Retro Rundown 2018: Southern 500 paint schemes

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The 69th Southern 500 is just around the corner. You only have to wait 20 days for the Sept. 2 race at Darlington Raceway, which will air on NBCSN.

That night will be a blast from the past with paint schemes representing NASCAR’s history as the track celebrates NASCAR’s 70th anniversary.

Here’s a roundup of the paint schemes that have been announced so far.

No. 00 – Landon Cassill: The StarCom Racing driver will pilot a car with Bobby Allison’s 1988 Miller High Life paint scheme. Derrike Cope, StarCom’s team manager, drove for Allison from 1994-96. Matt DiBenedetto drove the scheme in last year’s Southern 500.

No. 2 – Brad KeselowskiWill drive Rusty Wallace’s paint scheme from the 1990 Cup season.

Team Penske

No. 4 – Kevin Harvick: Will drive a scheme based on Busch Beer’s can design from 1996.

Stewart-Haas Racing

No. 9 – Chase Elliott: The Hendrick Motorsports driver will have a scheme based on one driven by his late cousin, Casey Elliott. He passed away from cancer in 1996.

Photo: Dustin Long

No. 12 – Ryan Blaney: Will drive a scheme based on the car his father, Dave Blaney, raced in the 2003 Cup season.

No. 14 – Clint BowyerBowyer will driver a paint scheme based on the car NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett drove to a win in the 1965 Southern 500.

 

No. 17 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr: The Roush Fenway Racing driver will have the John Deere paint scheme driven by Chad Little from 1997-2000.

Top: Roush Fenway Racing/Bottom: Getty Images

No. 18 – Kyle Busch: The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will pilot the original Skittles paint scheme first driven by Ernie Irvan in 1997.

No. 20 – Erik Jones: The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will pay tribute to the Camping World Truck Series career of his spotter, Rick Carelli.

No. 21 – Paul Menard: Wood Brothers Racing will pay tribute to Cale Yarborough’s win in the 1968 Southern 500, which was the first for the team and Yarborough.

No. 22 – Joey Logano: The Team Penske driver will pay tribute to Steve Park with the Pennzoil scheme Park drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the early 2000s and won two races with.

Logano picture: NBCSN/Steve Park picture: Getty Images

 

No. 24 – William Byron: Will drive Jeff Gordon‘s iconic DuPont “Rainbow Warriors” scheme he raced full-time from 1993 -2000.

Hendrick Motorsports

No. 31 – Ryan Newman: The Richard Childress Racing driver will honor the late Neil Bonnett with his scheme. The car will be painted like the Mom & Pop’s sponsored car Bonnett drove in two Cup races in 1993. He was the first RCR driver to drive the No. 31.

RCR

No. 32 – Matt DiBenedetto: Will drive Jeff Burton‘s paint scheme from the 2000 Cup season.

 

No. 37 – Chris Buescher: The JTG Daugherty Racing driver’s car will have a scheme dedicated to the 110th anniversary of Busch’s Best beans.

No. 41 – Kurt BuschWill drive his own paint scheme from the 2003 season when he was part of one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history at Darlington Raceway, losing to Ricky Craven by 0.002 seconds. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the race.

 

No. 43 – Bubba Wallace: The rookie driver will boast the first STP paint scheme Richard Petty drove in 1972 at Riverside International Speedway.

Richard Petty Motorsports

No. 48 – Jimmie Johnson: The three-time Darlington winner will drive the scheme he used in 2012 when he won the Southern 500 and gave Hendrick Motorsports its 200th victory.

Richard Childress Racing

No. 95 – Kasey Kahne: The Leavine Family Racing driver will boast the paint scheme from his 2006 Cup season, when he won a career-best six races and claimed six poles.

No. 99 – Derrike Cope: Cope will be sponsored by Bojangles and will have the paint scheme Cope drove in the Cup Series in 1993 when sponsored by the company.

StarCom Racing

 

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NASCAR America: Parker Kligerman runs well in the pack

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In this week’s Running with the Pack segment on NASCAR America, Landon Cassill had a special pick: the driver sitting to his right, Parker Kligerman.

Kligerman gave the Gaunt Brothers No. 96 a 24th-place finish and completed all 90 laps at Watkins Glen International.

“We go into these races thinking top 25 is basically a win for a small team like ours with only a handful of starts for this race team in the Cup series,” Kligerman said after his selection. “We actually went out there and did it. Had top 20 speed at times.”

The Running in the Pack segment showcases cars and drivers who are able to beat competitors with greater resources. Kligerman finished in front of RCR’s Austin Dillon and the Wood Brothers’ Paul Menard – as well as Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano, who had problems during the race.

There were a few drivers who had races get away from them, however. AJ Allmendinger (15th) and Michael McDowell (18th) finished among the top 20, but their skill on road courses suggested they could have challenged for a top 10.

“When you think about Michael McDowell – Allmendinger – when they go to a road course, you’ve got to know the pressure is immense on those two because that’s what they circle at the beginning of the year,” Kligerman said.

