NASCAR's annual throwback weekend is set for May 7-9 at Darlington Raceway and this year William Byron will sport a special Valvoline paint scheme inspired by legendary driver Neil Bonnett's Valvoline car from the 80s. We sat down with Patrick Daugherty, Associate Brand Manager of Sponsorships at Valvoline, to learn how the paint scheme came to life.
What drove the decision to feature Neil Bonnett’s paint scheme for the Darlington weekend?
He’s one of our favorite Valvoline drivers of all time, and the No. 75 Valvoline car he drove has inspired our paint schemes for decades. Valvoline has such a rich history in NASCAR and fans always remember the iconic schemes from the 80s and 90s most. We’re happy with how this one turned out.
In your opinion, what makes Neil Bonnett an original?
He’s a legend in NASCAR. Neil was a member of the Alabama Gang, the nickname for the group of drivers that operated out of Hueytown, Alabama, including guys like Bobby and Donnie Allison. He had 18 wins in the Cup series over his 20-year career. There’s just so much history there and so much to admire.
What years did Neil drive this scheme? Any major feats in this car?
Neil drove the Valvoline car for two seasons during 1987-1988. He earned impressive back-to-back victories at Richmond and Rockingham during the 1988 season.
What's your favorite design feature of the No. 24 car that William Byron is running?
That's a tough question. We incorporated as many design elements from Neil's No. 75 car that we possibly could, and had to get creative to make it look period correct. Of those design elements my favorite part is that we utilized 'TRUSTED' where 'Pontiac' would have been displayed on Neil's car. 'Trusted' is part of our Original Motor Oil logo and it was cool to see that utilized in a unique way. It's those minor details that make the car.
What was the creative process like? Was there anything left on the cutting room floor that we may see in future schemes?
Surprisingly, no! The designer, Blackbeard, nailed it the first round! Both the Valvoline team and William are really excited about how the design turned out. We can’t wait to see it on the track.
This throwback race weekend is always a spectacle for NASCAR. Anything else Valvoline and Hendrick fans can expect at Darlington?
It wouldn’t be a proper Darlington weekend without some throwback gear. Wait until you see these folks walking into the track. Be sure to follow Hendrick Motorsports’ social media channels for all the updates.