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Earnhardt salutes retiring Waltrip

Dale Earnhardt has paid tribute to fellow NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip on the eve of the three-time Winston Cup champion's final race

Waltrip makes his final start at Atlanta this weekend to call time on a career that has spanned four decades. He has scored 84 wins and earned over $18million. The 54-year-old retires to forge a new career in television commentary.

"Darrell leaves behind a great legacy as a driver and champion in NASCAR," said Earnhardt. "I raced against him as a rookie in 1979, and as a champion. He helped me early on to understand what being a champion was all about. Over the years we've had our differences, that's going to happen when you have two competitive people."

"I know in his heart he doesn't want to stop driving race cars. He'll do a good job on TV, and he's a natural with his colourful personality. I just hope he doesn't talk about me and tell any stories. He's seen it all happen and will be able to give a new perspective of what's happening on the track. It'll be fun for the viewers."

Earnhardt has reasons of his own reason to perform well this weekend. 'The Indimidator' has to beat Jeff Burton this weekend to have a chance of taking second in the points standings.

"The 99 car jumped ahead of us last week and now we have one chance to get it back," Earnhardt added. "We need to repeat our performance from March [when he won at Atlanta] and that's all we can do. If we're ahead of them when the chequered flag drops we'll see where it all winds up."

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