Retro Rundown 2020: Southern 500 paint schemes

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It’s officially Southern 500 week.

NASCAR will make its third visit of the year to Darlington Raceway this weekend, capped off by Sunday’s Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET on NBCSN) and the start of the Cup Series playoffs.

Since 2015, the Southern 500 Throwback Weekend has played host to various retro paint schemes that pay tribute to NASCAR’s past.

More: Up to 8,000 fans approved for Southern 500

Here’s the Retro Rundown for this year as we catalogue the throwback schemes Cup, Xfinity and Truck teams will bring to the track “Too Tough to Tame.”

Cup Series

Quin Houff, No. 00 Chevrolet

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford

The Team Penske driver will have the Discount Tire scheme he had in the Xfinity Series 10 years ago.

Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet

The Richard Childress Racing driver’s car will be a tribute to NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, who died last year at the age of 88.

Austin Dillon Southern 500

 

Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Ford

Harvick will drive a paint scheme based on the 1997 NASCAR-themed Busch Beer cans.

 

Ryan Newman, No. 6 Ford

The Roush Fenway Racing driver will pilot a scheme based on the 1999 scheme from the USAC Silver Crown Series, where he won the national championship.

Ryan Newman Darlington

 

 

Josh Bilicki, No. 7 Chevrolet

Tommy Baldwin Racing will honor Tommy Baldwin Sr.’s racing career.

 

Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Chevrolet

The Richard Childress rookie will throw back to the paint scheme NASCAR on NBC’s Jeff Burton had in 1994 when Burton won Cup rookie of the year honors.

 

Chase Elliott, No. 9 Chevrolet

Elliott will pay tribute to Jimmie Johnson with his 2009 championship scheme.

Chase Elliott Southern 500

 

Aric Almirola, No. 10 Ford

 

Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota

Hamlin’s scheme is a throwback to when FedEx was first founded at Federal Express in 1973. The design of the No. 11 is based based on Cale Yarborough’s number that year when he won at Darlington.

Denny Hamlin Darlington

 

Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Ford

The Team Penske driver will sport the Menards paint scheme that Paul Menard had when he competed in the ARCA Menards Series in 2003.

Ryan Blaney Darlington

 

Ty Dillon, No. 13 Chevrolet

Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Ford

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver will honor NBC Sports analyst Kyle Petty. Bowyer’s car will have the Peak Antifreeze scheme Petty drove for SABCO Racing in 1990 and won at Rockingham in.

 

Brennan Poole, No. 15 Chevrolet

Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota

Busch will pilot a paint scheme based on the M&M’s car driven by Elliott Sadler in 2004 at Robert Yates Racing.

Kyle Busch Southern 500

 

Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Toyota

 

Matt DiBenedetto, No. 21 Ford

DiBenedetto will arrive in Darlington with a tribute to the Wood Brothers’ 1963 Ford Galaxie. That’s the car Tiny Lund won the 1963 Daytona 500 with. It’s also the car Glen Wood won his final Cup Series race in at Bowman Gray Stadium on July 13, 1963.

Matt DiBenedetto

 

Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford

Logano will drive a scheme inspired by the No. 22 Miller car that Bobby Allison raced in 1985.

Joey Logano

 

William Byron, No. 24 Chevrolet

Byron will honor Jimmie Johnson with his 2013 All-Star Race winning scheme.

William Byron Southern 500

 

J.J. Yeley, No. 27 Ford.

 

John Hunter Nemechek, No. 38 Ford

The rookie driver’s scheme is based on Elliott Sadler’s CITGO scheme from 1999 and 2000.

 

Cole Custer, No. 41 Ford.

 

Bubba Wallace, No. 43 Chevrolet

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet

For his final Southern 500, Johnson will pay tribute to his fellow seven time Cup champions, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

Jimmie Johnson Southern 500

 

Joey Gase, No. 51 Chevrolet

Gase will drive a tribute to Bobby Allison’s 1971 win in the Southern 500 and the Coca-Cola scheme he had that year. It’s the same Allison tribute Tony Stewart had in the 2016 Southern 500.

Joey Gase

 

James Davison, No. 53 Chevrolet

Timmy Hill, No. 66 Toyota

Ross Chastain, No. 77 Chevrolet

Chastain will drive a paint scheme that honors the scheme Dale Earnhardt drove early in his career.

Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet

Bowman will honor Jimmie Johnson by racing his 2006 championship scheme, his first of five Cup titles in a row.

Alex Bowman Southern 500

 

Christopher Bell, No. 95 Toyota

Bell will drive the scheme he had when he won the Truck Series title in 2017.

 

Daniel Suarez, No. 96 Toyota

 

Xfinity Series

 

Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 0 Chevrolet

 

Brett Moffitt, No. 02 Chevrolet

 

Michael Annett, No. 1 Chevrolet

With sponsorship from Oreo, the JR Motorsports driver will honor his team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., with driving the scheme Earnhardt drove to a win in the 2002 Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Michael Annett Darlington
Top: JR Motorsports/Bottom: Getty Images

 

Ryan Vargas, No. 7 Chevrolet

 

Justin Allgaier, No. 7 Chevrolet

 

Daniel Hemric, No. 8 Chevrolet

The JR Motorsports driver will pilot a John Andretti tribute scheme. The scheme is based on the K Mart/Little Caesars car that the late Andretti raced in the 1995 and 1996 Cup seasons. 

