CONCORD, N.C. -- Greg Ives received a huge surprise when the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE’s throwback scheme for the spring race at Darlington Raceway was revealed to him.
Members of the No. 48 team, including driver Alex Bowman, were on hand to show Ives a crisp seafoam scheme that was reminiscent of a late model car Ives ran in the late 1990s.
“I was more than surprised; I was practically speechless there for a little bit,” Ives said. “I get emotional, maybe I’m a sentimental guy. I like seeing things classic and old school. I never necessarily thought that was going to be a tribute to me or one of my paint schemes on the car, that’s why I never really thought about it, never thought that was going to be an opportunity to happen. So, when I did see it, initially it shocked me back to that moment when I first saw the paint scheme in 1998. Sometimes, the paint scheme picks you.”
Bowman and primary sponsor Ally worked together to create the scheme for the No. 48 Ally Throwback Chevrolet. Bowman said he wanted to get an emotional reaction out of Ives and added his crew chief deserves to be celebrated.
“I think it means a lot to Greg, and it’s really cool for Ally to let me steer the ship on it a little bit,” Bowman said. “Greg definitely had some interesting looking late models, so we’re going to be styling in Darington.”
For Ives, the scheme represents much more than running late models. Ives comes from a large family who rallied around him to allow him to race. His crew chief was his father, his pit crew primarily was of his six sisters and he wore his brother’s hand-me-down firesuits to races.
“This was not even a blip on the radar,” Ives said. “This was something that was truly surprising. Alex, my wife, (car chief) Austin (Konetski), whoever else was in on this, led me to believe that none of this was happening and maybe I led myself to believe that none of this was happening, as well.”
Ives also inherited the car from Jim Pagel, who died in a stock car crash in 1997. Along with the car came Pagel’s legacy as a humble but competitive driver, something Ives wanted to honor.
“I try to stay humble in my career and how I grew up,” Ives said. “To think somebody would want my paint scheme in honor of Jim Pagel was something that wasn’t even thought of. A paint scheme sometimes has more meaning than just selling a sponsor or looking good on a racetrack. Sometimes in memory and understanding those who lost their life to give us this great sport that we have today.”
Bowman will hit the track for the Darlington decked out in a similar firesuit and helmet that Ives sported over two decades ago. He added he knew it would mean the world to Ives but also wanted to honor his determination and work ethic while on one of the biggest stages in racing.
“He really started on the bottom end of the totem pole at Hendrick Motorsports and worked his way all the way up,” Bowman said. “Obviously, he was a successful late model driver, but then has been a really successful engineer and crew chief and all the above. I think it’s really neat, and definitely really special. He’s a done a lot for me, so it’s cool to kind of be able to point something back at him.”
The throwback race at Darlington Raceway will be Sunday, May 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.