Geoff Bodine

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Kasey Kahne evokes Hendrick Motorsports’ first winner with Geoff Bodine scheme for Southern 500

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Hendrick Motorsports has a long, entrenched history of winning in NASCAR with the likes of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte and Darrell Waltrip.

But the team’s winning ways began with Geoff Bodine.

Hendrick Motorsports and Kasey Kahne will honor Bodine by using his Levi Garrett paint scheme from the 1985 season in the Sept. 3 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Kahne and his No. 5 Chevrolet will be sponsored by Great Clips.

Bodine raced for Hendrick Motorsports from 1984-89 and won seven times. Among those was his victory in the 1986 Daytona 500, which was Hendrick Motorsports’ first of eight wins in the “Great American Race.”

Kahne’s paint scheme is the third throwback scheme in Cup to be announced for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, joining Ryan Blaney’s and Brad Keselowski’s.

Bodine made his first Cup start in the 1979 Daytona 500 and his last in the 2011 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the intervening 32 years, Bodine made 575 starts and earned 18 wins. His first, in the April 1984 Martinsville race, also was the first Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports.

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Report: Fairgrounds Speedway promoter seeks to return NASCAR racing to Nashville

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The promoter of Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee, is seeking a long-term agreement with the Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners to operate the .596-mile track in hopes of luring NASCAR regional and touring series events, according to The Tennessean.

The track once hosted NASCAR’s top series. The Cup series raced there from 1958-84. The Xfinity Series raced there in 1984, 1988-89 and 1995-2000. The Camping World Truck Series raced there from 1996-2000.

Among the track’s winners were Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Geoff Bodine, who won the final Cup race there in July 1984.

Track promoter Tony Formosa stated in a column in April in The Tennessean that with a “five-year (agreement) or longer, we could restore this track to its glory days and again be an important economic driver to Nashville.” That would include seeking NASCAR-sanctioned races.

Monday’s story states that Formosa has had a contract to operate the facility since 2010 but it has been mostly year-to-year contracts.

The last NASCAR-sanctioned race at that track was a K&N Pro Series East race in 2008.

NASCAR issued a statement to the newspaper about the track.

“NASCAR has a long history in the Nashville area and our fans there are as passionate as any place we race,” the organization said in its statement. “NASCAR races are in demand, and we’re pleased with our current lineup of racetracks. Many of the discussions related to racing in Nashville have centered around the popular regional and touring series events.”

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Kasey Kahne to channel Geoff Bodine’s 1984 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in Southern 500 at Darlington

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(Photo courtesy Hendrick Motorsports)

Kasey Kahne will join the retro throwback look in the return to the traditional Labor Day weekend for the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Kahne’s No. 5 HendrickRideAlong.com Chevrolet will carry a theme similar to Hendrick Motorsports’ first-ever entry at the Track Too Tough To Tame. Geoff Bodine drove the original All-Star Racing Monte Carlo at Darlington back in 1984, the year Rick Hendrick founded Hendrick Motorsports.

“We finished 35th in our first Darlington race back in ’84 and nearly closed the doors,” Hendrick said in a media release. “Martinsville was next on the schedule, and (crew chief) Harry Hyde did a great sales job and talked me into running one more race.

“He was convinced Geoff could win there, and, thankfully, he was right. We were able to get a sponsor, which allowed us to finish the season and set the table for everything that’s happened since.”

Kahne was just four years old when Bodine drove the No. 5 at Darlington.

“I think the car looks great,” Kahne said. “I am excited to drive it at Darlington, a track that we have come close to winning at in the past and been fast at since I’ve been in Cup. It is a big weekend, Labor Day weekend, the Southern 500 – that is a race that I really want to win, and to be in a great looking, old-school paint job.

“I think the fans will really enjoy it,” Kahne said. “I know from me being a race fan as well as a driver, I like the retro. I like the older look of cars once in a while. I’ll be doing it, Chase Elliott, Dale (Earnhardt), Jimmie (Johnson) – there’s a bunch of us doing it throughout that weekend, so I think it is really neat to bring that back on a big race weekend.”

But the retro look isn’t the only thing on Kahne’s mind. He’s hoping to win Sunday night’s race, which would put him in the 16-driver Chase field.

“It would mean a ton to win the Southern 500,” he said. “It has always been one of those races I wanted to win as much as any other one. We have come close but haven’t been able to do it. But to do it in this car, that time of the year right before the Chase – I think with momentum and confidence it would be the perfect time.”

