In the spirit of their upcoming weekend at Darlington Raceway in support of the NASCAR Cup Series‘ Cook Out Southern 500, various Xfinity and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series teams are turning back the clock with their paint schemes. It will be the sixth year for the Xfinity Series with the throwback theme, while the Trucks return to Darlington for the first time since 2011.
Jeffrey Earnhardt‘s #0 will be a tribute to his family, sporting a gold appearance based on his father Kerry and grandfather Dale Earnardt‘s Bass Pro Shops-sponsored Cup cars.
In the #6 is Ryan Vargas, set for his third Xfinity start of the season. He will sport a red car based on the retiring Jimmie Johnson‘s #92 Excedrin car when he won his only career Xfinity race in 2001 prior to beginning his legendary Cup career. Vargas is not the only driver who will pay tribute to the seven-time champion, with various others in the Truck and Cup races also doing the same.
“Beyond excited for this one, growing up a Cali-boy and a HUGE JJ fan, this one means a lot,” Vargas tweeted. “Excited to represent my idol on track.
With his NASCAR Hall of Fame induction right around the corner, Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s JR Motorsports team will feature a duo of throwbacks to cars he raced. Michael Annett‘s #1 took it to another step by acquiring sponsorship from Oreo to better emulate his team owner’s blue 2002 Xfinity car that he piloted to victory at Daytona.
Justin Allgaier will also honour his boss as his #7 is based on Earnhardt’s 2003 Daytona-winning Dirty Mo Posse vehicle. The car features flames, which were also included on Allgaier’s Brandt-sponsored car in 2016.
JRM’s third driver, Daniel Hemric in the #8, will not have an Earnhardt throwback but instead focuses on the late John Andretti. His purple, red, and orange car is modeled after the #37 driven by Andretti in 1995 and 1996 for Kranefuss-Haas Racing. Andretti, who passed away in January after losing his battle with colon cancer, was a strong supporter of awareness for his cancer, leading to the #CheckIt4Andretti campaign. The hashtag is also featured on Hemric’s car.
“The key to pulling off a successful throwback scheme and theme is having something that directly has an impact on your life or your racing career or your team’s racing career and history,” Hemric said. “This year, there’s so much more meaning being able to pay tribute to John Andretti and the entire Andretti family, one of the true wheelmen of the sport.”
Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing‘s Brandon Jones‘ #19 will turn back time to a smaller series: it is bright yellow as an homage to Robert Huffman‘s 2001 car in the Goody’s Dash Series. The car, a Toyota Celica, won eleven races and the championship that year.
“They say, ‘To finish first, you must first finish.’ For Toyota Racing, the road to finishing first in the #NASCAR Cup Series meant starting small, in the Dash Series,” wrote a JGR post. “Smaller engines and shorter races, but all of the lessons needed to learn how to succeed in the sport.
“Their strategic approach paid off in the form of 11 wins, and a Championship with Robert Huffman in their fourth season of competition. Before the Cup championships and checkered flags, it was a bright yellow Celica with the apple on the hood that will go down in the history books as the forerunner to Toyota Racing solidifying its place at the premier levels of NASCAR.“
Harrison Burton‘s #20 will honour his father Jeff and his 2001 Xfinity Gain-sponsored car.
Denny Hamlin, making his annual Darlington Xfinity start, will drive a #54 based on Cale Yarborough‘s 1984 car.
Miami Dolphins fans will certainly appreciate the #13 throwback of Chad Finchum. His Toyota is a throwback to Jerry Nadeau‘s 1998 car, fielded as part of a partnership between Dolphins legend Dan Marino and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott. The number was worn by Marino during his 17-year NFL career, while the car’s teal and orange are the Dolphins team colours.
Stephen Leicht‘s #66 features a blue base with orange, yellow, and white trim as a tribute to team owner Carl Long‘s #85 Cup car in the early 2000s.
RoofClaim.com, which has regularly sponsored MBM Motorsports, is stepping up to the plate for the team’s throwbacks. The roofing contractor changed its logos to accommodate for Finchum’s throwback, and followed suit for Timmy Hill‘s Cup car.
Mario Gosselin‘s DGM Racing operation features throwbacks to his family.
