Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hamlin honors Yarborough during Southern 500

Denny Hamlin is sporting a special paint scheme tonight for the Southern 500. He's honoring NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Cale Yarborough and is using a former Busch Beer paint scheme with current sponsor Sport Clips colors.

A decal recognizing Yarborough is placed on the car's B pillar.

Yarborough has been able to win five different times at the track that’s Too Tough to Tame. Hamlin has won here once in six starts.
Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Denny Hamlin
Photo credit: Genevieve Cadorette
Yarborough was at the press conference with Hamlin on Friday, and spoke about racing in the 1960s.

When asked what he thought of the car, Yarborough responded, “I think it’s great. It brings back a lot of memories, you know. The only thing I wish is that he’d a got to run a race on the Darlington racetrack before 1968. It was a racetrack then, but of course it’s still tough now.”

Yarborough continued to say, “I won that 1968 Southern 500. That was the last race they run on the old racetrack and I wouldn't take anything in the world for that.”

Hamlin spoke highly of Yarborough and the history of racing. “What’s so amazing to me is you see the old video, and it definitely doesn't do it justice, ” Hamlin said.

“These guys had no air conditioning, no power steering, no nothing. They had to man through it and tough through it, and when you saw them after the race, and their face is all black and everything. That’s how it used to be. These guys were iron men back then. Nowadays, the cars are hot because we’re closed in and not as much air comes in the cars today as it used to be.”

When asked if Hamlin would’ve liked to have raced back in the 1960s, Yarborough jokingly interrupted and said, “No, he wouldn’t be winning all that money he’s winning now.”

Hamlin laughed with Yarborough, and responded positively, “I would love it. Things have changed so much.”

Hamlin remarked on NASCAR's corporate evolution.  “It’s what puts people in the stands and puts the cars on the race track - everything evolves," said Hamlin. "You have to take the time to honor the people that helped pave the way to get here."

Yarborough continued to joke when asked if he would want to race today, “I’d love to be making the kind of money he’s making, but I wouldn’t take anything for being a part of this sport in the early days, and be able to see what it turned into."

Hamlin dominated the VFW Sports Clips Honor a Hero 200 Nationwide race yesterday and finished second in the No. 18 Sports Clips Toyota that sported the same paint scheme. For the Southern 500, he and his team feel like they’re the best car right now. Hamlin said in regards to the possibility of winning tonight, “He's (Yarborough) had a hall of fame career, he’s won tons of races and obviously 55 wins came in the 11 car.”
Cale Yarborough talking with Jimmie Spencer
Photo Credit: Genevieve Cadorette

It would be Hamlin’s second victory at the Lady in Black, and mark the 200th victory for the No. 11 car should he win tonight. “I was just a small part of the number 11 being the winningest number,” Hamlin told reporters, “He’s the one that paved the way for this all to happen. The car looks great out there. It looks like that 1979 Busch car he had.”

A reporter asked Yarborough if he had any advice for Hamlin, “I don’t need to give him no advice,” he said jokingly.

In conclusion, Yarborough was asked if the secret to succeeding today is the same as it was back in his day, “Yes, same thing, “ he answered, “ It’s like he said, there’s no margin for error here. You can make one little slip and this track will grab you.”


Genevieve is a freelance writer with a day job living on Lake Norman in the Charlotte, N.C., area. When not writing, she's hanging out with family, friends, or exercising. All pictures in this post are her own, for photography is her new hobby. You can follow her on Twitter at @C_Genevieve.


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