History Meets the Modern Era at Darlington

Two races. 767 laps. That’s all that remains between those who make The Chase for The Sprint Cup and those that don’t. You’d expect talk to revolve around drivers on the outside looking in, and while that’s certainly part of the equation, it’s not the only thing people are buzzing about in the garage area.

This weekend is one of nostalgia. One of history. One of tradition. For the first time in more than a decade the Bojangles' Southern 500 has returned to its rightful place on the schedule – Labor Day Weekend. Most recently occupied by Atlanta, Darlington was the longtime host of the end of summer classic. Based on fan and driver reactions, it seems this is the day everyone has been waiting for.

To commemorate the return to tradition, teams were given the opportunity to run special paint schemes that paid homage to drivers and sponsors of yesteryear. What initially began with a handful of teams has grown into a weekend where very few drivers are sporting their familiar colors and decals.

Here are a few of the classic looks you’ll see on the track this weekend:

  • Aric Almirola, driver of the iconic No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports has taken the Throwback theme beyond the car. The usually clean-shaven driver has grown out his mustache to look like the one The King wore in 1972 when STP became the primary sponsor. Almirola is one of the drivers hoping to score a victory at Darlington and earn a Chase berth. When asked if this weekend’s throwback theme was a distraction he said, “I don’t think it’s a distraction at all. I think it’s fun, all the crew guys are enjoying it and I think it’s exciting. It gives everybody a chance to break up the monotony of showing up to the race track with kind of the same thing every week.”

Aric Almirola's STP Ford
Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
  • The Mello Yellow car was featured in the movie Days of Thunder, but in the real world, Kyle Petty sat behind the wheel of the green and yellow ride from 1991 to 1994. Kyle Larson, who was just a toddler when this paint scheme was popular, brings the 90s back to life on his No. 42 Chevy.
  • Defending Sprint Cup Series Champion and Southern 500 winner, Kevin Harvick isn’t driving a retro paint scheme, he’s driving a retro beer can. This gold scheme is meant to honor the first can used by Budweiser. Seems fitting to honor the sponsor this way given the current Budweiser scheme will be replaced at the end of the season. 

Kevin Harvick's Budweiser Chevy
Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
  • Although David Ragan’s No. 55 is still sponsored by Aaron’s, the design on the car is drastically different than what’s usually seen. Ragan’s father, Ken competed in the Sprint Cup Series for a short time in the late 1980’s. The younger Ragan honors his dad with this throwback. 
  • For the second time in the last month, 2012 Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski shares a paint scheme from the past. At Michigan the No. 2 was decked out in the black-and- yellow Miller Genuine Draft made popular by NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace. Another Hall of Fame member, Bobby Allison is honored this weekend with the Miller High Life themed Fusion. 

Brad Keselowski's Miller High Life Ford
Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
  • Kudos to the No. 3 team for Austin Dillon. Not only is the driver honoring his grandfather Richard Childress with his car’s look, his team is going full-out old school with their clothing. They aren't the only guys going retro, but their uniforms stand out against the competition. 

A full list of retro paint schemes can be found here.

Be sure to follow @SkirtsandScuffs on Twitter and Facebook for live updates and photos of all the throwback schemes.

History Meets the Modern Era at Darlington History Meets the Modern Era at Darlington Reviewed by Katy Lindamood on Sunday, September 06, 2015 Rating: 5