Josh Bilicki Channels Inner Burt Reynolds With Talladega Scheme

Josh Bilicki

Getty Josh Bilicki arrives for a Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 11.

The NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on October 3 will feature some references to an extremely popular movie. Josh Bilicki, the driver of the No. 52 will head to the 2.66-mile track with a scheme referencing “Smokey and the Bandit.”

The Rick Ware Racing driver showcased his new scheme on Twitter ahead of the trip to Talladega, revealing the black Ford Mustang with the gold Screaming Chicken on the hood. The sides feature sponsor logos from The Boss Flooring, Junction Fuels, and RBR Aviation. Bilicki also included a photoshopped image that showed him in the No. 52 recreating the cover of the “Smokey and the Bandit” Pursuit Pack box set.

Bilicki will put this special Burt Reynolds-inspired scheme on full display on Sunday, October 3, at Talladega Superspeedway. He will line up on the 17th row, next to Xfinity Series driver Justin Allgaier. This race will represent Bilicki’s second-ever trip to Talladega in his Cup Series career. He previously suited up for the Geico 500 on April 25 and finished 36th overall.

Bilicki Is the Second Driver To Channel Burt Reynolds in 2021

With Bilicki channeling Reynolds during the trip to Talladega Superspeedway, he becomes the second Cup Series driver to do so in 2021. Spire Motorsports driver Corey LaJoie technically was the first. Although he won’t showcase his scheme in person until the October 24 race at Kansas Speedway.

Spire Motorsports revealed on June 22 that LaJoie will run a special “Stroker Ace” scheme during the Hollywood Casino 400, referencing the Reynolds movie from 1983. He will show up at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in a bright red Chevrolet Camaro with Circle B Diecast graphics.

There are several nods to the film’s hero car, including a running chicken on the door and a yellow drop shadow on the numbers. There will also be an altered slogan reading, “Fastest Shipping in the South” instead of “Fastest Chicken in the South.”

“We have worked with Corey for years and have enjoyed being a part of his career,” said Brent Powell, President of Circle B Diecast, per Speedway Digest. “Having sponsored both of his races at Kansas last year, when it was announced that he would be joining Spire for 2021, we knew we wanted to be a part of it.

“When thinking about schemes for the No.7 we wanted to come up with something fans would enjoy. As a teenager in the 1980s, Stroker Ace was always a favorite of mine. The team at Spire really knocked this scheme out of the park, and we really hope the fans enjoy it!”

NASCAR Drivers Have a Proud History of Referencing Movies

There are several NASCAR drivers that have referenced films with their schemes throughout the years, turning heads in the process. BJ McLeod ran a “Stroker Ace” scheme in the 2019 Southern 500 while Tyler Ankrum and Kurt Busch both referenced “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

Ankrum showcased his special Will Ferrell scheme during Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway. He showed up to the Camping World Truck Series race on May 7 in the No. 26 Liuna Chevrolet Silverado, which featured a scheme inspired by Ferrell’s Wonder bread stock car from the film.

Busch actually ran two separate “Talladega Nights” schemes at Talladega Superspeedway. He started with the 2012 Cup Series race at the track and showed up with the “ME” scheme from the film’s final race. Busch even went through tech inspection with a stuffed cougar in the back of the race car.

One year later, the 2004 Cup Series champion showed up to Talladega Superspeedway in the Wonder bread firesuit. He raced around the track with the white Chevrolet stock car while the broadcast team made references to the film.

Of course, Busch did not simply stick with “Talladega Nights.” He also showed up to a 2013 race at Daytona International Speedway with a scheme referencing a fan-favorite film. He drove a green and yellow No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro in an Xfinity Series — known as the Nationwide Series at the time — that referenced “Days of Thunder.”

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