Race Weekend Central

NASCAR 101: Here Are the 2020 Darlington Throwback Schemes

After enduring an unprecedented season of multiple schedule changes, NASCAR returns to Darlington Raceway for its traditional throwback events on Labor Day weekend.

The Cup Series start its playoffs at the Lady in Black in the Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 6. Meanwhile, the Xfinity Series still has four races left in the regular season (including Darlington, which airs on Saturday). Finally, for the first time since 2011 the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will attempt to tame the track as the playoffs near.

This year’s theme celebrates past, present and future NASCAR champions, though some honored race winners of various series. The throwbacks date all the way back to the 1930s, while others honor championships from as recent as 2016. Many are driver-, team- or family-oriented, and a few have historical facets.

Speaking of throwbacks, David Ragan, Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne are all scheduled to compete in the Truck race on Sunday. Ragan will drive the No. 17 Shriners Hospitals truck for DGR-Crosley, while Biffle’s in the No. 24 truck for GMS Racing. Bayne makes his series debut in Niece Motorsports’ No. 40 Chevrolet.

Several teams and drivers shared their throwback ideas, though not everyone chose to participate in this year’s theme. Those who announced their schemes are listed below; if a driver isn’t included, they either aren’t running a throwback or haven’t revealed it at press time.

NASCAR Cup Series

Quin Houff

Throwback: Remembers Milt Marion’s 1936 win at the Daytona Beach road course. Houff’s car features Permatex, the brand Bill France Sr. used to build Marion’s engine.

Brad Keselowski

Throwback: Keselowski’s 2010 Xfinity championship.

Austin Dillon

Throwback: Honors the late Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, using a similar scheme to Johnson’s No. 3 Holly Farms Chevrolet from the 1960s.

Kevin Harvick

Throwback: Busch Beer can design from 1997. Harvick won the 2001 and 2006 Xfinity championships.

Ryan Newman

Throwback: Newman’s 1999 USAC Championship scheme. Newman earned two victories and 12 top 10s in the 15-race season.

Josh Bilicki

Throwback: Tommy Baldwin Sr.’s modified paint scheme. Baldwin earned six wins, 66 top fives and 141 top 10s in 20 full and part-time seasons.

Tyler Reddick

Throwback: Jeff Burton’s 1994 scheme in which he won Rookie of the Year. Reddick is also vying for the title among a talented group this season.

Chase Elliott

Throwback: Jimmie Johnson’s 2009 design in which he won his fourth straight championship.

Aric Almirola

Throwback: Resembles NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts’ 1957 Ford in which he won eight races.

Denny Hamlin

Throwback: Cale Yarborough’s 1973 Darlington victory scheme. Also a tribute to longtime sponsor Federal Express, which started in the same year.

Ryan Blaney

Throwback: Paul Menard’s 2003 ARCA Menards Series scheme when he won at Talladega Superspeedway.

Ty Dillon

Throwback: Commemorates Todd Bodine’s 2010 Truck Series championship scheme when he drove for Germain Racing.

Clint Bowyer

Throwback: Kyle Petty’s No. 42 PEAK scheme from 1990, notably when he claimed his third Cup win at Rockingham Speedway.

Brennan Poole

Throwback: Ricky Rudd’s No. 15 Ford Thunderbird, driving for Bud Moore. Also honors service men and women, as Moore himself was a veteran.

Kyle Busch

Throwback: Mimics Elliott Sadler’s No. 38 M&M’s car that he drove for Robert Yates Racing in 2004.

Martin Truex Jr.

Throwback: Hank Parker Jr’s 2003 Bass Pro Shops scheme that was run at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Xfinity Series. Parker finished fifth in that race for Chance2 Motorsports.

Erik Jones

Throwback: Tony Stewart’s 2005 paint scheme that he ran at Martinsville in the fall. While he finished second in that event, Stewart still went on to win his first Cup championship.

Matt DiBenedetto

Throwback: Wood Brothers Racing’s 1963 Ford Galaxie. Honors several of the Wood Brothers’ drivers from that year, including Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund, Fall North Wilkesboro Speedway victor Marvin Panch and founder Glen Wood, who won his last Cup race at Bowman Gray Stadium. It also commemorates the team’s owners championship that same year, with only 23 starts in 55 races.

Joey Logano

Throwback: Bobby Allison’s 1985 Miller Beer scheme.

William Byron

Throwback: Jimmie Johnson’s 2013 All-Star Race-winning scheme. Johnson led 33 of 90 laps en route to victory.

JJ Yeley

Throwback: The late Kenny Irwin Jr.’s Nerf paint scheme. Irwin failed to qualify in the fall 1997 race at Rockingham Speedway.

John Hunter Nemechek

Throwback: Elliott Sadler’s 1999-2000 paint scheme, when he first competed in Cup for Wood Brothers Racing.

Cole Custer

Throwback: Honors NASCAR Hall of Famer Curtis Turner, who won the 1956 Southern 500. The scheme is based on Turner’s 1965 Ford Galaxie.

Bubba Wallace

Throwback: Remembers Richard Petty’s run in the No. 6 car (owned and driven by DK Ulrich) in 1986 after crashing his own No. 43 in practice.

Jimmie Johnson

Throwback: Honors two fellow seven-time champions. Richard Petty’s iconic blue, red and white colors will adorn the top, while Dale Earnhardt’s scheme is on the sides.

Joey Gase

Throwback: Bobby Allison’s 1971 Southern 500 victory.

James Davison

Throwback: Similar design to Tom Sneva’s No. 53 Chevrolet in which he earned his lone top 10 in the 1983 Daytona 500. Sneva also competed in the NTT IndyCar Series and won the 1982 Indianapolis 500.

