Michael Waltrip entered the 2001 NASCAR season with the longest losing streak in series history: 462 races. It had been two decades since he first made a splash in stock car racing when he took the Mini-Modified division track championship at Kentucky Motor Speedway. With Dale Earnhardt's muscle behind him, he felt like he had a shot.
"People are obviously capable of handling the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. But I don't know how many people have had to experience them within seconds of each other," Waltrip says of the moment he won the 2001 Daytona 500—the same moment when he learned of the passing of his dear friend and mentor, Dale Earnhardt.
"Blink of an Eye" is a new documentary film based on one of NASCAR's most defining moments and Waltrip's career—one spent largely in the shadow of his older brother, Darrell—as he tried to make it in stock car racing. In the trailer, Waltrip juxtaposes himself—a partier with an astronomical losing streak who was taken seriously by few—with Earnhardt, who was known as "The Intimidator."
"It kept me going, knowing that one of the best ever believed in me," Waltrip says of his friendship with Earnhardt.
Waltrip's career began at 15, but didn't take off until the early 1980s, when he began winning championships in smaller feeder series. He made his NASCAR Cup Series debut in 1985 (in a race that his brother won) and raced in both the Cup and lower series throughout the later 1980s and '90s, eventually racking up a streak of 462 races without a victory.
That streak broke at Daytona in 2001, along with the hearts of NASCAR fans all over the globe.
"Blink of an Eye" will be available everywhere via digital platforms (including iTunes, where it can be pre-ordered today) on Nov. 5.