Darlington Raceway on Thursday celebrated the 70th birthday of NASCAR in a big way, announcing details for the fourth annual NASCAR throwback weekend.
The track revealed the 2018 edition of the throwback weekend will celebrate “Seven Decades of NASCAR,” to be held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at the legendary 1.366-mile track.
The weekend will include the Cup Series’ Bojangles’ Southern 500 and the Xfinity Series’ Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200.
NASCAR held its first of several organizational meetings on Dec. 14, 1947, at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida. That ultimately led to the official formation of NASCAR on Feb. 21, 1948.
The throwback weekend will honor and feature highlights of some of the biggest moments in the sport’s history over its first 70 years.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Darlington Raceway and the NASCAR industry to celebrate the sport over a seven decade period during our 2018 throwback weekend,” Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said in a media release.
“We have been era specific the past three years,” Tharp added, “so we felt it was important to recognize the 70th anniversary of NASCAR with our ‘Seven Decades of NASCAR’ celebration next season and give the teams, sanctioning body and others a wider brush to paint a picture capturing memorable moments we might not have celebrated in year’s past.”
Memorable moments to be celebrated include several that took place at Darlington itself, including Ned Jarrett’s record-setting 14-lap victory in the 1965 Southern 500, Ricky Craven’s record-setting photo finish win over Kurt Busch in 2003, and Jimmie Johnson’s 2012 Southern 500 win, which gave team owner Rick Hendrick his 200th career victory, among others.
As has been the case for the first three throwback weekends, the track will once again issue commemorative tickets for the Southern 500.
“We have produced commemorative tickets for our fans every year of the throwback program, which is an important part of our platform,” Tharp said. “We appreciate how much the fans have supported Darlington Raceway and want them to walk away from our weekend with a special keepsake that recognizes our rich history and honors the stars of our sport.”
Brad Keselowski – Keselowski will pilot the “Midnight” paint scheme Rusty Wallace made famous in the mid-90s during his time in Team Penske’s No. 2 car. This isn’t the first time Keselowski has driven this look. It was on his No. 2 Ford in August 2015 at Michigan.
Austin Dillon – This year marks the 30th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s 1987 win in the Southern 500. Richard Childress Racing is honoring that achievement by putting Earnhardt’s Wrangler paint scheme from that year on Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet and Ryan Newman‘s No. 31 Chevrolet.
Kasey Kahne–Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet will pay tribute to Geoffrey Bodine, the first driver to win for Hendrick Motorsports in the Cup Series. The paint scheme is the same one Bodine had on the No. 5 in 1985 when it was sponsored by Levi Garrett.
Trevor Bayne – The No. 6 Ford will resemble the car Mark Martin drove when the No. 6 was sponsored by Stroh Light from 1988-89. Darrell Wallace Jr. drove the paint scheme in the 2016 Xfinity race at Darlington.
Danica Patrick – The No. 10 Ford will have the paint scheme that Dale Jarrett used in his 1999 Cup Series championship year when he drove for Robert Yates Racing. Patrick also will be sponsored by Ford Credit, which was a sponsor on Jarrett’s No. 88 Ford that season.
Denny Hamlin – The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will pay tribute to famed modified driver Ray Hendrick (no relation to Rick Hendrick). “Mr. Modified” was named one of the 50 greatest NASCAR drivers in 1998.
Ty Dillon – Germain Racing’s No. 13 Chevrolet looks similar to the way it did in last season’s Southern 500. The car will yet again have a paint scheme that Smokey Yunick once used on the No. 13 car he owned in the 1960s.
Clint Bowyer – Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford will have the sponsor and paint scheme that NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin drove in the Xfinity Series from 1988-1991. All three of the Southern 500 Throwback Weekends have featured Martin paint schemes.
Reed Sorenson – His car honors car owner Bud Moore, who was inducted with the 2011 class into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Brett Bodine originally raced this paint scheme in 1989.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – The Roush Fenway Racing driver will once again pay tribute to former No. 17 driver Darrell Waltrip. Stenhouse’s paint scheme is modeled after the one Waltrip drove in the 1997 season.
Joey Logano – The No. 22 Ford will bear the paint scheme used by Jimmy Vasser in IndyCar in 2002, the year Shell and Pennzoil merged.
