Almirola honoring 'The King' with more than his car at Darlington

Aric Almirola is taking the Darlington Raceway throwback weekend seriously.

Not only is Almirola driving a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford trimmed out in the circa 1972 Petty Blue/STP Day-Glo Red colors that Petty himself drove, but Almirola has Petty's personal look down, too.

When Almirola showed up for his Darlington media availability Friday, he was sporting an awesome Fu Manchu moustache and a vintage white firesuit, two trademarks of "The King's" early '70s look.

And Almirola clearly did his homework for this weekend.

Asked why he didn't wear a cowboy hat like Petty does now, Almirola noted -- correctly -- that Petty didn't have it then, either.

"He (Petty) didn't wear the cowboy hat in 1972," said Almirola. "He started wearing it later on. I am trying to be traditional. I have the bill of my hat square like he did when he would shove it in his back pocket. I am trying to be as original as I can."

Almirola said he's enjoying himself this weekend.

"To have that opportunity to kind of go back in time is really fun," he said. "I don't think it is a distraction at all. I think it is fun, all the crew guys are enjoying it, and I think it is exciting. It gives everybody a chance to break up the monotony of showing up to the racetrack with kind of the same old thing every week."

Sunday at Darlington, a handful of Petty's 1972 crewmembers will be on hand to celebrate the weekend and root on Almirola.

"You've got to figure '72 is a long time ago," Petty said in an exclusive interview with "We found four or five of them that are still living. That's going to be like old home week."