Timmy Hill

Throwback: Resembles Phil Parsons’ 1984 Skoal Bandit scheme. Hill ran this scheme in May during the iRacing Pro Invitational Series at virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Ross Chastain

Throwback: Dale Earnhardt’s No. 77 paint design that was used at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1976. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s company Dirty Mo Media is featured on the car.

Alex Bowman

Throwback: Resembles Jimmie Johnson’s 2006 scheme in which he won his first championship.

Christopher Bell

Throwback: Bell’s 2017 Truck Series championship scheme.

Daniel Suarez

Throwback: Suarez’ 2016 Xfinity Series’ championship scheme.

Xfinity Series

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Throwback: Honors Jeffrey’s father and grandfather using Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 and Kerry Earnhardt’s No. 33 gold paint schemes.

Brett Moffitt

Throwback: Commemorates the late Mike Stefanik and resembles the No. 51 NXS car run in the late ’90s.

Joe Graf Jr

Throwback: Resembles Elliott Sadler’s No. 88 GT Vodka Chevrolet that was run in 2010 for JR Motorsports.

Michael Annett

Throwback: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 3 Oreo scheme in which he won the 2002 opening event at Daytona International Speedway.

Ryan Vargas

Throwback: Jimmie Johnson’s 2001 scheme, highlighting Johnson’s first Xfinity win at Chicagoland Speedway.

Justin Allgaier

Throwback: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s 2003 scheme, when he dominated the summer Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway.

Daniel Hemric

Throwback: Honors the late John Andretti; adorned with similar colors from Andretti’s Kranefuss-Haas Racing car in the 1995-96 Cup seasons.

Chad Finchum

Throwback: Resembles Jerry Nadeau’s 1998 scheme for Elliott-Marino Motorsports.

Brandon Jones

Throwback: Tribute to Robert Huffman’s No. 37 Toyota Celica that was run in the Dash Series. Also remembers Toyota Racing’s early successes.

Harrison Burton

Throwback: Harrison’s father Jeff Burton’s No. 9 Gain scheme from the early 2000s.

Anthony Alfredo

Throwback: Resembles Kevin Harvick’s Coast Guard scheme from 2006 in NXS. Harvick earned nine victories and had just three finishes outside the top 10 to win his second championship.

Alex Labbe

Throwback: Honors team owner Mario Gosselin’s 1997 Hooters Pro Cup Series championship. Gosselin earned five wins and eight top fives that year.

Tommy Joe Martins

Throwback: NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip’s No. 11 Budweiser car from the 1980s.

Kyle Weatherman

Throwback: Andy Griffith sheriff’s car, owned by David Ragan.

Jeremy Clements

Throwback: Honors five South Carolina native NASCAR champions, including Cup champions Buck Baker, David Pearson and Cale Yarborough, as well as Xfinity champs Sam Ard and Larry Pearson.

Denny Hamlin

Throwback: Resembles Cale Yarborough’s 1984 Hardee’s scheme.

Stephen Leicht

Throwback: Team owner Carl Long’s No. 85 Cup car from 2001.

Brandon Brown

Throwback: Commemorates Janet Guthrie, who competed in 33 Cup races and earned a best finish of sixth at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1977. Guthrie also ran in three Indianapolis 500s and was the first woman to do so, earning a ninth in 1978.

Josh Williams

Throwback: Gosselin’s oldest daughter Megan, who captured the 2012 Mini Stock track championship at Auburndale Speedway.

Myatt Snider

Throwback: Jimmie Lewallen’s No. 2 from the early 1950s. Snider’s grandfather co-owned Cup cars, and Lewallen was one of the drivers.

Chase Briscoe

Throwback: NASCAR Hall of Famer and fellow Indiana native Tony Stewart’s 2011 Cup championship-winning scheme.

Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks

Sheldon Creed

Throwback: Jimmie Johnson’s No. 888 off-road truck.

Christian Eckes

Throwback: Mimics Safelite AutoGlass colors from before 1983.

Derek Kraus

Throwback: Mimics NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday’s 1996 championship-winning scheme. Also honors NAPA Auto Parts’ partnership with Bill McAnally Racing.

Spencer Boyd

Throwback: Resembles Todd Bodine’s 2010 Darlington race-winning scheme.

Zane Smith

Throwback: Honors the Wood Brothers’ famed No. 21 car.

Brett Moffitt

Throwback: Davey Allison’s No. 23 Miller American Buick (owned by Bobby Allison) from 1985.

Greg Biffle

Throwback: Ricky Hendrick’s No. 17 GMAC Financial Services truck from 2001. At age 21, Hendrick won his first and only Truck race at Kansas Speedway.

Tyler Ankrum

Throwback: Junior Johnson’s 1966 Holly Farms Poultry yellow car.

Dawson Cram

Throwback: Mimics Tim Flock’s 1952 Hudson.

Bayley Currey

Throwback: Mimics Cale Yarborough’s No. 28 Hardee’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo from 1984.

Ty Majeski

Throwback: Brewster Baker’s No. 49 racecar from the movie Six Pack.

Stewart Friesen


Throwback: Honors Stewart’s grandfather Stan Friesen, who drove a coupe in the 1970s.

Timmy Hill

Throwback: Features an orange neon background around the number, a similar design that Hill’s father Jerry used in 2003.

Clay Greenfield

Throwback: Bobby Hamilton’s No. 68 Country Time scheme from 1993.

About the author

Joy Tomlinson

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 watching motorsports 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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One of these years, I would love to see Logano run a lavender-coloured car with white number 22s on it, and possibly get sponsorship from the dealer that used to sponsor Fireball Roberts when he drove that car in 1963 and 1964. (The dealership used to be called Young Ford, but changed their name to Capital Ford a few years ago.) That would bring tears to this old fan’s eyes!

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