Corey LaJoie – The No. 23 Toyota will pay tribute to Davey Allison. LaJoie’s paint scheme will be the one used by Allison in 1984 when he drove a No. 23 Miller High Life Pontiac in the Busch Series (now Xfinity Series).
Chase Elliott – The Hendrick Motorsports’ driver will drive the light blue paint scheme his father Bill Elliott had in his first Cup start on Feb. 29, 1976 at Rockingham Speedway.
Ryan Newman – Like Austin Dillon, Newman’s No. 31 Chevrolet will evoke Dale Earnhardt’s 1987 Wrangler paint scheme.
Matt DiBenedetto – The Go Fas Racing driver will have the scheme used by Bobby Allison in 1988 when he won the Daytona 500 for his 84th and final NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Jeffrey Earnhardt – The grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr. will drive a Lowes Food paint scheme “The Intimidator” used in the Xfinity Series in 1989.
Landon Cassill – The Front Row Motorsports Ford will have the same paint scheme it used last year. It’s based on the look of Love’s Travel Stops’ first store, opened in Amarillo, Texas, in 1981.
Chris Buescher–The No. 37 Chevrolet will resemble the No. 37 driven by Patty Moise in the Xfinity Series in 1988.
David Ragan – The No. 38 Ford will have a paint scheme based on the 1960s look of sponsor Good Sam.
Kyle Larson – The Chip Ganassi Racing driver will pay tribute to team co-owner Felix Sabates and NBCSN analyst Kyle Petty with a paint scheme based on their 1995 Coors Light car. Petty drove for Sabates’ Team SABCO.
Aric Almirola – Four months after Almirola was born in March 1984, Richard Petty won his 200th and final Cup race in the July 4 Firecracker 400 at Daytona. Almirola will sport the same paint scheme “The King” took to victory lane that day.
AJ Allmendinger – The JTG Daugherty Racing driver will have the paint scheme Terry Labonte drove in 1986 when his No. 44 car was sponsored by Piedmont Airlines.
Cody Ware – He and Rick Ware Racing will use this weekend’s car to offer prayers to those in Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The car also resembles the Mello Yello paint scheme Kyle Petty once drove.
Derrike Cope – The 1990 Daytona 500 winner will have his own throwback for the Southern 500. Cope will have his paint scheme and sponsor from the 1994 Cup season when he drove the Mane ‘n Tail No. 12 car for Bobby Allison Motorsports.
Cole Whitt – The TriStar Motorsports driver will have a paint scheme that his grandfather, Jim Whitt, nicknamed “Gentleman Jim Whitt,” had when he won the Cajon Speedway Track Championship in a No. 60 car known as the “Lime Green Machine.”
Erik Jones – The Furniture Row Racing rookie will have a special paint scheme that pays tribute to the Cup Rookie of the Year award winners from 1984-89.
Martin Truex Jr. – The Furniture Row Racing car will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bass Pro Shops’ TRACKER Boat line.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – In his final Southern 500 start, Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet will bear the paint scheme Earnhardt used during his two championship seasons in the Xfinity Series in 1998-99. Earnhardt drove the No. 3 AC Delco car for Dale Earnhardt Inc., winning 13 races over the course of the two seasons.
Michael McDowell – The No. 95 Chevrolet, owned by Leavine Family Racing, will bear the paint scheme 1992 Cup champion Alan Kulwicki drove in his Rookie of the Year season in 1986. LFR operates out of the same shop Kulwicki did until his death in a 1993 plane crash.
Other Throwback Weekend paint schemes:
Elliott Sadler (Xfinity Series) – Sadler will drive a tribute to Cale Yarborough and his Hardee’s paint scheme.
Michael Annett – The JR Motorsports driver will have a paint scheme used by Brad Doty in the World of Outlaws sprint car series in the 1980s.
Justin Allgaier – The JR Motorsports veteran will have a paint scheme based on the Mom ‘n’ Pops scheme that Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Kerry Earnhardt used when they competed in late models.
William Byron – The JR Motorsports rookie will pay tribute to the late Ricky Hendrick, the son of Rick Hendrick, with a paint scheme inspired by the one he drove to his only Truck Series win in 2001.
Blake Koch – The Kaulig Racing driver will again drive an old Darrell Waltrip paint scheme. Koch’s No. 11 Chevrolet is inspired by Waltrip’s 1985 Budweiser scheme that he won that season’s Cup title in.
