2014 Daytona 500: Healthy Darrell Waltrip set to return to Fox NASCAR coverage

Jamey Price

After undergoing surgery last week, Darrell Waltrip will resume his role as a television analyst for Fox Sports beginning Thursday.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip is returning to the Fox broadcast booth beginning with the Budweiser Duel qualifying races on Thursday and continuing through the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

Waltrip, 67, underwent emergency gall bladder surgery last week and missed Fox Sports' NASCAR coverage including Saturday's season-opening Sprint Unlimited. Waltrip's brother, Michael, filled in during his absence.

"I'm doing fine," Waltrip said Tuesday during a Fox Sports teleconference. "I feel great. I had no idea I had anything wrong; I just got sick all of a sudden. I was getting ready to leave to come down to Daytona and the next thing you know I was rushed into the emergency room and they took out my gall bladder.

"I'm healing up good. I should be good for Thursday, and certainly for Sunday. No problem."

This year's Daytona 500 is especially meaningful for Waltrip, as it represents the 25th anniversary of his lone victory in the Great American Race.

In addition to Waltrip's health, Fox executives discussed Tuesday the much-maligned scoring box placed on the right side of the television screen. The new feature, which drew much criticism from viewers for blocking portions of the cars as well as the track, replaced the scrolling crawl across the top.

Eric Shanks, Fox Sports' chief operating officer and executive producer, said Fox is not planning on reverting to the old graphics, but did say "some tweaks" would be made before Sunday.

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