Tough Choices: Picking 5 Favorite Throwback Paint Schemes

If you’re not at Darlington Raceway this weekend — or at least watching on television  — you’re missing one of the very best weekends of the entire 36-race Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Sunday’s Bojangles’ 500 is NASCAR’s one and only throwback weekend, with most of the teams decorating their race cars with paint schemes from the 1980s and 90s.

As has been the case in each of the past two years that Darlington hosted the throwback weekend, the paint schemes are sensational, especially for old-school NASCAR fans.

Here are five of my favorites.


Brad Keselowski

The 2012 Cup champion pays stylistic homage to the black-and-gold Miller Genuine Draft colors Rusty Wallace carried with Team Penske. This is one of the most popular NASCAR paint schemes of all time and looks as good today as it did back in the day.

Kasey Kahne

The first Daytona 500 victory for Hendrick Motorsports came in 1986, when Geoff Bodine wheeled the Levi Garrett-sponsored No. 5 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to victory. The yellow and white colors made it stand out. And given the fact that the No. 5 will go away after this year, there’s urgency here.

Danica Patrick

Stewart-Haas Racing is paying tribute to the ailing Robert Yates, who continues to battle liver cancer as he awaits his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Patrick’s scheme is the one Dale Jarrett drove in 1999, when he gave Robert Yates Racing its one and only Cup championship.

Ty Dillon

In NASCAR Premier Series history, the No. 13 has only won one points race in 529 attempts: It happened at Daytona in 1963, when Johnny Rutherford drove a Smokey Yunick owned and prepared Chevrolet to victory in one of the 100-mile Daytona 500 qualifying races. They counted for points back then.

Ryan Blaney

This is a no-brainer: Blaney is driving the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford with the paint scheme Kyle Petty drove for the same team in 1987. You can tell the team and Petty are having fun with this one.

All article photos courtesy of Nigel Kinrade Photography © 2017 

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By Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.