Photo: Sarah Crabill
Darrell Waltrip skipped the first throwback edition of the Darlington Raceway Bojangles' Southern 500 last year, but this year, he wouldn't miss it.
And with good reason.
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This year's Darlington throwback race will feature no less than four different paint schemes paying tribute to Waltrip, the three-time NASCAR Premier Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member.
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s Roush Fenway Racing Ford will be decked out in the same orange and white colors that Waltrip carried when he won his first NASCAR Premier Series race at Nashville Speedway in 1975.
- In the NASCAR XFINITY Series race, Blake Koch will drive a Chevrolet Camaro with a paint scheme based on the Mountain Dew green and white colors Waltrip drove in the early 1980s.
- Denny Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Sprint Cup Toyota will be clad in white and red, using a scheme like Waltrip drove in the mid-1980s with Junior Johnson.
- Last but certainly not least is Matt Kenseth's No. 20 JGR Cup Toyota, resplendent in the iconic orange-and-yellow Tide colors Waltrip carried when he won the 1989 Daytona 500.
Waltrip said he's pretty excited about seeing the cars next week at The Track Too Tough To Tame.
"What was funny is, last year I didn't have any (throwback paint schemes)," said Waltrip. "I got to be honest with you. Last year I didn't go, because I thought, 'Well, it's just another one of those kind of promotion things a race track does. No big deal.'
"Then I was sitting at home watching the race with my family, and all the Hall of Famers get introduced," said Waltrip. "Then I see the cars on the track, And then I turned to my wife and said, 'I think I screwed up.'"
This year, though, Waltrip is all in.
"For a guys who didn't have any last year, this year, I've got the field covered," Waltrip said. "I might be able to pull a winner out of one of them."