Kasey Kahne faded from his 10th-place position on the grid to 21st at the checkers, and that left Kligerman as the best example of a driver who was able to overachieve.

“It’s tough to survive an entire road course race smooth, with no mistakes,” Cassill said.

For more, watch the video above.

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Chase Elliott gives Hendrick Motorsports 250th Cup win

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Chase Elliott held off Martin Truex Jr. at Watkins Glen International Sunday and scored the 250th win for Hendrick Motorsports.

In addition to those wins, Hendrick owns 12 Cup titles.

Seventeen drivers have gone to Victory Lane for Rick Hendrick since Geoff Bodine first did it at Martinsville in 1984.

“On behalf of everyone at Chevrolet, I am extremely pleased to congratulate Rick and the entire Hendrick Motorsports family on this tremendous accomplishment of 250 race wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports in statement. “This major milestone is the result of years of passion, persistence, and teamwork to get the job done. We are especially proud of the fact that all 250 wins have been in Chevrolet race cars. Rick’s passion for the brand and dedication to putting Chevrolet in Victory Lane has been relentless. As a key partner and respected friend, we salute you.”

Here’s the complete list of Hendrick Cup winners.

Driver           Wins
Jeff Gordon    93
Jimmie Johnson    83
Terry Labonte    12
Dale Earnhardt Jr.    9
Darrell Waltrip    9
Tim Richmond    9
Geoff Bodine    7
Kasey Kahne    6
Mark Martin    5
Kyle Busch    4
Ken Schrader    4
Ricky Rudd    4
Casey Mears    1
Brian Vickers    1
Joe Nemechek    1
Jerry Nadeau    1
Chase Elliott 1

Leavine Family Racing leaving RCR technical alliance after this season

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Car owner Bob Leavine confirmed Sunday that Leavine Family Racing will leave its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing after this season.

The move was first reported by frontstretch.com.

Leavine said Sunday at Watkins Glen International that his team notified RCR in early July that it was not returning to the technical alliance after this season.

Leavine’s actions could signal a manufacturer change for the single-car car team. That also would mean a new engine manufacturer since Leavine gets its engines from Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines.

Leavine said he’s also had conversations with Toyota and Ford, while also negotiating to retain Kasey Kahne after this season.

“In our talking to the manufacturers this year, Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far,” Leavine said. 

“Everything we have investigated and done with Toyota has felt good from one end of the spectrum, the technical, to just the relationship basis.”

Would Leavine Family Racing’s move to Toyota provide a place for Xfinity driver Christopher Bell to race in Cup next year? Bell has said he feels he is ready to move to Cup and has won four times this season in that series but there appears no room at Joe Gibbs Racing or Furniture Row Racing in Cup for him.

“Christopher is a great driver,” Leavine said. “We have had no discussions with Christopher. He’s a Toyota driver, so they’ve got their program and know what they want to do. They haven’t relayed to us any interest of him in our car. I’m sure they’ve got a plan for him. The kid has great talent.”

Leavine said the team is in talks with Kahne, whose contract ends after this year, to return to the No. 95 team.

“He’s expressed a desire to come back, he’s doing a great job for us,” Leavine said of Kahne, who enters Sunday’s race 27th in the driver standings. “Same reason we hired him last year.”

Also, car owner Tad Geschickter said that JTG Daugherty will move from Earnhardt Childress Racing engines to Hendrick engines after this season. JTG Daugherty left the RCR technical alliance for Hendrick after last season.

Car owner Richard Childress said Sunday that replacements would be found for the departure of Leavine Family Racing from the technical alliance and JTG Daugherty from the engine program next year.

“We’re good,” Childress said. “We’ve got replacements for all of them but one, so we’re fine.”

NASCAR alters weekend schedule at Watkins Glen

Photo: Dustin Long
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NASCAR announced Wednesday that it will impound Cup cars immediately after qualifying Saturday night and not inspect them until Sunday morning at Watkins Glen International.

What it means is that the starting lineup won’t be official until a few hours before the start of Sunday’s race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

NASCAR is making the change to avoid keeping crews at the track later into the night Saturday. The Cup garage opens that day at 7 a.m. ET. Qualifying is set for 6:35 p.m. ET and inspection likely would not be finished until after 9:30 p.m. ET

What NASCAR will do is open the garage at 8 a.m. ET Sunday (instead of 11 a.m. ET as previously scheduled) and conduct inspection. It likely will take about 2 1/2 hours.

Any car that fails inspection will have its qualifying time disallowed and start at the rear. Failure a second time will lead to a crew member ejection (likely the car chief) and a third failure will lead to a 10-point penalty. Last weekend at Pocono, 13 Cup cars failed inspection at least once and were forced to start at the rear. The cars of Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne, each failed three times. NASCAR docked those teams 10 driver and car owner points.

Pit stalls for the race will be picked by crew chiefs at approximately 11 a.m. ET Sunday.