Darlington is coming up which means only one thing: throwback weekend. Every fan debates which throwback scheme is better than the other. Well, I am here to give you my personal expert opinion on which ones are great, and which ones are not. Here they are ranked in order from worst to first.
16. Kevin Harvick
The nod to what was supposed to be Harvick’s first NASCAR paint scheme before he was thrust into the 29 is cool in concept. Except this car looks nothing like that car. Sure it has a similar paint scheme design if you squint, but the colors are almost all completely different.
This is not a throwback scheme. Thankfully, Harvick is running the white 29 car at North Wilkesboro for the All-Star race, so the real throwback is in the works.
15. Ryan Blaney
Before I hate on this scheme, let me add that Ryan Blaney honoring his dad, Dave, which is quite cool. Dave was quite the wheelman in World of Outlaws and even had some modest success in NASCAR too.
However, I had to squint to see any major difference in this scheme to Blaney’s normal Menards scheme. I wish they could at least change the shade of yellow to make it more true to what they are throwing it back to. Sentimental value is solid on this scheme, but the scheme itself is disappointing.
14. William Byron
This pains me as someone who grew up as a Jeff Gordon fan. It is cool to see them bringing back an idea from NASCAR’s last major anniversary celebration. However, that is just the problem, it’s a recycled idea.
Add to that, this just is not a scheme that people think of when they think “Jeff Gordon.” Add to that Jeff Gordon ran out of fuel while leading when running the original scheme in the 1998 All Star Race. Just not something that is super intriguing to throw back to, but the scheme itself looks decent.
13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Another example of sentimental value being great on this scheme. Incorporating Stenhouse Jr’s mom’s grilled cheese recipe on the car is a nice touch. Also getting the official comment from Dale Jarrett on the scheme is cool.
The problem comes in the reveal. They announced the throwback to the same scheme another team was throwing it back to on the same day. That simply brings this scheme down a few notches.
12. Ryan Preece
The sentimental value on this scheme is pretty cool. Preece throwing it back to his dad is a great concept that I can definitely appreciate.
However, the scheme itself is just very bland. White with a little bit of blue just is not as visually exciting as other schemes. This is not bad, but it’s not anything to get people talking either.
11. Chase Briscoe
Purely as a paint scheme, this car looks awesome. I would be a proponent of this scheme being run as the actual Mahindra Tractors scheme for the rest of the year if I could.
With it being a throwback to a more niche thing, it does not have the same sentimental value to fans that others do. For that reason, it brings this down a few notches.
10. Ty Gibbs
A nice nod to Bobby Labonte’s scheme honoring Joe Gibbs being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s red and white for the obvious nod to Gibbs coaching for the Washington Commanders (then the Redskins). Plus it is promoting a great organization in Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.
This will definitely appeal to certain fans. However, the lack of original logos and the scheme overall being a bit meh bring it down somewhat.
9. Joey Logano
This is a solid throwback, plain and simple. Throwing it back to Roger Penske’s first NASCAR win in 1973 is a great thing to throw back to. This scheme was always one that I felt was underrated in NASCAR history as the AMC Matador is likely more iconic than the scheme itself.
It does not have the same wow factor as other schemes, and the lack of original sponsor logos does bring it down a notch. That being said, I am a fan of this scheme.
8. Erik Jones
Throwing it back to Petty Blue will never get any qualms from me. Sure it is not flashy, but it’s Petty Blue at the end of the day.
It is plain, so that does bring it down a bit. Plus, because Petty Blue is usually on the track in some form, it does not have the same wow factor as other schemes. However, this is the exact route Legacy Motor Club should take with the 43.
7. Noah Gragson
After an initial freak out from realizing that a 2014 scheme can now be considered a throwback car, I have to admit this is a cool scheme. Jimmie Johnson always had cool patriotic schemes back in the day, and the 2014 Coca Cola 600 scheme is a great example.
This scheme has the unique ability to attract older and newer fans with sentimental value. The lack of original logos does hurt it some, but this is an awesome looking scheme.
6. Aric Almirola
Aric Almirola personally picked this paint scheme as he called it his favorite paint scheme. That is a cool touch. Plus, this was a great reveal, doing it at a minor league baseball game.
Add to that, throwing it back to Dale Jr’s iconic 2001 Pepsi 400 win makes this scheme check all of the sentimental value boxes. The lack of original logos does bring it down a tad, but do not let that distract you from the fact that this is a good throwback scheme.
5. Christopher Bell
There were few looks more iconic in the 2000s than Matt Kenseth’s DeWalt paint scheme. Bringing it back is always going to be a crowd pleaser. Plus the original logos make this scheme look closer to the way the original scheme looked on track than other throwbacks.
Again, the DeWalt colors have not changed much over the years, which keeps this scheme down a bit. However, there is enough difference on Bell’s current DeWalt car to justify this change.
4. Alex Bowman
This scheme’s reveal puts it high on the list. While the scheme may not resonate as much with fans, the sentimental value is awesome considering Bowman is honoring his spotter, Kevin Hamlin’s, Busch Series career.
Add to that the color scheme of black, red, white, and gold is sublime. This may be the best scheme in terms of pure looks.
3. Daniel Suarez
Again, original logos for the win. Ricky Rudd’s #26 Quaker State Buick had plenty of moments in the sun on the track. I really do not have much to add on this other than it is a solid scheme. The meh reveal is what puts it a bit further down than it could.
2. Chase Elliot
When it comes to reveals, this is one takes the cake. A phenomenal reveal that appeals to fans and holds great sentimental value to Chase Elliot as well. Bill Elliot’s red number 9 with Ray Evernham put Dodge back on the NASCAR map, and revived Bill’s career.
It’s safe to say that this scheme introduced Bill to a new generation of NASCAR fans. However, the lack of original logos is the only thing that keeps this scheme from being on top.
1. Ross Chastain
UPS schemes were an iconic part of NASCAR during the 2000s, and UPS coming back for this one race is simply awesome. This may be the closest to an original scheme that a throwback has ever gotten. With that in mind, that makes this a perfect throwback scheme.
It checks all the boxes of senitmental value, looks, effort, and accuracy. With that, this is the car that has to take the cake, at least so far.