DARLINGTON, S.C. – The Labor Day weekend race at Darlington Raceway will be a blast from the past with drivers turning laps in their throwback paint schemes.
Yesterday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent the day at the South Carolina track, participating in photo and video shoots to promote his throwback Chevrolet, courtesy of Nationwide Insurance.
Before the day came to a close, however, the driver held a press conference to unveil his No. 88 Nationwide “Gray Ghost.”
“It’s awesome,” Earnhardt said of the throwback scheme, which honors Buddy Baker. “I love the orange highlights – orange is my favorite color. It’s great to be able to honor a legend like Buddy Baker at a track with a lot of history like Darlington so it’s a great match.”
Earnhardt said he’s thankful to have a partner like Nationwide – along with Axalta and Mountain Dew – who allows him the flexibility to pay tribute to the history of the sport.
“They all sort of have an influence on the paint scheme,” Earnhardt said, “and they allow – for this particular race – for us to really tip the cap to some of the history of the sport and they realize how important that is to the drivers and the sport as a whole.”
With Nationwide celebrating their 90th anniversary today, the throwback unveil came at the perfect time.
“They’ve got one of their older logos on the hood of the car so they certainly enjoy the throwback idea and the opportunity to look back in the past and enjoy some of the history of their company,” Earnhardt said. “It’s a good match between what they’ve got going on with the 90th anniversary and the throwback for Darlington.”
Jim McCoy, Director of Sports Marketing for Nationwide agreed.
“It’s great timing for us,” he said. “We worked with him [Earnhardt] on the design and were able to come up with something that we feel is very, very special to honor the late, great Buddy Baker and his historic Gray Ghost paint scheme in the No. 28 that ran in 1980 so this platform ties into our 90th anniversary and we’re real excited as you see.”