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Retro Rundown: Paint schemes for the Southern 500

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Whether you’re visiting Darlington Raceway for the Sept. 6 Southern 500 or watching from home on NBC, you might experience confusion or a sense of Déjà vu spanning more than 40 years of NASCAR history.

With the Southern 500’s return to its traditional spot on Labor Day weekend for the first time since 2003, many Sprint Cup teams are using the opportunity to commemorate the history of their team or sponsors with retro paint schemes.

Here’s a look at the paint jobs that will populate the field next Sunday at the track “Too Tough to Tame,” which held its first race in 1950:

Brad Keselowski – The 2012 Sprint Cup champion’s No. 2 Ford will look like a Miller High Life car Bobby Allison once drove. Allison won at Darlington five times, including a sweep of the 1975 races with Team Penske.

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Austin Dillon  The No. 3 belonging to the Richard Childress Racing driver pays tribute to the early days of RCR when Childress, Dillon’s grandfather, was behind the wheel.

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Kevin Harvick – The defending Darlington race winner. The paint scheme for Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet was announced back in May. Harvick’s car “mimics the first can Budweiser produced.”

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Kasey Kahne – The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet will channel Rick Hendrick’s first race car, the All-Star Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, driven by Geoff Bodine in the 1984 Southern 500 at Darlington. Hendrick was ready to close up shop after Darlington, but crew chief Harry Hyde convinced him to continue on. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Trevor Bayne – Party like it’s 1998! Bayne will be driving the paint scheme used by Mark Martin in the Sprint Cup in 1998, when he won seven races and finished second in the points to Jeff Gordon.

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Alex Bowman
– Alex will be driving a very sharp black and yellow Chevrolet SS for Tommy Baldwin Racing. The scheme will honor Baldwin’s father, “Tiger” Tom Baldwin, who spent 40 years racing in a Modified. He earned six Modified wins and victories in other circuits, as well.

 

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Sam Hornish Jr.
– The paint job for the No. 9 Ford at Richard Petty Motorsports is a tribute not to the Sprint Cup Series but to the 1990s when the Xfinity Series was known as the Busch Grand National Series. The scheme looks like the one driven by Mark Martin for many of his 49 series wins.

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Danica Patrick – The No. 10 Go Daddy Chevrolet is meant as a tribute to Darlington, affectionately known as “The Lady in Black.”

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Denny Hamlin – The No. 11 Toyota pays tribute to when Cale Yarborough drove the No. 11 in the 1970s. Yarborough won five times at Darlington.

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Tony Stewart – The three-time Sprint Cup champion has never won at Darlington, but if he does this year, it will be with the original Bass Pro Shop logo from the late 70s adorning the hood of his No. 14 Chevrolet.

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Clint Bowyer – The No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota was hand-painted to honor the late Buddy Baker, who drove a No. 15 car sponsored by RC Cola in 1974 for Bud Moore.

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Greg Biffle – Biffle’s No. 16 Ford will be sponsored by Ortho. The red in the scheme is based off the color of Ortho’s original delivery cars.

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – The No. 17 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing pays tribute to when David Pearson wheeled the 17 for the Wood Brothers, winning six of his 10 Darlington races for the team. The Cargill sponsored car was unveiled at Darlington Raceway.

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Ryan Blaney – The Wood Brothers decided to turn their No. 21 Ford into a mosaic depicting the team’s 65-year history. The scheme includes about 2,000 pictures dating back to 1950.

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Joey Logano – His Team Penske Ford will honor the Shell-sponsored Porsche Mario Andretti drove in the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1988. Andretti drove with son Michael Andretti and nephew John Andretti. They started third and finished sixth.

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Jeb Burton – The son of Ward Burton will race the paint scheme his father used when he won the 2001 Southern 500.

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Chase Elliott – Racing his last Sprint Cup event of 2015 before going full time in 2016, Elliott’s No. 25 Chevrolet is a more subtle throwback. The angled red stripe toward the rear-end is a tribute to the paint scheme used by his father, Bill Elliott, when he won the Southern 500 and the “Winston Million” in 1985.

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JJ Yeley – Will drive a unique scheme designed by famed NASCAR and motorsport artist Sam Bass. The car will benefit Beds for Kids, a Charlotte-based charity that empowers families with children by delivering beds and other furniture for those in need.

