Race Weekend Central

Fire on Fridays: Here’s Why Darlington’s NASCAR Throwback Works

There is nothing in NASCAR like Darlington Speedway. The egg-shaped oval is one-of-a-kind, and the racing at the facility is phenomenal. It is one of the few tracks that still exists in a way to give fans nostalgia.

And that’s why the NASCAR throwback campaign is perfect for Darlington.

For the last five years, NASCAR teams have used Darlington as a weekend to honor the past, all while living in the present. Teams modernize old paint schemes, dating anywhere from decades ago to just a handful of seasons back.

The bright colors of the Tide cars have hit the track, as have the simple looks adorning stock cars for so long. For one weekend out of the year, a NASCAR race in 2019 feels like it’s the 1980s.

What makes the NASCAR throwback weekend so amazing is that it goes back to a time when things were simpler. It shows NASCAR’s humble beginnings as a South-based form of auto racing. Moreover, it allows fans to envision what their current drivers would be like in the NASCAR of old, before corporate sponsors dictated who competes for what time.

At the same time, it also shows a driver’s true roots. This throwback weekend is special for drivers, just as much as it is for fans.

Look at Erik Jones’ paint scheme for this weekend that goes back to his first late model start in 2010. He’s one of several drivers honoring their racing roots. Oh, and there’s also Jimmie Johnson’s rad scheme.

There are also drivers who are honoring their peers, like Joey Logano showing some respect to Kevin Harvick in light of Richard Childress Racing’s 50th anniversary. Logano’s Ford will look like Harvick’s 2007 Chevrolet, when car No. 29 edged Hall of Famer Mark Martin at the checkered flag in the Daytona 500.

The paint schemes these drivers choose says a lot about where they came from. It lets fans get a peek into their true passion for racing, rather than just hearing them list their sponsors. Instead, the driver can give a tribute to someone they grew up loving, a family friend or even their own humble beginnings.

Most of all, having this occur at Darlington is exactly what NASCAR needs at this point in the year. The crown jewel event is a staple for the Labor Day weekend. Many are off work on Monday, and that means plenty will have the chance to stay up and watch the Southern 500.

NASCAR can use some nice momentum entering the playoffs, and Darlington is the place to do it. It’s time to show respect to those from NASCAR’s past, all while cheering on the sport’s modern-day drivers who each fell in love with racing thanks to their predecessors.

Any driver who wins at Darlington automatically enters the history books, and the paint scheme they pilot this weekend will do exactly the same.

About the author

Joseph started with Fronstretch in Aug. 2014 and worked his way up to become an editor in less than a year. A native of Whitestone, New York, Joseph writes for NASCAR Pole Position magazine as a weekly contributor, along with being a former intern at Newsday and the Times Beacon Record Newspapers, each on Long Island. With a focus on NASCAR, he runs our social media pages and writes the NASCAR Mailbox column, along with other features for the site.

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Throwback paint schemes….just lipstick on the pig.


Takes the focus off how bad the “racing” is.

David Edwards

A different paint scheme does absolutely nothing to change the fact that times have changed and never will be what they were.
But who am I to say, if some people like it so be it.


To all you nay-sayers and Debbie downers, I hope you can find some joy somewhere in your life and lay-off trying to ruin a fun event. Simple solution, don’t watch it if you don’t like it. Gotta LOVE Darlington throw-back! Can’t wait for the race on Sunday night!

David Edwards

Thanks for the reminder. Perhaps that is exactly what all those people who used to watch Nascar did. Find some other joy in their lives. Enjoy the race.


The new “fans” don’t get it and the old fans just remember when. And the “event” is at night because the new drivers won’t “race” in the heat of the day. Suck it up, buttercup! It shouldn’t matter.


The build up, the anticipation of waiting to see the different schemes, the stories behond those paint schemes, and the excitement of seeing folks like Alex Bowman and Joey Logano have just good fun with it- It’s one of my favorite moments of the year!

I love it! I just wish it were on regular tv so I could watch it.



The infamous “fire suit” comment is served very well in this parody! Well done!


I love that Shell andt he Loganos showed their sense of humor… and the respect for Harvick and RCR. Well done!

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