Darlington throwback? 11 paint schemes we'd like to see

Johnny MantzISC Images & Archives/Getty Images

NASCAR fans as a group don't agree on much. Unless the topics of discussion are "Is Richard Petty cooler than a peppermint rocket?" or "Was Dale Earnhardt tougher than a truck stop flank steak?"

But race fans are joined in arm-and-arm lockstep when it comes to their feelings on the upcoming Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway. Teams are digging out old school paint schemes, from classic STP for Aric Almirola's No. 43 to old school David Pearson for No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to even Cole Trickle's Mello Yello colors for the No. 42, despite the fact that the movie Days of Thunder is two years older than driver Kyle Larson.

Every reveal of every paint job has electrified social media. Darlington itself has a pile of plans still to be unveiled. Goodyear has gone with old-school white logos on the tires. NBC Sports is digging out graphics that look like something built on a Commodore 64.

But it could still be better. How? By printing out this list and making it happen. So, put on your corduroys, grab a pack of Winston No Bulls, and adjust your aluminum foil TV antenna. It's time for the Top 10 (11!) Throwback Paint Schemes We Should See At Darlington But Won't.

11. Hendrick going full J.D. Stacy

From the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, a coal mining millionaire named J.D. Stacy decided he wanted to go racing. More accurately, he wanted to dominate racing by flooding the garage with not just cars, but also his name. It peaked in 1982, when he fielded two cars as an owner (shout-out to Joe Ruttman and Jim Sauter), but then also sponsored five other cars.

So, in a time when most starting grids had 30 cars, seven of those rides were adorned -- hood, quarter panels and rear deck -- with giant STACY decals. It all ended terribly, with the team suing Stacy and Stacy suing back and his eventual disappearance from the sport.

But, on the bright side, he did bring Mark Martin into NASCAR.

Rick Hendrick should reenact this using his cars and three of his affiliates from Stewart-Haas Racing. And then he should sue someone, just to do it.

10. Tribute to sponsors who never paid their bills

Speaking of lawsuits, remember Big Daddy's Barbecue Sauce?

At one point they were on the hoods of machines at every level of NASCAR. Then they were gone, only to return in court documents. Speedblock?

I once stood in the garage and watched Johnny Benson's crew furiously yank Lycos stickers off the hood of the car because team owner Tim Beverley was so mad about an online ad deal that Lycos had reneged on that he had demanded they not be in the race. Surely there's a stack of unused decals in a race-shop storage closet somewhere we could use at Darlington.

When I floated this idea on Twitter a few weeks ago, Rusty Wallace's son and business manager, Greg, said he had plenty of suggestions and both Keselowski brothers immediately responded that they supported the idea. Wrote Brian: "Where's the Sampson Stone busch and truck. I'm still waiting on that $$$."

9. Alex Bowman in the No. 7 Clyde Torkel's Cluck Bucket

C'mon, this is too obvious. He already drives the No. 7 car, just like Stroker Ace. "I'm Alex Bowman and the only think I like more than winning the race is stuffing Torkel Chicken in my face."

8. Danica Patrick in Aubrey James's No. 10 Four Star Whiskey

Because if there's going to be a Stroker Ace, there has to be an Audrey Meadows -- er, Aubrey James.

7. Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Mark Martin Salute To You sponsorship quilt car

Remember when baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry would play in MLB Old-Timers' Day games and wear a jersey embroidered with the logos of all nine teams that he played for? Bayne now drives the number six Ford at Roush Fenway Racing.

So why not pay tribute to man who made it famous by wrapping it in a quilt work of his sponsors? The Apache Stove/Stroh's Light/Folger's/Viagra/AAA/US Army/Kellogg's/Steak-umm Burgers/Go Daddy/Aaron's/Bass Pro Shop Ford.

And during driver introductions they should play Johnny Cash's "One Piece At A Time."

We'll call it the Salute To You car in honor of Martin's so-named farewell tour that ended up lasting eight years.

6. Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Bobby Labonte Bad Movies Collection

During the late 1990s, one-off paint schemes to promote movies became all the rage, and no one did more of those than B-Lab at Joe Gibbs Racing.

And man, what a list of Oscar-winning classics. Small Soldiers, Jurassic Park III, Shrek 2 and The Hulk. No, not the Hulk from The Avengers or even The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton, but the weird one with Eric Bana and Nick Nolte where they kept showing algae growing on rocks and injected dogs with gamma rays to make Hulk dogs.

5. Greg Biffle in the No. 16 Wally Dallenbach Keystone Beer Ford

Or Kenny Wallace's Red Dog. Or Larry Smith's Carling Black Label. Or Boris Said's Genesee Beer. Or Genny Light. I'm not picky here. I just want to party.

And if all that ends up being too much, we could add Gary Bradberry's 1999 sponsor, Pharb's Hangover Relief.

4. Something with a Superbird wing

No, it'd never pass NASCAR tech inspection. Unless the inspectors were too busy weeping in happiness and taking selfies with it to notice we'd stolen an approval sticker and slapped it onto the windshield.

3. Dale Earnhardt's pink No. K-2

In 1970, 19-year-old Dale Earnhardt was finally going to get to race. His father Ralph bought a 1956 Ford Victoria from some neighbors, rebuilt the engine, secured a sponsor in Dayvault's Tune-Ups & Brake Service, and then mixed up a few buckets of paint to match the car's purple roof.

Unfortunately, the mixture came out pink. Even more unfortunately, there was no time for a do-over. So The Intimidator's first race car was pinker than a baby girl's nursery. For decades he shied away from that story. It didn't fit his image. But when the die cast collector's boom hit, he had no problem selling little versions of it.

So, I don't think he'd have had a problem with seeing someone in a pink machine wheeling around The Track Too Tough To Tame. A little pink streak might look good among all those Darlington Stripes slapped along the Turn 1 retaining wall.

2. Timmy Hill in the No. 98 Jr.

Hill will run the Mike Curb-owned No. 98 this weekend. In the inaugural Southern 500, held on Labor Day weekend in 1950, Hollywood stuntman-turned-racer Johnny "Mad Man" Mantz won NASCAR's first asphalt speedway race in a jet-black taxi cab, adorned with nothing more than a set of truck tires, his name on the hood and a giant, white "98" with a little bitty "jr." slapped alongside.

Who knows? Perhaps start-and-parker Hill could even employ Mantz's strategy of cruising slowly along the apron while everyone else blows tires and wrecks.

Well, OK, maybe not. But we do know that car is pretty good at the first part.

1. Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Rainbow Warrior

C'mon, how is this not happening?

They just did it at Bristol. And with all due respect to Thunder Valley, it was Darlington and four consecutive wins in the Southern 500 where Wonder Boy served notice to all that he may have looked new and shiny, but he was as throwback as they come.

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