Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: The Top 5 Best Throwback Paint Schemes of 2024

Ah, throwback weekend. It has become such a timeless classic since its inception in 2015, and Darlington Raceway is a perfect venue for it, given its history in the grand scheme of NASCAR.

In 2020, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returned to Darlington for the first time since 2011, and in doing so, was able to join in on throwback weekend with the Cup Series and Xfinity Series.

2024 is no different, and the Truck Series’ batch features a lot of throwbacks that are worthy of being chosen as the best of the bunch.

See also
Here Are the 2024 Throwback Paint Schemes

So let’s take a look at what I believe are the five best Truck Series Darlington throwbacks in 2024.

Author’s Note: These schemes are not ranked, but rather shown in number order. To find out which scheme is the best, tune into my ‘Tracking the Trucks’ race report following the race at Darlington on Friday night (May 10).

Taylor Gray โ€“ No. 17 Mark Green Throwback

In 2000, Jeff Hensley was the crew chief and team manager of his family team, HMV Motorsports. The team fielded the No. 63 of Mark Green (brother of Xfinity champions David and Jeff Green) with sponsorship from Superflo, sporting a very cool-looking paint scheme complete with tiger stripes and a tiger on the hood of the car.

Now, Hensley is the crew chief for Taylor Gray at TRICON Garage. Gray will run a special throwback to Hensley’s team, with Green’s 2000 tiger scheme being the choice of paint.

Gray’s No. 17 features sponsorship from ShopTricon.com instead of Superflo, but the font of both his number and his sponsor are changed to better match Green’s No. 63. The cool tiger stripes make the scheme stand out more than anything, while the tiger on the hood of Green’s car also returns on the hood of Gray’s truck.

Overall, for a scheme being translated from a car to a truck, this is a really well-done paint scheme, and a touching tribute to Hensley and his family. Hensley serving as Gray’s crew chief ties the schemes together, despite being 24 years apart.

Tyler Ankrum โ€“ No. 18 Days of Thunder Throwback

Let’s get one thing clear โ€“ I knew from the moment I saw what Tyler Ankrum‘s No. 18 looked like for 2024 that a throwback to the 1990 film Days of Thunder would be a high possibility, if not a probability.


Well, to answer that, let’s take a look at the original paint scheme.

Ankrum jumped ship from Hattori Racing Enterprises to join forces with McAnally-Hilgemann Racing in 2024 to drive the No. 18, a brand-new third full-time entry for the team. He brought over sponsor LiUNA! with him, which has supported Ankrum since his first full-time season in the Truck Series in 2019. Through three team changes, Ankrum has always sported a bright orange, black and white LiUNA! truck more often than not in any given season.

However when Ankrum joined MHR, the team wanted to insert a little bit of blue on the truck. As MHR also has a loyal sponsor of its own in NAPA Auto Parts, the team decided to design Ankrum’s truck with a combination of LiUNA orange and NAPA blue.

And truth be told, it’s one of my favorite paint schemes on the Truck Series circuit. The orange and blue โ€“ two colors that one would think clash together โ€“ go surprisingly well together on the No. 18.

Now, with that backstory out of the way, let’s discuss Ankrum’s equally awesome throwback scheme. I’m sure most of you reading this have seen Days of Thunder, but in the event you somehow haven’t, the main antagonist of the film is a driver named Russ Wheeler.

Played by famed actor Cary Elwes, Wheeler drives an orange-and-blue No. 18 car, sponsored by Hardee’s.

I think you now know how this connects to Ankrum.

Surprisingly, if you compare Ankrum’s throwback with his normal scheme, the designs aren’t too dissimilar from each other. The number is obviously a different font, changed to represent Wheeler’s number font in the film. Aside from the scheme featuring LiUNA! logos instead of Hardee’s logos, this scheme is almost a one-for-one copy of the car from the film.

Plus, it’s scary how much Ankrum looks like a young Elwes.

This was a throwback scheme in the works from the moment Ankrum signed with MHR, and it was well-executed.