Daniel Hemric Darlington

 

Joe Graf Jr., No. 08 Chevrolet

Chad Finchum, No. 13 Toyota

Harrison Burton, No. 20 Toyota

The son of NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton will honor his farther with one of his past schemes.

 

Anthony Alfredo, No. 21 Chevrolet

 

Tommy Joe Martins, No. 44 Chevrolet

 

Kyle Weatherman, No. 47 Chevrolet

Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Chevrolet

Clements, a South Carolina native, will drive a scheme that pays tribute to NASCAR champions from his home state. Drivers who will be honored include:

Cup Series: Buck Baker (Richburg, SC – C 1957-58), David Pearson (Spartanburg, SC – 1966, 1968-69) and Cale Yarborough (Timmonsville, SC –  1976-78)

Xfinity Series: Sam Ard (Pamplico, SC – 1983-84) and Larry Pearson (Spartanburg, SC – 1986-87)

Jeremy Clements Darlington

 

Stephen Leicht, No. 68 Toyota

Brandon Brown, No. 68 Chevrolet

 

Myatt Snider, No. 93 Chevrolet

 

Chase Briscoe, No. 98 Ford

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver will pay tribute to team owner Tony Stewart by driving his 2011 Cup championship scheme.

DGM Racing: Alex Labbe and Josh Williams

Truck Series

 

Derek Kraus, No. 19 Toyota

 

Spencer Boyd, No. 20 Chevrolet

Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Toyota

 

Timmy Hill, No. 56 Chevrolet

 

Clay Greenfield, No. 68 Toyota

 

GMS Racing

Sammy Smith to run full Xfinity season for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023

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Sammy Smith will run the full Xfinity schedule in the No. 18 car, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday.

The 18-year-old Smith, a Toyota development driver, won the ARCA Menards Series East title for a second consecutive year in 2022 and also made nine Xfinity starts with JGR.

Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and Allstate Peterbilt will be sponsors on Smith’s car throughout the 2023 season. Jeff Meendering will be Smith’s crew chief.

“This is an opportunity I have been working towards,” Smith said in a statement from the team. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel full-time and am looking forward to a great season. I learned a lot in 2022 that will really help me to be competitive and run up front in the Xfinity Series. Thank you to Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation, Allstate Peterbilt Group, and Toyota Racing Development for supporting me in my racing career. I am excited for next year and appreciate the opportunity.”

Said Steve DeSouza, JGR executive vice president of Xfinity Series and driver development, in a statement: “Sammy is a fantastic addition to our 2023 Xfinity lineup. He proved to have the passion and the talent to necessary to compete for wins in the races he ran for us in 2022,” .“We are excited to get him in the No. 18 full time and know he will be competitive from the jump.”

NASCAR Power Rankings: Racing through the numbers

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Some drivers carry one car number throughout their racing careers. The most famous racers in NASCAR’s 75-year history typically are associated with one number, although some have raced under several.

Victories, championships and driver personalities give life to something as generally mundane as a number. And the most popular produce even bigger numbers, as in sales of T-shirts, caps and other souvenirs.

Here’s a look at 10 of the most iconic NASCAR numbers:

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

1. 43 — Since Richard Petty’s emergence as a superstar in the 1960s, the number 43 has been NASCAR’s most iconic. Although Lee Petty, Richard’s father, usually drove No. 42, he actually scored the first win by the 43, in 1959. The Petty blue No. 43 carried Richard to a string of championships. He scored 192 of his 200 race wins with the number. It rolls on today with Erik Jones, who took the 43 to the Southern 500 victory lane this season.

2. 3 — The fiercely facing forward No. 3 became ultra-famous while driven by seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt (although Earnhardt won his first title driving the No. 2). Earnhardt’s black Chevrolet carried the number to new heights, but Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Buck Baker, Buddy Baker and Ricky Rudd, among others, also won in the car.

MORE: Where are they now? Buddy Parrott

3. 21 — The list of drivers who have raced Wood Brothers Racing’s famous No. 21, with the familiar gold foil numbers, reads like a history of NASCAR. David Pearson brought the most fame to the number, but Tim Flock, Curtis Turner, team owner Glen Wood, Cale Yarborough, A.J. Foyt, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnett and Dale Jarrett also have driven the 21.

4. 11 — This number is responsible for more race wins — 228 — than any other. It also has scored eight championships — three each by Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough and two by Ned Jarrett. Other stars in the 11 over the years: Junior Johnson, Bobby Allison, A.J. Foyt, Terry Labonte, Geoffrey Bodine, Bill Elliott and Denny Hamlin. And some guy named Mario Andretti.

