According to SB Nation, Clint Bowyer created a caution by spinning out with seven laps to help Martin Truex Jr. gain an advantage over Ryan Newman.
NASCAR fined MWR $300,000 and suspended team general manager Ty Norris. Truex Jr. was removed from the playoff hunt after he, along with Bowyer and Brian Vickers, was docked 50 driver points.
Michael Waltrip earned over $47 million for his career
Although Michael Waltrip only won four races in 33 years, he retired with a heavy wallet.
According to Racing-Reference, Waltrip earned over $47 million in his career. From 1998-2009, Waltrip earned over $1 million per season. Those paydays included $4 million each season from 2003-05.
Those earnings don’t count how Waltrip benefited from his own company. Unfortunately for Waltrip, MWR ceased operations in 2015, two years after the incident at Richmond involving Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Newman.
Waltrip at least has found a home at Fox, where he serves as a full-time color analyst for both the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series.
All stats and contract figures courtesy of Racing-Reference.