Ever since its’ inception in 2015, NASCAR teams have embraced the idea of “throwback weekend.” With that has come a slew of incredible paint schemes to commemorate moments in NASCAR history.
The question then becomes, which ones are the best? We at Daily Downforce have the top 10 best throwback schemes in the history of throwback weekend overt he first eight seasons (2015-2022) of throwback weekend.
10. Austin Dillon Silver Dale Earnhardt Throwback (2018)
One of the best and very few surprise paint scheme reveals in NASCAR history came from Dale Earnhardt who drove a silver car in the All-Star race in 1995. Austin Dillon brought the scheme back for the 2018 Southern 500, and it was just as beautiful as in 1995.
Throwing back to Dale Earnhardt is always going to strike a nerve. However, on a day that tributes great paint schemes, throwing it back to a scheme that was a story in and of itself is a great way to throw it back.
9. Joey Logano Steve Park Throwback (2018)
The Pennzoil scheme is one of the most iconic color schemes in NASCAR particularly of the last 25 years or so. Sure, Steve Park did not have a hall-of-fame type career, but his paint scheme was iconic. It also was a scheme he drove to his iconic Rockingham win in 2001.
As pure looks go, this is, personally, my favorite version of the Pennzoil scheme. Add to it the significance it has to Northeast racing fans with Logano being from Connecticuit and Park from New York, it is a cool scheme.
8. Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Throwback (2016)
To celebrate the 25th season for Joe Gibbs Racing, they threw it back to the original Joe Gibbs Racing paint scheme. Dale Jarrett put the team on the map in this scheme thanks to iconic moments such as the 1993 Daytona 500.
This scheme simply looks awesome. The green and black Interstate Batteries colors are at iconic as they are beautiful. I would argue it is the best iteration of the Interstate Batteries car.
7. Alex Bowman and Chase Elliot Jimmie Johnson Throwbacks (2020)
In 2020, Hendrick Motorsports paid tribute to arguably their greatest driver, Jimmie Johnson. All three of Johnson’s teammates ran throwback schemes with Bowman and Elliot donning the iconic blue, silver, and black with the neon yellow numbers.
While yes they are different schemes, they are both cut from the same cloth as they were paying tribute to the same driver from the same era. Therefore, I counted it as one entry. The blue Lowe’s colors are forever entwined with Jimmie Johnson.
6. William Byron Jeff Gordon Flames Throwback (2022)
I will freely admit that some personal bias does apply here, as someone who grew up a Jeff Gordon fan. However, this was a scheme that Gordon had a tremendous amount of success in. He won his fourth Cup Series Championship in 2001, his third Daytona 500 in 2005, and set a Cup Series record with 30 top-ten finishes in 2007.
While it is not the Rainbow Warriors scheme of the 1990s, those who came to NASCAR during its’ boom during the 2000s remember Jeff Gordon for running this paint scheme. Plus it is simply a sleek look with the red flames combining with the blue accents.
5. Brad Keselowski Rusty Wallace Throwback (2017)
There are plenty of Rusty Wallace throwbacks that Brad Keselowski ran while he was with Roger Penske. However, throwing it back to the scheme that Wallace had in his best season with Penske takes the cake of those.
The scheme still looks good even to this day. Sure the “Blue Deuce” was iconic for its’ own reasons, but the gold and black has a throwback look to it as it is. It’s the type of color scheme that was used on many NASCAR cars throughout the years. A perfect color palate for throwback weekend.
4. Kyle Larson Kyle Petty Throwback (2015)
On the original throwback weekend, Kyle Larson threw it back to one of the 42’s best drivers. Kyle Petty enjoyed his best seasons in the Mello Yello car with two fifth place points finishes in 1992 and 1993.
The reason this scheme gets a nod is not only because of the beauty of the scheme, but also the use of original logos. Whenever original logos are used, it makes the throwback schemes that much more cool. Especially for more niche schemes like this with sponsors that are not quite as iconic.
3. Kurt Busch 2003 Darlington Throwback (2018)
Throwing it back to one of the most iconic moments at the track that hosts throwback weekend will always be a win. Even though he came up on the short end of the stick, Kurt Busch still appreciates how great this race was to this day.
Now sentimental value is cool, but the unique red and silver combination is not something that has been seen in quite this way that much on the race track. Due to this, this scheme gets a high spot on this list.
2. Matt Kenseth Tide Ride (2016)
What could be better than Kurt Busch throwing it back to that iconic finish in 2003? Matt Kenseth and Tide throwing it back to the car who won that race.
The Tide ride is one of the most iconic schemes in NASCAR history. Darrell Waltrip made it famous, and Ricky Craven penned his own chapter with his 2003 win at Darlington. Throwing it back to an iconic moment in the history of the track is perfect for throwback weekend.
1. Jimmie Johnson 7x Champion Tribute (2020)
As Jimmie Johnson prepared for this final throwback weekend in 2020, he decided to pay tribute to the other two seven-time champions in Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. The scheme combined the most iconic elements of Earnhardt’s black Goodwrench scheme and Petty’s blue and red STP car.
Combining schemes can be a risky move, but this blended together incredibly well. The symbolism combined with simply incredible way they implemented both schemes makes this the best throwback scheme of all time.
This list could be miles long with all of the amazing throwbacks that have been run at Darlington. Which ones that will be run this weekend may be added to the list, and which schemes could be run in the future that should be added?