Throwback Weekend will take place May 6-8 as the three national NASCAR series compete at Darlington Raceway. Goodyear will celebrate the weekend by bringing back a special throwback design for the tires.
Darlington Raceway and Goodyear announced on April 11 that they had renewed the entitlement sponsorship deal of the annual Cup Series race. The drivers will once again compete in the Goodyear 400 while showcasing the “vintage” sidewall designs on the Eagle tires. This design, which NASCAR used during the 1980-1992 Cup Series seasons, will take center stage during all three national series races.
“Our entitlement sponsorship of the Goodyear 400 represents a continuation of our six-decade commitment to NASCAR through tire innovation and allows us to celebrate the sport’s storied history and talented drivers of today,” said Karen Maroli, Goodyear’s vice president of marketing. “NASCAR’s Official Throwback Weekend is always a highly-anticipated stop on the circuit, and alongside Darlington Raceway, we look forward to providing race fans with an unforgettable experience.”
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The Goodyear 400 will take place on Sunday, May 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET. FS1 will provide coverage as the drivers show off their best tribute schemes and fight for a spot in the playoff grid, as well as the trophy.
The 2021 Goodyear 400 Featured 2021’s First Repeat Winner
The 2021 Cup Series season featured a unique change in the schedule. NASCAR moved Throwback Weekend to the first Darlington race after several years of combining it with the Southern 500.
The drivers showed off their throwback schemes while fighting for the win on May 9, 2021, but one turned in a dominant performance. Martin Truex Jr. led 248 laps and won every stage while driving the blue and black Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry.
When Truex reached Victory Lane at Darlington Raceway, he continued to boast unique bragging rights. Through the first 12 races of the 2021 season, he was the only person to win multiple races. He punched his ticket to the playoffs with a win at Phoenix before capturing his second checkered flag at Martinsville. The trip to Darlington was his third of the year while eight other drivers only had one win each. Though Kyle Larson ultimately flipped a switch and rattled off 10 points-paying wins to secure his championship.
Tires Will Remain a Question Entering the Darlington Weekend
The Gen 7 car has provided some excitement for fans during the first portion of the season. Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Circuit of the Americas, and some of the early tracks served as the site of big moments. However, a different discussion took place after the trip to Martinsville Speedway.
The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400, which William Byron won after leading a race-high 212 laps. He took the top spot from teammate Chase Elliott (185 laps led) during a pit stop and finished off a quiet race that featured no lead changes during green-flag runs.
There were multiple discussions after the race about what could have led to more passing opportunities. The cold weather, the horsepower package, and the increase in shifting all became part of the conversation, but multiple drivers specifically mentioned the tires.
“Probably get the left sides wearing a little bit more,” Ryan Blaney said after the April 9 race at Martinsville Speedway, quote courtesy of Ford Performance. “The left sides just don’t wear on this car. That’s just kind of how it is, so I know they’ve been playing around with softer lefts and things like that, so go for it. I mean, go way softer, especially on the lefts and see where it gets you.”
These conversations will continue as Throwback Weekend approaches, especially with the wildly different tracks on the immediate schedule. The drivers will take on the dirt track at Bristol Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and a one-mile track in Dover Motor Speedway.