Mullets, mustaches and modern takes on retro paint schemes.
It’s a sign of NASCAR’s annual “Throwback Weekend” at Darlington Raceway.
This is the weekend where teams, drivers and sponsors pay homage to some of NASCAR’s stars from the older eras. The fans love it and most of the drivers go along with the themed weekend by playing a little dress-up.
One of the things that perhaps is the best part of the weekend, though, is the sponsor engagement and in some cases, sponsors coming back to the sport that haven’t been seen for a while.
Bojangles’, the title sponsor for this race weekend, is returning as a primary sponsor for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car for the first time since 2004. They rode along with Stanton Barrett in one race that year.
Prior to Bojangles’ one race with Barrett, they were the primary sponsor for Cale Yarborough’s race team and driver Derrike Cope during the 1993 race season. 25 years later, they return to Cope to sponsor him in a one-off event driving the No. 99 StarCom Racing Chevrolet, a paint scheme nearly identical to the original.
“I am truly pleased and thankful to be back with Bojangles’ 25 years later! My relationship with Bojangles’ and the people that were there in 1993 is incredible,” said Cope in a release prior to the weekend. “There were a lot of promotions to activate Bojangles’ entry into NASCAR. Looking forward to sharing a lot of old memories with the Bojangles’ family.”
Bojangles’ isn’t the only sponsor in the Cup Series making a return to the series.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. will carry the John Deere colors in that company’s first race in Cup since 2000.
From 1997, when Jack Roush purchased Greg Pollex’s race team, until 2000, John Deere was a primary sponsor on the No. 97 Ford, then driven by Chad Little for much of the time. Now, John Deere returns to Roush Fenway Racing for the first of a handful of races.
Meanwhile in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, another sponsor returns for the first time in a long time.
Old Milwaukee will sponsor a vehicle in the top-three series for the first time since 1997. They partnered with Butch Miller for one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Before that one race they worked with the late Rob Moroso for two races in XFINITY competition in 1986, but it’s their sponsorship of late Tim Richmond that the beer company is throwing back to this weekend.
JR Motorsports driver Tyler Reddick scored the Old Milwaukee activation with a tribute scheme to Richmond this weekend. Before Richmond made the jump to Hendrick Motorsports, he drove for car owner Raymond Beadle and sponsor Old Milwaukee. The grouping won on two occasions between 1983 and 1985.
So while everyone relishes in the joy of throwback weekend by seeing all the nifty paint schemes, don’t forget the importance of the race for NASCAR as a whole. Being able to bring these sponsors back, whether it be for one race or more, is a big deal for the teams and the sport.