CONCORD, N.C. -- Friday afternoon, William Byron's throwback No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that he'll pilot in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway was unveiled.
Byron was joined by former driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, and artist Sam Bass, in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center for the unveil, featuring an original painting by Bass.
The rainbow paint scheme pays homage to Jeff Gordon's career in the No. 24 Chevrolet.
“I knew, when I got it done, painted that way, it would definitely be different," Bass reflected on the original rainbow design. "I thought the guys in the body shop were going to kill me when they saw it because they knew how difficult it was going to be to paint. But to their credit, they did it and they were so proud of it."
A paint scheme that would become iconic throughout the 1990s, Gordon acknowledged the impact that particular design had not only on his career, but on the sport of racing as well.
“It certainly changed my life forever as a race car driver to come to Hendrick Motorsports and having a paint scheme that now, looking back on it, was so iconic," Gordon said. “There’s a certain magic that Sam Bass brings to your race car when he designs it.”
Throughout the years, Bass has painted all but one of the primary Axalta Chevrolets for the Nos. 24 and 88 cars and now carries on the tradition in 2018.
“I’ve been so proud to have a 26-year relationship with Axalta, and they do everything I’ve asked them to do," Bass said. "It’s just an amazing relationship. It really made me very proud to have something that became such an icon."
Now 20 years old, Byron recalled watching Gordon race the rainbow Chevrolet as a young fan.
“Growing up as a kid watching Jeff in that car, there’s a lot of memories there and some similarities in our age and how we started so hopefully I can carry that on," the driver said. “It’s really special to have that paint scheme and really, like Jeff was saying, Sam Bass’ touch on the car has been incredible. It’s going to be a lot of fun and hopefully we can bring it good success at Darlington."
Just 12 races into his rookie season as a NASCAR Cup Series driver, Byron will get behind the wheel of a paint scheme that saw Gordon through much of his early success in the series.
“I love the fact that I’ve had a role in the history of this sport," Gordon said. "I think William’s done an amazing job representing the No. 24 car. To see a young, up-and-coming future star of our sport get behind the wheel of that rainbow paint scheme brings back a lot of memories for me and I’m really proud of what I accomplished in the car but I’m proud of what he’s going to accomplish in it also.”
Byron will pilot the rainbow throwback No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Sunday, Sept. 2, at Darlington Raceway.