The #36 of Alex Labbé pays tribute to his 1997 Hotoers Pro Cup Series car that Mario won the championship in.
Josh Williams‘ #92 is modeled after his daughter Megan’s 2012 Mini Stock Track Championship-winning car at Auburndale Speedway in Florida.
Single-car teams and other
SS-Green Light Racing rookie Joe Graf Jr. and his #08 will throw back to Elliott Sadler‘s 2010 Xfinity car that he raced with JR Motorsports; a similar paint scheme was used by Sadler for his 2010 Truck win at Pocono. He is not the only driver to honour Sadler with his throwback, as John Hunter Nemechek and Kyle Busch are doing the same at the Cup level.
Sadler tweeted, “This is badass … the paint scheme I had during the biggest race in my entire career .. truck race at Pocomo that gave me a second chance in racing !! Thank you so much @Joegrafjr!!”
The #21 of Anthony Alfredo honours Kevin Harvick‘s 2006 Xfinity title. Harvick, the current Cup regular season champion, dominated that year with nine victories as he led the points for all but the season opener and won by a whopping 824 points.
Tommy Joe Martins‘ family operation will sport a Darrell Waltrip 1985 #11 Budweiser throwback on the #44. Blake Koch had used the throwback for the 2017 Xfinity event.
Mike Harmon Racing has supported the police with its paint schemes throughout the 2020 season, and the throwback for Kyle Weatherman‘s #47 is no exception. In particular, it is modelled after the police car from the 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.
The #51 of Jeremy Clements is a tribute to his fellow statesmen in South Carolina, featuring the facades of champions hailing from that region: two-time Cup champ Buck Baker, the great David Pearson and his two-time Xfinity-winning son Larry, two-time Xfinity titlist Sam Ard, and three-time Cup winner Yarborough.
Brandon Brown‘s teal #68 is a throwback to Janet Guthrie, the first woman to race in the Indianapolis and Daytona 500s in a period where women especially struggled to break into motorsport.
“We want to honor the people’s champion Janet Guthrie,” Brown tweeted. “She is a pioneer and fought the odds in a male dominated sport becoming the first female to qualify for the Daytona 500 and Indy 500! We hope to make you proud!”
Myatt Snider is one of NASCAR’s most colourful characters on social media. It comes with no surprise that he would have a Jimmie throwback. Jimmie Lewallen, who raced for Snider’s grandfather in the Cup Series in the 1950s, that is.
The #98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford of Chase Briscoe will throw back to team owner Tony Stewart‘s 2011 Cup championship-winning car. Like his boss and childhood hero, Briscoe is currently in the hunt for an Xfinity title. Sponsor HighPoint even modified its hood graphic to resemble the Mobil 1 logo on Stewart’s #14.
“I’ve always been a diehard Tony Stewart fan,” Briscoe said in a team release. “When Tony sets his sights on something, there’s nothing you can do to stop him, and that title run in 2011 was a perfect example.
“Now here I am running for an Xfinity Series championship, and I’m trying to do exactly what Tony did in 2011. To have his title-winning paint scheme on my car is as much of a way to honor him as it is for me to stay focused on my ultimate goal of winning a championship.”
Reaume Brothers Racing
The #00 of owner-driver Josh Reaume honours Rusty Wallace by throwing back to his Miller Genuine Draft car that he raced with in the early 1990s.
Bryant Barnhill, a South Carolina native racing at Darlington for the first time, drives a #33 modeled after Chad McCumbee‘s ARCA car.
“I’m so thankful to be coming home to @TooToughToTame! This track means sooo much to me and my family,” Barnhill tweeted. “I’ll be running a @Chad_mccumbee throwback from his @ARCA_Racing days. He’s someone who has believed in me even when I didn’t and pushed me to be better.”
GMS Racing arranged a fleet of throwbacks for Darlington, each paying tribute to various drivers regardless of make.
Hailing from Southern California, Sheldon Creed began his career in off-road and Stadium Super Trucks racing before making the jump to NASCAR. Therefore, it is only fitting that his #2 truck pays tribute to fellow SoCal native Johnson’s #888 Chevrolet trophy truck that he raced prior to stock cars.
