Last year and all of this year, Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway was talked about as one of the most memorable weekends within the sport of NASCAR in the last decade. Not because of the winner. Not because of the racing. Not because of the weather. Not because of anything normal that would happen at a racetrack in a given weekend.
It was because of the “Throwback Weekend” that then Darlington Raceway track President Chip Wile, who has since accepted a position at Daytona International Speedway as the track president, announced to the world early in the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season.
The throwback weekend will include almost every single car featuring a special paint scheme. From “The Tide Ride” to legends honoring Hall of Famers such as Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett and Cale Yarborough, this weekend has race fans overjoyed with excitement.
In this weekly race preview, I will be going through each paint scheme and grading them on a 1-10 scale, with analysis of the scheme. Take a look at all of them, too. You won’t regret it. Heck, even some XFINITY Series cars will be sporting throwback schemes.
Bojangles Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Throwback Paint Schemes
No. 1 Chevrolet: Jamie McMurray
Old Bill Elliott car. Makes me want to take a nap – or two.
No. 2 Ford: Brad Keselowski
Not much going on here, but the 1972 Miller Lite design is sweet.
No. 3 Chevrolet: Austin Dillon
Piedmont Airlines look that was RCR’s first ever win in 1983.
No. 4 Chevrolet: Kevin Harvick
Rating: 10! Jk, I’ll go 8
1979 Daytona 500 car from Cale Yarborough.
No. 5 Chevrolet: Kasey Kahne
Honors Terry Labonte from 1981. A little bland for my taste.
No. 6 Ford: Trevor Bayne
Mark Martin’s Valvoline scheme from 1996 and 1997 for Roush.
No. 7 Chevrolet: Regan Smith
Honors Alan Kulwicki. But so does another driver (stay tuned)!
No. 10 Chevrolet: Danica Patrick
Nature’s Bakery first logo look. Their fig bars are bomb.
No. 11 Toyota: Denny Hamlin
Darrell Waltrip’s early No. 11 car. Looks kind of strange, though.
No. 13 Chevrolet: Casey Mears
Smokey Yunick tribute. A complete 360 from today’s designs.
No. 14 Chevrolet: Tony Stewart
Bobby Allison’s classic car. Probably my favorite throwback.
No. 15 Chevrolet: Clint Bowyer
Benny Parson’s tribute. Nice and classic, but a little plain too.
No. 16 Ford: Greg Biffle
Alan Kulwicki REAL tribute. Hooters sponsorship. Pure awesomeness.
No. 17 Ford: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Another Darrell Waltrip tribute. This one is sleek and cool.
No. 18 Toyota: Kyle Busch
Honors JGR’s beginnings with Dale Jarrett/Bobby Labonte. Love it.
No. 19 Toyota: Carl Edwards
Tribute to Tony Stewart’s early career at JGR. Very well done.
No. 20 Toyota: Matt Kenseth
The Tide Ride! Craven, Rudd, Waltrip, oh my! One of the best!
No. 21 Ford: Ryan Blaney
Tribute to David Pearson, the Silver Fox. But, kind of looks the same.
No. 22 Ford: Joey Logano
Honors Bobby Labonte’s first Penske NXS win. Really spot on.
No. 23 Toyota: David Ragan
Old Dr. Pepper logo. Wait for the No. 83’s too, it’s dope as well.
No. 24 Chevrolet: Chase Elliott
Just not feeling this one. Looks like someone threw up on it.
No. 27 Chevrolet: Paul Menard
Al Unser Jr.’s only NASCAR start in the 1993 Daytona 500.
No. 31 Chevrolet: Ryan Newman
Honors the old RCR typeface and Caterpillar logo as well.
No. 32 Ford: Jeffrey Earnhardt
Honors Dale Earnhardt’s famous Wrangler car. A true classic.
No. 34 Ford: Chris Buescher
Old Love’s Travel Stops logo. Looks very appealing to me, IMO.
No. 38 Ford: Landon Cassill
Honors J.D. McDuffie. It looks ~nice~ … get it? Look it up.
No. 41 Chevrolet: Kurt Busch
No real reason to throwback, but they tried. Gold star for you.
No. 42 Chevrolet: Kyle Larson
The first Target racing car ever in motorsports. I like the look.
No. 43 Ford: Aric Almirola
That Petty Blue is synonymous with winning. And looks GREAT.
No. 44 Ford: Brian Scott
No throwback. And he’s a bad driver. You messed up, BScottRacing.
No. 46 Chevrolet: Michael Annett
Pilot’s beginning’s. Looks like the definition of an old car.
No. 47 Chevrolet: AJ Allmendinger
Honors 1975 Rookie of the Year Bruce Hill. Looks good.
No. 48 Chevrolet: Jimmie Johnson
Honors Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson. Takes me back!
No. 78 Toyota: Martin Truex Jr.
Auto-Owners throwback, colors compliment the car nicely.
No. 83 Toyota: Matt DiBenedetto
GUIDO! Orange Crush, what a great drank (and scheme).
No. 88 Chevrolet: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (but actually Jeff Gordon)
Buddy Baker tribute. Dope.
No. 95 Chevrolet: Michael McDowell
Richard Childress tribute. Blue collar looking car.
VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series Paint Schemes
No. 1 Chevrolet: Elliott Sadler
Citi Financial throwback for the No. 90 Roush Ford. Swag.
No. 2 Chevrolet: Paul Menard
Kind of a middle of the road throwback, but still nice.
No. 3 Chevrolet: Ty Dillon
Throwback to Ruud (his sponsor). Again, middle of the road.
No. 07 Chevrolet: Ray Black Jr.
Reminds me of Jamaica. Ya mon, go in circles, mon.
No. 7 Chevrolet: Justin Allgaier
Not much going on. Somewhat bland, but better than nothing.
No. 11 Chevrolet: Blake Koch
Rating: 10. LOVE THIS!
Tribute to Darrell Waltrip’s Mountain Dew scheme.
No. 28 Toyota: Dakoda Armstrong
Davey Allison tribute. That’s my name, so I have to like this.
No. 39 Chevrolet: Ryan Sieg
Also love this one. Dale Jarrett 1999 tribute. My dad’s favorite!
No. 42 Chevrolet: Kyle Larson
Colors are overwhelming. Looks like a lava lamp, but I like it.
No. 51 Chevrolet: Jeremy Clements
Very simple, yet very nice. I like this one a lot.
No. 62 Chevrolet: Brendan Gaughan
Also simple. The funky numbers type makes it pop out.
Oh, and contrary to popular belief (and mine, too), there IS indeed a race at “The Lady in Black” this Sunday, Sept. 4 at the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval located in South Carolina. Carl Edwards won this race last season, as it produced one of the best all-around races of the season.
The Southern 500 in 2015 featured the 2016 lower downforce package and got rave reviews. As always at the track aptly nicknamed “Too Tough to Tame,” the very top lane will be the preferred lane. And drivers will get their “Darlington Stripe,” a scrape on the side of the car from hitting the wall throughout the 500-mile, 366-lap event.
My pick to win is Matt Kenseth, as stated in this week’s edition of Victory Lane. I think the mix of his awesome looking paint scheme, along with Joe Gibbs Racing’s dominance thus far this season, will play into the Wisconsin native’s hands, and he’ll emerge victorious.
NOTES: The VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 will take place Saturday evening on NBCSN just past 7:00 p.m. ET and the Chevrolet Silverado 250 will take place Sunday afternoon from Canadian Tire Motorsports Park just past 2:30 p.m. ET. Enjoy the races, everyone!