MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND WEDDINGS PROVE WALTRIP & HAMMOND REMAIN IN LOCKSTEP

Unbeknownst to Each Other Initially, Longtime Teammates Give Daughters Away on Same Day in Separate Ceremonies

NASCAR on FOX’s “old married couple” are marrying off their daughters on the same day this weekend, and true to the stereotype that married folks don’t communicate, neither Darrell Waltrip nor Jeff Hammond realized their girls had chosen the same wedding date until a few weeks prior to the big day.

Waltrip and Hammond, longtime NASCAR on FOX teammates, will be absent from Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday this weekend in order to give their daughters away — on the same day and at their respective family homes in Tennessee and North Carolina.  However, both analysts return from the festivities in time for FOX’s live broadcast of Sunday’s COCA-COLA 600 (5:30 PM ET) from Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The men, who paired for the 1982 and 1985 Sprint Cup Series championships and 43 wins, spin their calendar oversights as evidence of them “being on the same page” as opposed to failure to communicate regarding one of the most significant moments of their parenting lives.

“We had no idea they were getting married on the same day,” Waltrip explained.  “Who would have thought that out of the 365 days a year, our daughters would have chosen the same one?  Hammond didn’t tell me and I didn’t tell him.  We sent out invitations and still didn’t catch it.  He was talking to me about a wedding recently, and I thought he was talking about ours.  At some point in time, Hammond said something about a tent, and I said, ‘We’re not having a tent.’ He said, ‘I’m going to have a tent,’ and I asked, ‘What do you need a tent for?’ He said, ‘For the wedding!’ I asked, ‘What wedding?’

“We then figured out they were getting married on the same day,” Waltrip continued.  “Hammond said Heather (Hammond) had chosen that date because it’s a day he could get off of work for NASCAR on FOX, which is the same reason Sarah (daughter), Stevie (Waltrip) and I had chosen it.  There is no on-track activity Friday, and Saturday is a light day on the track for FOX. For my family, Saturday was the only day that worked well for the kids and enabled me to be in town for the reception, rehearsal dinner and so forth.  Hammond chose this weekend for the exact same reason.”

Waltrip, who tends to put stock in “signs,” especially when it comes to numbers in racing, views this “double wedding” as further proof he and Hammond continue to be on the same wavelength, long after they split as driver/crew chief and later reunited as NASCAR on FOX teammates.

“Us planning our daughters’ weddings on the same day and both at our homes without any planning or knowing about the other is so ironic,” Waltrip said.  “But it just goes to show we’re on the same page in a weird way and think alike in a lot of different ways.  This proves we probably always thought the same way as driver and crew chief, although we didn’t necessarily communicate it all that well.  We always thought the same way when we raced together, and we still read each other’s minds when we’re on the air together for NASCAR on FOX.”

Oddly enough, the date of the weddings, May 24, is the same day Hammond’s son, Colt, was born in 1988 after his wife was induced in order to allow Hammond to be back atop the pit box for Waltrip for the May 29 COCA-COLA 600.  Waltrip won the race that weekend and dedicated the victory to Colt.

As for the logical question of how the men didn’t notice the discrepancy when their best friend’s daughter’s wedding invitation arrived in the mail?

“Seriously?! How many wedding invitations do men open when they arrive in the mail, much less look at the date and realize they were on the same day?” Waltrip joked.  “None.  Hammond is like me.  He’s overwhelmed getting ready for the wedding and has had a million things to pull together in a short period of time.  We’re on the road so much.  We weren’t thinking about what the other was doing — we were just trying to get our daughters married and make sure we are there on the right day.”

At least they’ve got that part covered …

–FOX SPORTS–