Race Weekend Central

NASCAR 101: Here Are the 2019 Darlington Throwback Schemes

It’s that time of year again: the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series return to Darlington Raceway for Labor Day weekend and its festivities, leading up to the Bojangles Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 1.

This year, the theme throws back to the years 1990-1994, though some chose schemes outside that period. A few teams throwback to cars in movies, while others mirror their personal or family vehicles. Some schemes resemble racecars from the 1950s, while others are as recent as 2011. There’s even a throwback to a sponsor’s tractor design.

Many teams and drivers revealed their throwback designs, though not all chose to participate in the weekend’s theme. Those who announced their schemes are included below; if a driver isn’t listed, they either aren’t running one or haven’t released it at press time.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Landon Cassill

Throwback: Sterling Marlin’s No. 40 Coors Light Dodge, which he drove at Darlington in 2002 and in which he won his last Cup Series race.

Kurt Busch

Throwback: Busch’s 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. The model year was among the Camaro’s first generation.

Brad Keselowski

Throwback: Rusty Wallace’s Miller Lite scheme from 1996.

Austin Dillon

Throwback: Richard Childress’ black gold Oldsmobile Cutlass from the late 1970s.

Ryan Newman

Throwback: Honors Mark Martin’s 1993 Southern 500 scheme that earned owner Jack Roush his first Darlington victory.

Daniel Hemric

Throwback: Caterpillar’s colors and logo from its tractors produced in 1925.

Chase Elliott

Throwback: Dad Bill Elliott’s scheme when he won his first Cup pole at Darlington in 1981.

Aric Almirola

Throwback: Honors owner Tony Stewart’s 2002 championship run.

Denny Hamlin

Throwback: Darrell Waltrip’s chrome-numbered scheme from the 1990s. This was unveiled at Waltrip’s final race broadcast at Sonoma Raceway before his retirement.

Ryan Blaney

Throwback: Michael Waltrip’s No. 30 Pennzoil scheme from 1991-1995.

Clint Bowyer

Throwback: Commemorates Stewart’s third and final Cup title in 2011.

Kyle Busch

Throwback: Bobby Hillin’s Snickers scheme from 1990.

Martin Truex Jr.

Throwback: Truex’s first full-time season in the Xfinity Series in 2004, driving the No. 8 car for Chance 2 Motorsports.

Erik Jones


Throwback: Jones’ first late model scheme. He will make his 100th career Cup Series start in the Southern 500.

Paul Menard

Throwback: Wood Brothers Racing team founder Glenn Wood’s 1957 Ford Sunliner from the NASCAR Convertible Series.

Joey Logano

Throwback: Harvick’s 2007 Daytona 500 victory scheme in which he edged Mark Martin by two-hundredths of a second. The video highlights a memorable quote from Logano after his 2010 altercation with Harvick.

William Byron

Throwback: Cole Trickle’s paint scheme from the movie Days of Thunder.

Corey LaJoie

Throwback: Dale Jarrett’s 1991 Nestle Crunch paint scheme from the Xfinity Series.

Michael McDowell

Throwback: Jimmy Means’ No. 52 Alka-Seltzer scheme from the late ’80s to early ’90s. Front Row Motorsports was originally a partnership between Means and Bob Jenkins that lasted a year. Jenkins then broke away and founded FRM.

Matt Tifft

Throwback: David Hilliker’s late model car, which Tifft’s father owned during Tifft’s childhood.

David Ragan

Throwback: David Pearson’s Torino Cobra from 1969, when he won his third and final championship. It’s also the year Pearson became a Shriner, of which Ragan is also a member.

Daniel Suarez

Throwback: Stewart’s 2005 Cup Series championship scheme. This was Hall of Famer’s second of three titles.

Kyle Larson

Throwback: Ricky Craven’s 1995 Kodiak scheme in which Craven earned Rookie of the Year honors.

Bubba Wallace

Throwback: Honoring the late Adam Petty with a scheme similar to Petty’s first ARCA victory in 1998.

Ryan Preece

Throwback: Honors Ron Bouchard’s car driven at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in 1984. Bouchard also drove for Preece’s grandfather Bob Judkins in the Modified Series.

Jimmie Johnson

Throwback: Johnson’s 1990 Chevy Thunder Sportside from his off-road racing days. He drove this truck in the 1995 Baja 1000 Trophy Truck division.

BJ McCleod

Throwback: The title character’s Ford Thunderbird scheme from the 1983 movie Stroker Ace.

JJ Yeley

Throwback: 1953 Daytona Beach race winner Bill Blair’s No. 2 Oldsmobile.

Garrett Smithley


Throwback: Lennie Pond’s 1976 Pepsi car

Reed Sorenson

Throwback: Honors Motor Racing Network’s 50-year run covering the sport.

Alex Bowman

Throwback: Tim Richmond’s No. 25 scheme from 1986-87, when Richmond drove for Hendrick Motorsports.

Matt DiBenedetto

Throwback: 1987 IMSA GTU Championship-winning GTO Toyota Celica. The hues used on the cars are analogous to Toyota’s colors.

Xfinity Series

Garrett Smithley

Throwback: Tribute to the late Mike Mittler, who was Smithley’s first team owner (MB Motorsports) in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series.

Cole Custer

Throwback: Buckshot Jones’ 1997 Aquafresh scheme.

Michael Annett

Throwback: Jeff Gordon’s Baby Ruth Xfinity Series scheme from 1992, when Gordon drove for Bill Davis Racing.

Tyler Reddick

Throwback: Commemorates Kyle Petty’s 7-Eleven scheme run in the 1980s.

BJ McLeod

Throwback: Bobby Labonte’s 1992 Xfinity Series Slim Jim paint scheme.

Justin Allgaier

Throwback: Tribute to Ricky Rudd’s 1979 Truxmore Chevrolet.

Gray Gaulding

Throwback: the 1991 Cling Free scheme of SS-Green Light Racing team owner Bobby Dotter.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Throwback: A tribute to Dale Earnhardt’s first Cup Series start in 1975 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Justin Haley

Throwback: Jeff Burton’s Raybestos scheme from Burton’s rookie Cup season in 1994. It’s also a tribute to Matt Kaulig’s father Bob Kaulig, who was vice president of Raybestos from 1985-2008.

Stephen Leicht

Throwback: Ken Schrader‘s No. 25 Budweiser scheme he drove in the mid-1990s for Hendrick Motorsports.

Denny Hamlin


Throwback: Bill Elliott’s early 1990s No. 11 Budweiser paint scheme.

Brandon Jones

Throwback: The Gray Ghost driven by  Buddy Baker.

Austin Cindric

Throwback: Resembles team owner Roger Penske’s first and lone race-winning car, a 1963 Pontiac Catalina.

Joey Gase

Throwback: Todd Bodine’s Tabasco scheme from the 1998 season.

Jeremy Clements

Throwback: Another Days of Thunder tribute, this time the No. 51 Exxon paint scheme.

Mike Harmon

Throwback: Harmon’s No. 24 car from the mid- to late 1990s.

Brandon Brown

Throwback: Terry Labonte’s 1993 Kellogg’s Corn Flakes paint scheme.

Chase Briscoe

Throwback: Parnelli Jones’ 1963 Indianapolis 500-winning paint scheme.

About the author

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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Big Monte

Morgan Shepherd’s throwback is to his first cup win in 1981. Missing from your list, sadly. PR just posted on his site today…

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