J.J. Yeley – The No. 14 car will be based on an old A.J. Foyt car that the four-time Indy 500 winner raced in NASCAR.
Ryan Reed – The Roush Fenway Racing driver will have the Zerex paint scheme Alan Kulwicki drove in 1989.
Daniel Hemric – The Richard Childress Racing driver will have the paint scheme that Jeff Green drove in 2002 when he competed for RCR.
Dakoda Armstrong– The JGL Racing driver has a more faithful tribute to Cale Yarborough’s Hardee’s paint scheme.
Ryan Sieg – The RSS racing drive will pay tribute to his brother, Shane Sieg, who died two weeks ago at the age of 34. The paint scheme was used by Shane Sieg in late model racing.
Kevin Harvick – Harvick will drive the original Hunt Brothers Pizza paint scheme that was first used in 2008 by Ken Schrader.
Matt Tifft – The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will honor Dale Earnhardt Sr., driving the paint scheme Earnhardt used in one race in 1977 when he drove the No. 19 car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Erik Jones – Jones will pay tribute to Davey Allison with his 1988 rookie paint scheme.
Jeremy Clements – The No. 51 car will pay tribute to A.J. Foyt and his 1964 win in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona. Clements’ grandfather, Crawford, served as Foyt’s crew chief for the race.
Dylan Lupton – The JGL Racing driver will pilot the “Rainbow Warrior” paint scheme of his childhood idol, Jeff Gordon.
Cole Custer – The Stewart-Haas Racing driver will pay tribute to two-time Xfinity Series champion Sam Ard.
Brendan Gaughan – An eight-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series, Gaughan will be sponsored by NAPA and feature the paint scheme he had for his first two Truck wins at Texas Motor Speedway in 2002.
Brandon Brown – The No. 90 Chevrolet will pay tribute to the late Dick Trickle, who made 303 Cup starts from 1970-2002. The scheme is based on Trickle’s Heilig-Meyer’s car.
Brad Keselowski Racing (Camping World Truck Series) – The two trucks owned by BKR, the No. 19 driven by Austin Cindric and the No. 29 of Chase Briscoe, will have paint schemes dedicated to the Keselowski family’s racing history for the Sept. 3 race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Austin Cindric – The purple and white paint scheme was used on cars driven by Keselowski’s uncle, Ron Keselowski, in both USAC and the NASCAR Cup Series. From 1970-74, he earned 11 top-10 finishes in 68 starts as a driver, including a pair of fifth-place finishes in back-to-back seasons at Michigan International Speedway.
Chase Briscoe – The No. 29 truck will bear the paint scheme driven by Brad Keselowski’s father, Bob, to victory lane in 1997 at Richmond. It was his only win in 86 Truck series starts.
John Hunter Nemechek – The son of Joe Nemechek will have the BellSouth paint scheme “Front Row Joe” had in the Cup series in 1999 when he won his first of four Cup races.
Blake Koch will channel his inner Darrell Waltrip in next weekend’s Sports Clips Haircuts VFW Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.
The race will take place Saturday, Sept. 2, at 3:30 p.m. ET. It will be televised on NBCSN.
Koch will drive the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro that will pay homage to Waltrip and his 1985 NASCAR Cup championship-winning car.
Koch will carry the same red and white paint scheme that Waltrip took to three wins, 18 top-fives, 21 top-10s and four pole awards en route to the season title.
“Honoring Darrell (Waltrip) again this year seemed like a no-brainer after the reception last year’s scheme received in the industry,” said team owner Matt Kaulig. “We’re honored that Darrell is on board with us running another one of his paint schemes.”
Forty cars are entered for this weekend’s Bojangles Southern 500 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.
This will be Darlington’s second consecutive “Throwback Weekend,” where numerous Sprint Cup cars will carry paint themes primarily from the 1975-84 era.
With Dale Earnhardt Jr. sidelined for a seventh consecutive race due to a concussion, Jeff Gordon will return for the fifth race to drive the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Gordon was unable to race this past Sunday at Michigan due to previous commitments.
Alex Bowman filled in at MIS for the second time for Earnhardt during his absence, having previously raced at New Hampshire.
This will be the 113th time the Sprint Cup Series has raced at the unique, egg-shaped oval in South Carolina. Carl Edwards is the defending race winner from last year’s event.