Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway came to a close with Joey Logano’s Cup Series win on May 8. Prior to the contact between him and William Byron, the track officials revealed the three winning schemes from the fan vote.
According to Darlington Raceway, Chase Elliott’s tribute scheme to Jimmy Means was the most popular among Cup Series drivers. Jeremy Clements’ tribute to Dale Earnhardt and Bud Moore captured the most fan votes in the Xfinity Series and Matt DiBenedetto’s tribute to Sterling Marlin was the most popular in the Camping World Truck Series.
Clements, in particular, beat out another Earnhardt tribute scheme. His blue and yellow scheme secured more votes than the blue and yellow scheme that Justin Allgaier used. Though the JR Motorsports driver was able to celebrate in Victory Lane after winning his first race in a year.
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Elliott had to contend with a lot of strong throwback schemes. There were several iconic looks that paid tribute to NASCAR stars from history. Alex Bowman and Brad Keselowski both showcased Mark Martin schemes while Trackhouse Racing ran schemes honoring Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Though these were only a few examples of the looks that drew attention during the race weekend.
Elliott’s Throwback Scheme Changed After Practice
The scheme that won the fan vote was not the one that crossed the finish line fifth overall on May 8. It actually changed after an incident in practice on May 7 that crumpled the original version.
The defending Most Popular Driver spun at Darlington Raceway after cutting a left rear tire. He said that he was unaware that it had gone flat before trying to turn. He lost control, hit the wall, and caused a significant amount of damage.
The No. 9 team had to pull out the blank backup car and rush to get it prepped for the Goodyear 400. They put portions of the Means scheme on the backup, but much of the car remained white for the Cup Series race.
While Elliott lost out on his pit stall selection and qualifying lap, he was able to contend for the win. He moved through the field and secured points in Stage 2. Elliott then put himself into position to move into the top five on the final two laps of the race.
DiBenedetto Turned in a Strong Finish With the Marlin Scheme
The three fan vote winners had different outcomes in their respective races. Elliott finished fifth in the Cup Series race while Clements finished 29th after old tires and contact with Ryan Truex resulted in a wreck on the race’s final turn.
DiBenedetto, for comparison, had a quiet performance overall in the No. 25 Rackley W.A.R. Chevrolet Silverado. He started eighth overall after qualifying, and he avoided the eight incidents that brought out caution flags, including a wreck that involved Hailie Deegan, Tanner Gray, Chase Purdy, and Austin Wayne Self.
DiBenedetto originally finished 11th overall in the Marlin tribute scheme, but he moved up to 10th overall in the aftermath of the race. Fellow driver Matt Crafton failed post-race inspection due to a violation of the height requirements. He dropped from the top five to the last place.
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