Though the track itself was ghostly silent, a crowd of race enthusiasts, politicians and campaign watchers at the Magnolia Motor Speedway got their engines revved Monday morning as NASCAR legend Darrell “D.W.” Waltrip hopped off a Haley Barbour campaign bus and belted out a signature “Boogity boogity boogity!”
Speedway manager Chuck Cook was the ringmaster on the scene, welcoming onlookers to the meet-and-greet and making periodic loudspeaker announcements about Barbour’s impending 10 a.m. arrival.
But it was hard to tell from the mix of business suits and pit jackets on hand which guest of honor had more supporters in the crowd.
The Republican governor is up for re-election Nov. 6, and his face has been ubiquitous around the Golden Triangle in recent weeks. Waltrip is a relative stranger to these parts, and a national celebrity of even higher name identification than Barbour himself.