Anyone who has watched a NASCAR race on Fox Sports for the past decade has heard broadcaster Darrell Waltrip say just when the green flag flies and the race begins: “Boogity, boogity, boogity – let’s go racing, boys!”
Love it or hate it – and Waltrip knows there are those in both camps – those seven words have become Waltrip’s most well-known catchphrase.
But what you probably don’t know is that the phrase is borrowed from a 1974 novelty song called “The Streak,” a No.1 hit from country musician Ray Stevens.
Waltrip said that for years he thought the beginning of races needed more hoopla.
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“I hated the way a race started on the radio," he said as we talked in his office. “The announcer would say, ‘The green flag is in the air, and the cars race off into Turn 1.’ Are you kidding me? That’s the best we can do?”
Waltrip said he had that conversation one day with David Hill, who was then the head of Fox Sports. Hill gave Waltrip the green light to try something different at the beginning of races. Waltrip – who by this time was several years into his tenure at Fox as a broadcaster, which started in 2001 – was unsure what it should be.
“It was a Sunday morning in Darlington in ’05 or ’06,” Waltrip recalled. “Now I love country music. I listen to it all the time. Ray Stevens is a really good friend of mine. We play golf together. His attorney is my attorney. So we know each other pretty well. … I’m listening to country radio and all of a sudden ‘The Streak’ comes on.”
In his office Tuesday, Waltrip then broke into the chorus of the song, which was about a man streaking through various places in a small town and causing a commotion: “Here he comes – Boogity, boogity! There he goes – boogity, boogity!”
“That’s it!” Waltrip said thought to himself. “Boogity! Boogity!”
He used the phrase for the first time that day on-air as the race in Darlington began and has used it ever since to commemorate the opening of every race he calls.
“It just seemed to stick,” Waltrip said. “Every year when we start (another year of Fox Sports NASCAR coverage), I say, ‘Do y’all want me to keep doing that?’ And they say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s who we are. That’s our signature.’”