As NASCAR’s original speedway and site of the annual Southern 500, Darlington Raceway is at the heart of stock car racing history and tradition. And every year since 2015, Darlington has been the site of an annual high-speed celebration of sports history: Throwback Weekend.
For Sunday at Darlington, race teams from across the garage opened the vault and traveled back in time to choose a special paint scheme for the Goodyear 400. Whichever way drivers and teams choose to honor the past – a notable scheme in team history, a nod to racers who came before them, or a near and dear car from their own racing lives – Throwback Weekend has quickly become one of the most anticipated of the entire NASCAR season. and a favorite among fans and competitors.
Here’s a complete rundown of all the throwback paint schemes that will be running in the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend at Darlington:
Trackhouse Racing throwbacks are based on the Coca-Cola paint schemes raced by Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. when the two first raced against each other in a 1998 exhibition race in Japan. Ross Chastain’s #1 is based on the car driven by Earnhardt Jr., while Daniel Suarez’s #99 is based on Earnhardt Sr.’s car.
Austin Cindric’s car will use the same basic paint scheme used on Rusty Wallace’s car in his final season in 2005. Wallace capped off his Hall of Fame career by qualifying for the Chase for Nextel Cup and finishing eighth in points with eight best fives and 17 top 10s.
Kevin Harvick’s throwback is based on the Rheem “Chasing a Cure” paint schemes that were raced in October 2011 and 2012. Darlington will mark Rheem’s 500th race as a NASCAR sponsor.
Kyle Larson’s paint scheme is a throwback to the Hendrick-sponsored Pontiac driven by Tim Richmond in the 1984 Busch Grand National Series. Richmond would later be hired to drive for Hendrick in 1986, winning seven races that season and two others before his career and life were cut short by AIDS.
The RFK Racing cars driven by Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher will be replicas of the cars driven by Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth in the 2004 season. Keselowski’s car is based on the Viagra Ford Martin with which he won at Dover, while Buescher’s is based on the DeWalt Ford that Kenseth won at Rockingham and Las Vegas.
Corey LaJoie returns to No. 777 Plymouth Belvedere which was driven by country music star Marty Robbins during his racing career. Robbins, who has had 35 career Cup Series starts, drove this car at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway when he was moonlit as a racer.
The Chase Elliott paint scheme is a throwback to Ford NAPA Auto Parts driven by longtime independent racer Jimmy Means during the 1993 Cup Series season. Means made the last 18 starts of his Cup career that season, scoring a best finish of 16th at Bristol.
Denny Hamlin’s return is for his main paint scheme from the 2016 season, in which he earned his first of three Daytona 500 victories. Hamlin beat Martin Truex Jr. to the line by 0.010 seconds, the finish the closer to Daytona 500 history.
Chase Briscoe returns to Oldsmobile Target Chip Ganassi Racing which Tony Stewart drove to a sixth-place finish in the 2001 Indianapolis 500. Stewart completed the Indy-Charlotte double that year, flying to Charlotte and finishing third in the Coca-Cola 600 right after the Indy 500.
Rick Ware Racing throwbacks encompass both the distant and relatively recent past. JJ Yeley’s #15 is based on the Toyota 5-Hour Energy that Clint Bowyer drove for Michael Waltrip Racing from 2012-2015. Cody Ware’s #51 is based on Burnham Boilers Chevrolet Hall of Famer Mike Stefanik a driven in the Busch North Series in the 1990s.
Kyle Busch’s return is at M&M’s Pontiac which was driven by Ernie Irvan in Las Vegas in 1998. The race marked M&M’s first ever as NASCAR’s title sponsor before the brand embarked on a long run as as a full-time sponsor that will end at the conclusion of 2022.
Christopher Bell’s paint scheme is a throwback to the SiriusXM paint scheme he rode during his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship winning season in 2017. Bell has driven SiriusXM colors five times this season, earning two wins at Pocono and New Hampshire.
Harrison Burton’s scheme is a throwback to the Exide Batteries Ford his father Jeff Burton drove in the 2000 season. The elder Burton won four times, including the Pepsi 400 at Daytona and a New Hampshire race in which he led every round, en route to a career-best third in points. He also clinched a sixth-place finish in Charlotte the day before his son Harrison was born.
Joey Logano returns to his own quarterback midget race car since he started racing. Logano drove this car as a kid in the late 1990s growing up in Middletown, Connecticut.
Bubba Wallace’s MoneyLion Toyota uses the same basic layout that Wallace drove in the late-model race in 2008. Driving the No. 76 that year, Wallace became the youngest driver ever won at Franklin County Speedway in Virginia.
William Byron’s paint scheme marks the return of the “Fire and Flames” paint scheme that Jeff Gordon drove throughout the 2000s. This particular version is based on the 2007 season, where Gordon equaled and then passed his rival from longtime Dale Earnhardt on NASCAR’s all-time win list.
Cole Custer’s No. 41 is a throwback to the No. 0 NetZero Pontiac which was fielded by Haas CNC Racing during the 2003 season. The team started the year with driver Jack Sprague, then replaced him with the late Jason Leffler – a childhood hero of Custer.
Both Petty GMS cars are throwbacks to the cars Petty Enterprises fielded in the very first Daytona 500 in 1959. Ty Dillon’s #42 is the same one that won the race with Lee Petty, while #43 Erik Jones qualified sixth with Richard Petty before an early engine failure.
Kurt Busch’s return is to McDonald’s Ford Thunderbird which was driven by Bill Elliott during the 1996 season. Elliott McDonald’s cars were very well known, but the 1996 season was not his best as he missed seven races due to injuries sustained in an accident at Talladega.
Alex Bowman’s base paint scheme is the same as the Valvoline Ford Thunderbird driven by Mark Martin from 1992 to 1995. The car was arguably the most iconic one Martin drove in the 1990s, as there are won 13 times and scored a second place finish. finished on points in 1994.
BJ McLeod’s throwback will be a tribute to the paint scheme McLeod drove in a super late model competition at Orlando Speed World in 2004. McLeod won a race at the circuit with this paint scheme.