An Unveil Like None Other: Watch Bill Elliott’s “92 and a Half” Budweiser Paint Scheme Debut With Darrell Waltrip

Published 01/29/2024, 12:49 AM EST

Follow Us

via Imago

Long before Chase Elliott ascended the throne as NASCAR’s most popular driver, his father “Awesome Bill” was the community’s heartthrob, taking the mantle and keeping it for himself for a whopping 16 years. Bill Elliott, the 1988 Winston Cup champion is in fact, one of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport who amassed 34 wins which gave him the nicknames, “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville”, “Million Dollar Bill”, or “Wild Bill.”

Some even argue that Chase Elliott’s popularity is partly because of his father’s legacy. While that to some extent is true and false, given that the veteran has passed down his skill behind the wheel to his son, the 68-year-old had some of the most iconic liveries in racing from the #9 badging that was later taken over by his son or the precedent #11 Budweiser themed Ford Thunderbird from 1992 that is the hot topic here.

A NASCAR classic: When Bill Elliott and his rival, Darrell Waltrip unveiled the #11 Thunderbird live on TV


Article continues below this ad

Beer and racing go hand in hand, especially in NASCAR ever since sponsorships and tie-ups became a major part of the sport. Even more so, not all fans drink the beverage but the ones that do have their favorites as well. Budweiser has been the long-reigning king of beers, sponsoring some of the most popular drivers in NASCAR including the great Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Darrell Waltrip, etc to get their product to the masses, lining them up by marketing their favorite drivers to the fullest.

After which NASCAR fans can forget the iconic Budweiser commercials on TV with Elliott doing a burnout, warming up the tires in his Ford before accelerating off the line like a rocket ship once his chief gives him the signal?

Popular NASCAR enthusiast and writer who goes by the social media moniker, nascarman recently unearthed a long lost footage of Bill Elliott’s #11 Budweiser-themed Ford’s unveiling with former rival and Bud driver Darrell Waltrip introducing the driver with a perfect setup.

On January 28, 1992, the NASCAR community and American TV audience for the first time heard the rumble of the American V8 when Bill Elliott unveiled his ’92 car on Nashville Now, with Waltrip being his wingman, playing along. Racing for the legendary Junior Johnson, Elliott, said, “Yeah, it’s a new look you know, back then years ago, I raced against a Budweiser sponsored with Darrell here driving the car.” To which, Waltrip, the charmer, said, “This car may be possessed. I don’t mean repossessed, I mean possessed. Well, last time I drove it every time I got in trouble Junior would haul its tail so I dont know if he’s gonna hauler it to you, ain’t no telling.” 

WATCH THIS STORY: Bill Elliott’s iconic 1999 McDonald’s livery Ford reportedly sold for just $14,000 

After the friendly rivals had their back-and-forth, the host asked about the car. “Well, it’s going to be basic, the same what I’ve been driving uh, 92 Ford Thunderbird, the only thing different is I changed the beer brands, Budweiser, I’ve Amoco on the side- associate sponsor, it’ll still be a Ford,” said the veteran before he revealed it as a “92 and a half” edition racecar. 

Despite the stellar livery, Elliott’s later campaigns in 1993 and 1994 turned out to be bummers as the driver’s crew chief was fired by Johnson, ending the promising tale in a complete disaster.

Blast to the past – Disastrous ousting of Elliott’s crew chief and Johnson’s revelation of 1993


Article continues below this ad


Get instantly notified of the hottest NASCAR stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

“I don’t feel very good about things. We’ve tried so much stuff and changed so much stuff that we don’t know what might be wrong. Hell, I’m at the point right now where I just don’t know what to do. I’m pretty disgusted by the whole deal,” said a dejected and disappointed Elliott who hinted at his crew chief’s eviction.

While team owner Johnson hired Mike Beam to partner with Elliott. Brewer’s departure left a deep void in the team, one that never could be filled by the new crew chief, Beam. Unfortunately, it seemed like the two were just not clicking, and it was affecting their performance on the racetrack. Despite the awful performance, Johnson was a believer in Elliott and still had his hopes rested on the driver.

USA Today via Reuters

According to Daily Express“Bill should be able to drive anything there. But when I got back after surgery I found the cars were so messed up I don’t see how he drove ’em. They didn’t work anything like they were supposed to. There’s nothing wrong with Bill Elliott. The problem must be somewhere else.” However, things still did not go according to plan, as the best that he could manage that year was a 2nd-spot finish at the Richmond Raceway. Sadly, the Elliott-Beam partnership didn’t click in the 1994 season, despite a win at Darlington. From a fantastic 2nd place in the championship in 1992, he could only muster 8th and 10th in 1993 and 1994.


Article continues below this ad

Bill Elliott’s 2000 Ford Taurus That Crashed at Michigan Auctioned for a Whopping $55,000


Written by:

Kishore R


One take at a time

Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. He actively covers live events and does detailed race analyses, helping fans understand the very nitty gritties of the sport. Using the right mix of storytelling and game expertise, Kishore can take his readers on a journey to see how a particular race was for some of their most loved drivers, like Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.
Show More>

Edited by:

Sameen Nawathe