See also
Entry List: 2024 Buckle Up South Carolina 200

Stewart Friesen โ€“ No. 52 Jimmie Johnson Throwback

Stewart Friesen has had some great paint schemes in recent years. His Ferris Mowers paint scheme last season looked really good. This season, his “Chili’s Menu Truck” was an awesome promotion for both Friesen and Chili’s.

For Darlington, Friesen and his team have pulled out the stops yet again. Friesen will run a truck that looks similar to the Lowe’s patriotic paint scheme that Jimmie Johnson ran in the 2010 Coca-Cola 600.

What makes this paint scheme work is that every element of the scheme has been altered to resemble Johnson’s original scheme as accurately as possible. Friesen’s No. 52 looks as close to a Hendrick Motorsports-branded number as it could. The Halmar logos are written in the same font as the Lowe’s logo is.

The Halmar logo on the hood is especially of interest, as it actually features the same structure shape that surrounds the word “Lowe’s” in the Lowe’s logo.

Not to mention, the team decided to put Johnson’s signature on the B-pillar where Friesen’s name normally would be to add one final touch to this magnificent throwback.

This might be one of the most accurate throwbacks since the Truck Series joined in on the festivities in 2020. While Johnson blew an engine late in that car in 2010, Friesen will look to give it a better result โ€“ ideally in victory lane to snap a 45-race winless streak.

Spencer Boyd โ€“ No. 76 Buck Baker Throwback

Not only is Spencer Boyd one of the best in the garage at finding sponsors (seriously, look back at his paint schemes the past few years and see just how many sponsors he’s had), but he’s also apparently good at selecting a rocking throwback.

Boyd and his new self-owned team, Freedom Racing Enterprises, will run a sick-looking throwback to Buck Baker‘s 1949 Kaiser, which to my knowledge, is the first time anyone has ever ran a throwback to Baker. His son Buddy Baker has gotten a couple throwbacks, but I believe this is the first time Buck gets a throwback spotlight.

Boyd changed the font of his No. 76 to match Baker’s No. 87, the number Baker is most associated with in his career. With sponsors Freedom Warranty and LLC Classics fully onboard with the grassroots idea, Boyd is sure to have one of the cleanest looking schemes on the track.

Jack Wood โ€“ No. 91 Tim Flock Throwback

Often times, some of the best throwbacks are planned around the number in which a driver sports. For Jack Wood, this throwback had to be a layup when it was discovered he would drive the No. 91 for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing.

Wood will sport a throwback to Tim Flock (and his monkey co-pilot Jocko Flocko) with sponsorship from RTIC. When Flock had Jocko as his co-pilot, he was in the midst of his tenure driving the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, driving the same No. 91 that Wood is.

While Wood will be driving a Chevrolet Silverado, he had to feel confident with a Hudson Hornet throwback, as Flock’s 1952 campaign (the year in which Wood’s throwback is based) featured eight wins and the first of two Grand National championships.

However, unlike Flock, Wood will not have a live monkey with him as a co-pilot โ€“ I’m pretty sure his truck wouldn’t pass inspection.

See also
Kyle Petty Cherishing Year of Reflection, Celebration & Anticipation

Honorable Mention: Thad Moffitt โ€“ No. 46 Bobby Hamilton Throwback

While it doesn’t make my top five, I couldn’t go without mentioning Thad Moffitt‘s throwback.

When you’re the grandson of the King of NASCAR, Richard Petty, you just know you’ll have a chance to run some historic throwbacks.

In the 75th year of the Petty name being in NASCAR, Moffitt will throw it back to 1996, when Bobby Hamilton drove for Petty Enterprises.

Hamilton ran a special livery honoring the 25th anniversary of STP sponsoring the Petty family and team โ€“ which it still does today. For Darlington, instead of STP logos, Moffitt’s anniversary throwback will feature the Petty75 logos that have been seen throughout the 2024 season.

It’s a unique throwback to celebrate a historic season for the Petty name.

Coverage for the Buckle Up South Carolina 200 begins Friday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretchย in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time.ย He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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