Fellow SST driver Zane Smith‘s #21 might make fans do a double take as it is legendary Ford team Wood Brothers Racing on a Chevrolet Silverado. Smith’s truck in particular is a throwback to Pearson’s car run from 1973 to 1979, an iconic livery that has been used as a throwback by others in previous years like Ryan Blaney in 2016 during his tenure with WBR.
Brett Moffitt‘s #23 is based on Davey Allison‘s #23 Xfinity and ARCA car run in 1985 with Miller sponsorship. The same throwback had been used by Chase Elliott during his part-time schedule with GMS’ Xfinity program in 2018.
The #24 not only features a throwback paint scheme, but also a throwback driver as 2000 Truck champion Greg Biffle makes his return to the series. Biffle’s truck honours Ricky Hendrick, the late son of Hendrick Motorsports owner (and GMS ally) Rick Hendrick, who won a race in a GMAC (which currently sponsors Johnson as Ally Financial) truck in 2001.
The fifth GMS driver, Tyler Ankrum in the #26, throws his truck back to the very unusual saga of Fred Lorenzen. In 1966, Ford Motor Company bailed on NASCAR due to disagreements regarding the rules package, prompting Lorenzen to drive a heavily-modified Ford Galaxie; with its very yellow colour and odd body style due to the changes, it was dubbed the “Banana”. Although the car only ran one race (and failed to finish due to a mechanical failure), it led to the introduction of body templates, an inspection method that remains in use today.
The #44 of Bayley Currey will sport a Yarborough Hardee’s throwback.
Ty Majeski’s #45 is going the Hollywood route by emulating Brewstaker Baker‘s paint scheme from the 1982 Kenny Rogers movie Six Pack. Movie schemes are not uncommon for the Southern 500, with various drivers having replicated cars from films like Days of Thunder.
Niece’s third driver Trevor Bayne, running his first NASCAR race since 2018, will not have a throwback.
Single-car teams and other
The #18 Kyle Busch Motorsports truck of Christian Eckes is designed after sponsor Safelite’s MobileGlassShop trucks from 1983.
Derek Kraus‘ #19 NAPA truck is based on another NAPA truck from two decades prior. In fact, the only change really needed is to flip the second digit upside down. Kraus, racing for Rookie of the Year honours with McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, will throw back to four-time Truck champion Ron Hornaday‘s #16 that he piloted to the 1996 title. Team owner Bill McAnally’s ARCA Menards stable is a longtime client of NAPA’s.
“This is a great opportunity for us to honor Ron and commemorate NAPA’s first NASCAR championship,” McAnally said. “In addition, we are celebrating our 30th year with NAPA and BMR.”
Hornaday commented, “I was really surprised and honored to have Bill McAnally give me a call about running a throwback scheme at Darlington of the NAPA Auto Parts truck that I ran back in the day, in 1996. NAPA came on board and I got that first championship.”
Todd Bodine won the 2010 Darlington race en route to his second Truck title. His paint scheme from that day will be replicated by Spencer Boyd‘s #20. A similar throwback is being run by Ty Dillon at the Cup level.
It has been a busy month for 18-year-old Dawson Cram, who bought the assets to Long Motorsports alongside his father to form Cram Racing Enterprises, making him the youngest current owner in the NASCAR national series and one of the youngest in the sport’s history. For Darlington, his #41 will throw back to Tim Flock‘s powder blue 1952 Hudson. And yes, Cram will have Flock’s in-car monkey Jocko Flocko (or a stuffed version) riding with him.
Stewart Friesen‘s #52 throwback literally runs in the family as it pays tribute to the coupe his grandfather Stan Friesen raced in the 1970s.
Timmy Hill’s #56 is a throwback to the 2003 #5 truck driven by his father Jerry, though with a black base instead of white.
“I’ve always wanted to run one of my dad’s old paint schemes for a throwback and we are finally going to do it this weekend! In 2003 dad’s No.5 truck would race with a neon border around the number,” Hill tweeted. “Looking forward to finally having the trucks back at Darlington!”
The yellow #68 of Clay Greenfield honours 2004 Truck champion and fellow Tennessee native Bobby Hamilton‘s 1993 lemonade car.