5. 48 — This number was largely ignored until the arrival of Jimmie Johnson, who carried it to seven championships, including five in a row.

6. 24 — The number 24 was a lonely number until 1994 when a kid named Jeff Gordon drove it to its first win, in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The brightly colored 24 became a regular visitor to victory lane from that point forward, carrying Gordon to four championships and becoming one of NASCAR’s most decorated numbers.

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7. 18 — Although Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte won in the 18, Kyle Busch, draped in the bright colors of sponsor M&Ms, took it into new territory.

8. 22 — NASCAR’s first Cup champion (Red Byron) and its most recent (Joey Logano) rode with the 22. The number has produced 87 wins over the years, including victories by Fireball Roberts, Bobby Allison, Ward Burton, Kurt Busch, Byron and Logano.

9. 2 — Although the 2 carried Dale Earnhardt (1980) and Brad Keselowski (2012) to Cup championships, it is perhaps most identified with Rusty Wallace, whose menacing black No. 2 was powerful at Team Penske. Also successful in the 2: Bill Blair, Kurt Busch and Austin Cindric, this year’s Daytona 500 winner.

10. 9 — The 9 was basically nondescript until Bill Elliott roared out of the north Georgia mountains to turn it into a big winner in the mid-1980s. His son, Chase, continues the trend.

 

 

Truck Series: Rajah Caruth joins GMS Racing

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Rajah Caruth will drive the No. 24 truck full-time for GMS Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023, the team announced Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Caruth ran a full season in the ARCA Menards Series last year, placing third in points. He also made seven Xfinity starts and four Truck starts last year. 

“I am extremely honored, and really excited to join GMS Racing and be in the fold of a professional race team with so much history,” Caruth said in a statement from the team. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this throughout my whole career, and I’m going to do the best in my power to make the most of it.

“First and foremost, I can’t thank everybody at GMS enough for believing in me and believing that I have what it takes to drive one of their trucks. Same goes for everybody at Chevrolet for their support, we truly wouldn’t be able to make this happen without them. 

Caruth joins Grant Enfinger and Daniel Dye as GMS Racing’s full-time Craftsman Truck Series drivers. Chad Walter will be Caruth’s crew chief. Jeff Hensley will be Enfinger’s crew chief. Travis Sharpe will be Dye’s crew chief. 

The primary partner on Caruth’s truck will be the Wendell Scott Foundation. The foundation, named for the first Black driver to win a NASCAR Cup race, seeks to provide resources and services to underprivileged Black youth communities near Scott’s hometown of Danville, Virginia. Since the foundation’s formation in 2011, more than 25 students have been awarded more than $50,000 from the Wendell Scott Legacy Scholarship programs.

“We are excited for Rajah to compete full-time with GMS Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023,” said Dayne Pierantoni, GM Racing Program Manager for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. “Through Chevrolet’s partnership with Rev Racing, we have been impressed with Rajah’s talent both on and off the track. He has proven his ability to compete at the NASCAR national level, and we look forward to seeing his continued success with a series championship winning team.”

The Truck season begins Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. 

In other Truck Series news:

Dean Thompson will drive the No. 5 for TRICON Garage this coming season. The 21-year-old was a rookie in the series this past season. He had a season-best finish of 11th at Las Vegas.

“I am thrilled to start the next chapter of my career with TRICON Garage and Toyota Racing Development,” Thompson said in a statement from the team. “The team and manufacturer have quickly made a statement in the Truck Series as striving to be the best of the best. I’m ready to take on the challenge and live up to the expectations of being a driver for TRICON.”

McAnally Hilgemann Racing announced Tuesday that Christian Eckes and Jake Garcia will drive full-time in the Truck series for the team next season.

Eckes, who will drive the No. 19 truck, moves over from ThorSport Racing. Garcia will drive the No. 35 truck in pursuit of the series Rookie of the Year award.

NAPA AutoCare will continue as a team sponsor.

Garcia is 17 and is scheduled to make his first start March 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Because of NASCAR’s age restrictions, he will miss the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The team’s Daytona driver has not been announced.

Sponsor adds more races in 2023 with Josh Berry

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Jarrett Companies will increase the number of races it will sponsor Josh Berry‘s No. 8 JR Motorsports ride in 2023, the Xfinity Series team announced Monday.

Jarrett Companies will sponsor Berry in six races after serving as the primary sponsor in three races in 2022. Those six races will be Phoenix (March 11), Richmond (April 1), Dover (April 29), Atlanta (July 8), Indianapolis (Aug. 12) and Texas (Sept. 23).

The deal gives Berry at least 26 races with sponsorship for next season. Bass Pro Shops will serve as the primary sponsor of Berry’s car in 11 races in 2023. Tire Pros is back with JRM and will sponsor Berry in nine races in the upcoming season.

Berry, who reached the Xfinity title race and finished fourth in the points, will have a new crew chief in 2023. Taylor Moyer will take over that role with Mike Bumgarner serving as JRM’s director of competition.

The 2023 Xfinity season begins Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.