CONCORD, N.C. – Jimmie Johnson’s throwback ride for Darlington Raceway has been revealed, and it’s one with a storied history in the seven-time champion’s career.
The No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is modeled after Johnson’s Chevy Thunder Trophy Truck, which he piloted in 1995.
“The 1995 Chevy Thunder Trophy Truck is without a doubt the vehicle that shaped my driving style the most and made me the racer I am today,” Johnson said. “This truck will always be special to me and is a reminder to me. I appreciate Ally working with me to bring this paint scheme back to life in Darlington.”
He climbed behind the wheel of that truck after moving to the top series in 1995, finishing 10th in his very first race – the Baja 500.
Among his other highlights in the truck were winning the inaugural Laughlin Leap competition by jumping 86 feet, and becoming the youngest competitor to race in the Trophy Truck division of the Baja 1000.
It was in the Baja 1000 that Johnson’s driving style and racing career would change forever. Grabbing the race lead just past the halfway mark, Johnson briefly dozed off behind the wheel more than 20 hours into the event. In that moment, the truck collided with a boulder and flipped over.
It took more than 12 hours for Johnson and his co-driver to be rescued, and it taught the young competitor a lesson he carried with him throughout this career.
“Spending 12-plus hours in the desert gave me plenty of time to reflect that I needed to be more of a thinking man’s racer and more strategic by not putting myself in danger and at risk,” he said. “At that moment in the desert, I understood that in order to win the race I must finish the race.”
The new No. 48 Chevy modeled after that truck critical to Johnson’s career will hit the track this weekend at Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBCSN.
For a closer look at the car, click here.