CONCORD, N.C. -- Kyle Larson’s throwback scheme for the event at Darlington Raceway pays homage to his childhood racing days. Larson has driven plenty of different cars over the course of his racing career, but the first street vehicle he bought for himself was a Chevrolet Silverado.
Several of Larson’s No. 5 teammates also had Chevrolets as their first cars. Crew chief Cliff Daniels inherited a Chevrolet Silverado Z 71 from his dad, which meant everything to him as a teenager.
“It was a Ducks Unlimited edition,” Daniels said. “It had a brown or gray pinstripe, and I just thought that was so cool. It was a hand-me-down from my dad. He’d had the truck for probably eight or 10 years and he upgraded his truck at the time, so I got to drive that one. It was fun to have in high school because it was a four-wheel-drive truck. Sometimes after school on a Friday, guys would go and find a mud bog somewhere we’d take our four-wheel-drive trucks out. It was cool for me to have that.”
Jeff Neuendorf, the backup hauler driver for the No. 5 team, bought his first car, a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in 1974 at 15. Calling it “a tank,” he fixed it up himself and even had it specially painted by a coworker.
“I was working for Pepsi loading trucks in the warehouse, saved up; I think it was $250,” Neuendorf said of the Monte Carlo. “It needed paint and was kind of rusty. Cam and lifters were out of it. I think I spent $300 painting it, putting the cam and lifters in it, and got it running. At 15, 16 years old, it was (everything) having your own car.”
Rear tire changer Calvin Teague also was behind the wheel of a Silverado, although his was a 1985 classic ride.
"My dad had owned it for a while and when I turned 16 it became mine," Teague said. "Like many other kids turning 16 would say, it wasn't my dream vehicle but I was very appreciative of it and it quickly became a big part of my life. After driving it for a few years I ended up getting a different truck. We ended up selling it after my dad and I pulled the engine and put a bigger one in. Looking back now, I wish we would have never sold it."
Race mechanic Thomas Heslink mirrored Neundorf’s style with a Monte Carlo with a 1988 version of the car.
The Hendrick Motorsports teammates have stuck with their Chevrolets over the years. Neuendorf said he “stepped it up” and a 1976 Chevrolet truck and a 1984 Chevrolet Z28 T-top after he moved on from his Monte Carlo, while Daniels’ father managed to track down their Silverado years after they sold it.
“It actually stayed with us for a long time,” Daniels said. “We sold it when I got a different truck and we ended up buying it back. My dad bought it back from a guy like five or eight years later and this thing had 250,000 miles on it, maybe more. It was a little beat up by the time we got it back, but he may still have it to this day.”
Whether it’s a first car or an upgrade, Hendrick Automotive Group is able to help any customer with specific needs. From the convenience of home, customers can select the category, make, model and vehicle packages that are important to them from the nearly 30,000 new, high-quality pre-owned and certified cars, trucks and SUVs available at HendrickCars.com. The website also makes it easy for customers to find one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s 93 dealership locations nationwide.
Larson and the rest of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates will take their Chevys to the track this weekend in unique throwback schemes at Darlington Raceway. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET and air on FS1.