DARLINGTON, S.C. — To see so many cars with retro paint schemes is like going into a time warp but imagine if your job depended on knowing those cars?
While the throwback weekend has drawn praise from fans, spotters face a bit of a challenge at Darlington Raceway. For some, their car looks different from what it normally does. For others, it’s just a matter of being able to pick out certain cars. By the time Sunday night’s Southern 500 begins on NBC, spotters say they will have gotten used to all the different cars, and that won’t be an issue.
“It’s not really that bad because you’re telling them inside or outside,’’ said Bob Jeffrey, spotter for Tony Stewart. “I’ll tell him car numbers if I know who they are, but I don’t always do that. The main thing is you remember what your car looks like.’’
Stewart’s car is slightly different from what he normally drives, but it’s not as different as other cars. Danica Patrick’s car, easy to spot because of the bright green, features a predominately black scheme this weekend, and Paul Menard’s car, also easy to spot because of its day-glo yellow, features a predominately white paint scheme.
Stevie Reeves, spotter for Menard, says he won’t have a problem finding his car but notes that other spotters might have an issue.
“The one thing that a lot of spotters do on certain tracks that are more difficult is they pick up a bright color car, and you know you’re around them and you can pick them out,’’ Reeves said. “I was the bright color car.’’
Tab Boyd won’t have a problem spotting for Joey Logano with Logano’s car, which pays tribute to the paint scheme Mario Andretti ran in the 24 Hours of LeMans. Boyd has been working on the car in the shop the last couple of weeks.
“I love them,’’ Boyd said of the numerous throwback schemes with cars. “It’s so cool. I love (Brad Keselowski’s car) because Bobby Allison was one of my heroes growing up and seeing that car on track is really neat. I really love (Clint Bowyer’s car) because that’s hand-painted. That brings me back to my childhood, watching people come over and hand-paint my dad’s race car, and my uncle hand-painted his race car.’’
Bowyer’s car pays tribute to the late Buddy Baker, and Keselowski’s car pays tribute to Allison.