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Paul Menard
– The 2011 Brickyard 400 winner personally helped out in the design of his No. 27 Chevrolet, which is based on the marketing for the Menard’s home improvement stores in the early 1970s.

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Ryan Newman – The RCR driver’s No. 31 Chevrolet will be an homage to what Caterpillar’s heavy equipment looked liked in the 1970s. Newman has never won at Darlington.

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Josh Wise
– Twelve years after Ricky Craven came out on top in the closest finish in modern NASCAR history at Darlington in the No. 32, Wise and Go Green Racing our bringing back the paint scheme Craven used in the 2003 race. The sponsors are different, but the bright “Tide” orange is easy on the eyes.

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Mike Bliss – What would a retro throwback to Darlington be without an homage to Harry Gant’s old green and white paint scheme from back in the day. Bliss will be driving the No. 33 for Hillman Racing.

 

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Landon Cassill – The paint scheme for Cassill’s No. 40 Snap Fitness Chevrolet is a tribute to the “God Bless American” scheme used by Sterling Marlin in the Sept. 31, 2001 Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. That was the second race following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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Kurt Busch – Stewart-Haas Racing didn’t always exist in its current form. Before Tony Stewart joined the team, it was known as Haas CNC Racing, which first competed in the Sprint Cup season in three races in 2002. Busch’s paint scheme is the original one driven by Jack Sprague.

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Kyle Larson – The No. 42 Chevrolet gets two tributes in one with this Mello Yello paint scheme. It’s the look used by fictional driver Cole Trickle in the 1990 film “Days of Thunder” and it would then be used by Kyle Petty from 1991 to 1994 when he drove the No. 42 for SABCO Racing, which was owned by Ganassi co-owner Felix Sabates.

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Aric Almirola
 – In 1972, STP premiered as the main sponsor of Richard Petty. He would go on to win eight times that year leading to a championship. With STP, Petty would earn 60 of his 200-career wins. Almirola sports the paint scheme from that 1972 campaign.

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Michael Annett
– The No. 46 will carry the color scheme and logo of Annett’s sponsor from the 1970s.

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Jimmie Johnson – The three-time Darlington winner will sport the Lowe’s Home Improvement logo used in the 1940s and 50s. Lowe’s was founded in 1946, four years before Darlington hosted its first race.

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Justin Allgaier – Making his second career Sprint Cup start at Darlington, Allgaier’s No. 51 Chevrolet will honor the career of legendary race car driver and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, who raced the No. 51 in several of his 128 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts.

 

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David Ragan
– The two-time Sprint Cup winner is using the retro weekend to honor the Cup career of his father, Ken Ragan. The elder Ragan raced in 50 Sprint Cup races from 1983-90 driving mostly for his brother Marvin. His career included five starts at Darlington Raceway. This paint job was raced by Ken Ragan in 1987.

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Martin Truex Jr. – The New Jersey native’s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet will have a special teal paint scheme for this weekend’s race to raise awareness for National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Truex has nine career starts at Darlington, with his best performances being fifth in 2012 and sixth in 2009.

 

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.
– The 12-time most popular driver will have a new, one-time sponsor for the Southern 500. Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet will bear the name and colors of Valvoline motor oil. Valvoline sponsored drivers like Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett and Buddy Baker in the early 1980s, but is probably more well known among fans for its time with Mark Martin at Roush Racing throughout the 1990s.

 

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Also participating in the retro fun is Goodyear. The tire company has branded the tires for the Southern 500 race weekend with an older white logo, which can be seen on Twitter at @GoodyearRacing.

UPDATE: NASCAR Hall of Fame Walter ‘Bud’ Moore gets street named for him

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The city council of Spartanburg, S.C., unanimously voted Monday night to name a street in honor of NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Walter “Bud” Moore, who also was a decorated World War II infantryman, receiving two Bronze Stars during his service.

The street to be renamed with Moore’s name is Beaumont Avenue where his race shop was located.

During his time in NASCAR, Moore worked with drivers including Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Geoff Bodine, Bobby Allison and fellow Spartanburg native David Pearson.

As a team owner, Moore’s 37-year run included 63 wins, 298 top-fives, 463 top-10s. He won the 1978 Daytona 500 with Allison. He also was a part of three championships. He was Buck Baker’s crew chief in 1957 when Baker won the title. Moore was team owner when Joe Weatherly won series titles in 1962 and ’63.

Moore, who survived a mild heart attack last April, was a full-time owner until 1996 and fully retired in 2000.