Race Weekend Central

Rev’s Picks: Southern 500 Eye-catchers

(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)
(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)
(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

For several years now, NASCAR’s premier series has taken to NASCAR’s oldest track on the circuit ā€“ Darlington Raceway ā€“ while honoring the past and present champions and drivers of our beloved sport. Despite having multiple events at the track this season, Labor Day weekend was no different than in years past.

Humbly, the 2020 throwback weekend has been one of the best I’ve seen yet. Numerous paint schemes resurfaced after being retired for years while others paid homage to the grit that raised this sport to what it is today. As we proceed to the second race in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, I take a look back at my top three favorite schemes from this year’s Southern 500, and the thoughts behind the paints and wraps..

3). Happy Harvick remembers the Busch Series: Kevin Harvick has been on a hot streak this year and apologizes to no one, which was made evident after securing his seventh season win at the historic track on Sunday, Sept. 6, locking himself in to the second round of playoffs. Harvick’s Ford Mustang had us all reminiscing about a time we all undoubtedly enjoyed. The Busch Series, now the Xfinity Series, brought to the Cup Series favorites such as Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., and even Harvick who made his debut in the series at Rockingham in 2000. Harvick went on to gain notoriety as the NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year after amassing three wins. Harvick later made the move to the Cup Series filling an untimely void no one was ready for.

2). Kyle Busch nods to the days of Elliott Sadler: Driving for Robert Yates Racing, 2004 was an important year for the now-retired Elliott Sadler, and a successful year for M&M’s candies who had plenty of television time thanks to Sadler’s ability to capture his last two of three career Cup Series wins at Texas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. Aside from crossing the finish line first, he held on for a top 10 finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 and made the Chase, completing his season ninth in points. Kyle Busch and M&M’s have been faithful to each other since Busch’s move to Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota in 2008. How fitting is it to throw it back to M&M’s early days in the sport.

1). Jimmie Johnson gives honor where honor is due: The most-recent seven-time champion did not disappoint. Jimmie Johnson stepped out of his motor coach with the King’s hat and the Intimidator’s gargoyles before climbing into his unique, multi-color Chevrolet Camaro in his final Darlington start. If you haven’t seen it, the car was painted black and silver on the sides, with the No. 48 leaned in the opposite direction and in the Earnhardt font. Up top, Petty Blue and the iconic bright red stripes lined the hood, roof and deck-lid. Both Petty and Earnhardt have had much success at the circuit’s oldest track. The King amassed three wins with 33 top tens while Earnhardt scored nine wins and 24 top-ten finishes in his career.

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