The top Cup Series drivers headed to Darlington Raceway on Sunday to cap off Throwback Weekend, and they are used the Goodyear 400 to honor legends from NASCAR history. Spire Motorsports driver Corey LaJoie was among this group, and he already created the best possible photo opportunity.
LaJoie posted a photo on Twitter that showed him recreating a special moment from NASCAR history. He kneeled in front of the No. 7 Zerex Chevrolet Camaro, which featured a paint scheme honoring the late Alan Kulwicki. To make the moment more impressive, LaJoie wore the Hall of Famer’s firesuit. The Cup Series driver also revealed that Kulwicki was his hero growing up.
The Spire Motorsports team went all out for Throwback Weekend, perfectly recreating Kulwicki’s No. 7. The car had the same paint scheme and the same sponsor. Having LaJoie kneel in the same way while wearing the Hall of Famer’s hat and firesuit just took the photo to the next level. He created a truly memorable photo opportunity while joining his fellow drivers in honoring NASCAR legends.
Two drivers used Throwback Weekend to honor Kulwicki
LaJoie is not the only Cup Series star that headed to The Lady in Black while paying tribute to the NASCAR legend. Chase Elliott also used a paint scheme from Kulwicki’s career, while working with one of his top sponsors. He drove the throwback No. 9 Hooters Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
The defending Cup Series champion previously teased the return of Kulwicki’s Hooters Racing scheme in late April. He posed for a photo while holding the Bill France Cup over his head. Hooters girls posed with the No. 9 Chevrolet in the background.
This photo perfectly copied a photo that Kulwicki took after winning the Winston Cup in 1992. The photo had minor differences considering that the late NASCAR driver drove the No. 7 Ford Thunderbird during his championship campaign. The Winston Cup trophy was also noticeably different than the Bill France Cup that Elliott held above his head.
Unfortunately for Elliott, his Throwback Weekend race started out with a penalty. His team made unapproved adjustments to the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro after passing tech inspection, sending him to the rear of the field. He joined Aric Almirola, whose No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang failed inspection twice.
The pre-race festivities featured two Hall of Famers in classic cars
Prior to the green flag waving, NASCAR sent two legends out onto the track. Bill Elliott, the 1988 champion, took some pace laps in his classic No. 9 Ford Thunderbird. Leonard Wood, the iconic engine builder and co-founder of Wood Brothers Racing, joined him on the track. He drove a fully-restored 1971 Mercury that David Pearson drove during his career. Pearson is Darlington’s all-time winningest driver with 10 wins.
The special laps featuring the Hall of Famers marked the second time on Mother’s Day Weekend that a NASCAR legend took pace laps in an iconic car. Dale Earnhardt Jr. did so as well prior to Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, driving around Darlington Raceway in his father’s fully-restored No. 8 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Nova.
Once the two Hall of Famers completed their laps around Darlington, the Cup Series drivers kicked off the highly-anticipated Goodyear 400. Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer provided the call for the race while wearing 1970s suits.