Fox has announced that Michael Waltrip will be joining his brother Darrell in studio as a full-time analyst on the network's NASCAR studio show, replacing long-time on-air commentator Jeff Hammond.
For the first time in professional sports, a team owner will be fulfilling the analyst role while he still owns that team. Some have already raised questions about a possible conflict of interest with an owner commentating on the action, but both Waltrips feel the connection has been overblown.
Older brother Darrell says that Michael's position as a team owner is "an advantage, not a disadvantage." However, he acknowledged that the former driver would "have to be conscious of it and work around it cautiously. It's hard enough to be objective about family; I've been criticized about being partial to Michael. And I've been criticized about promoting Toyota, even when I haven't talked about it for weeks and it's something I try not to do."
Michael Waltrip is no stranger to being on-air. He has reported before for SPEED Network as well as Showtime's "Inside NASCAR."
Meanwhile, Hammond will be leveraging his experience as a crew chief in a new road reporting from the garages and pit road.