Throwbacks and Tributes and Memories, Oh My
The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Race Fans Forever go out to the family and friends of Betty Jane France, who sadly passed away on Monday of this week. May she rest in peace with Billy.
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and of course the same is extended to the lucky soul at NASCAR that drew the straw with our name on it today. We do hope you enjoy your stay and pass the article up the chain of command to the proper eyes and ears. We do our level best here to be an equal opportunity insulter.
It’s Tuesday morning, with noon fast approaching as I finally pull up to the keyboard with intent to write… but I have absolutely nothing in mind about which to write. I could write about that Chase thing, but everyone else is doing that. Quite honestly, it doesn’t excite me; it depresses me. Call me old-fashioned or just plain old, but I like a race where the fastest car wins. Then the next week, I like the same… and on and on through the entire season. At the end, the best guy overall is called “Champion.”
My ill-feelings about all of the gimmicks and gadgets that are deemed necessary in stock car racing today under the NASCAR sanction are well known. “Erase The Chase!” I’ve been rudely informed that won’t be happening, probably in my lifetime, so why rail and tilt at windmills? Our season here at RFF ends at Richmond and whosoever is in the points lead at that time is our Champion. The last 10 races are purely for the amusement of one Brian Z. France. Enjoy the gamesmanship and gimmickry BoZo; football starts next week.
Ah, but before any of that comes to pass, the race on this upcoming Labor Day weekend is once more home in Darlington, South Carolina, where it always belonged… brought home by the same man that told us at the time that tradition didn’t matter; that weekend was going to a much larger market. He explained he was “growing the sport.” Californians it seems, are not as hardy as South Carolinians and won’t come out and sit in the scorching sun of early September in a hot climate. He lost that round. Today, Darlington is about the only track on the circuit that can fill a grandstand.
Someone over there knows a thing or three about marketing, and when it was announced last year that the Southern 500 was coming home, Darlington Raceway announced a Retro “Throwback” theme for the race. The most popular part of that by far was the cars that came to the party dressed as the cars of yesteryear. Iconic paint schemes was the word of the day, and this year, there promise to be even more “Throwbacks” on track to thrill and delight the fans in the stands.
So far there are known to be 36 special paint schemes coming to Darlington this weekend, but after careful perusal and inspection, not all of them are actual “Throwbacks”; some are billed as “tributes” while a few merely sport a different paint scheme for a current sponsor. To my mind, those don’t count. You can see each of them in detail at Jayski.com and draw your own conclusions on that point.
However, being your favorite scribe (I am, aren’t I?) I’ve not only picked out my favorites but rounded up the pictures of the car they represent, so you can see both cars together. There are some excellent likenesses among them, but some that obviously missed the mark or just didn’t try hard enough. If the old car had a red stripe at the bottom, deciding that a black or blue one would look better doesn’t carry the theme. The closer to identical one can get, the better the result… and I view with an extremely critical eye.
First up is Brad Keselowski driving the original Miller Lite can from 1972:
And finally, we have the #95, driven by Michael McDowell, offering a very good impression of the aforementioned Richard Childress’ “Kansas Jack” sponsored Chevrolet. The font graphic is wrong, but no points deducted for that, as Childress has a patent on his. For a small team, this is a great effort!
Your scribe has only a few words before we wrap it up for today and look forward to seeing all the cars in “person” on the track come Sunday. For an old-timer like me, it’s rather sad to look at the beauty to be found in those older cars that just doesn’t exist in today’s potato-shaped look-alikes. Note that all of the old front ends are of the variety that would allow a medium size dog passage without harm. That would be a large part of the reason that those cars didn’t suffer from “aero-push.” They were not only pretty, but they raced better. Not faster perhaps, but speed is relative. They definitely raced better!
Oh yes!!! I almost forgot to give you my favorite! A lot of these were very good, but I have singled out two… one as my personal favorite and the other for perfection in color and graphics. My pick for “Best of Show” is the #14 of Tony Steward in an awesome rendition of Bobby Allison’s “Coke Car.” First place for perfection has to go to the #47 of A.J. Allmendinger for the reprise of the Bruce Hill car from 1977.
Of course, your results may vary. There wasn’t time or space to list them all here, so get on over to Jayski.com and see the rest. There are some pretty good ones that didn’t make my list. It’s all in fun and I do hope we’ll all have fun come Sunday. Happy Labor Day everyone! See you in September!
That old “Retro” banjo says it’s time for our Classic Country Closeout, and though everything here fits the “Retro” label to a “T”, this week we’ll reach for a real Throwback. What follows is a two-part broadcast from 1952 of the Kate Smith Show, with guest stars from the Grand Ol’ Opry, including the late, great Hank Williams. Folks that is Retro at its finest! Please Enjoy!
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!