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Trackhouse Racing is bringing back two iconic schemes with the help of Coca-Cola. The Cup Series team will show up at Darlington Raceway with schemes previously used by Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a head-to-head competition.
Trackhouse Racing unveiled the schemes on May 3 and turned some heads. The revealed that Daniel Suarez will drive the red Coca-Cola car that Earnhardt put on display during a trip to Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi in 1998. Ross Chastain, however, will drive the black No. 1 Coca-Cola car that Dale Jr. used during the exhibition race. This scheme will bring back the polar bears for the first time in nearly 24 years.
“We wanted to do something that honors the legacy of the sport, recognizes our valued partners at Trackhouse Racing, and something that fans can get behind,” said Trackhouse owner Justin Marks in a press release. “We think this is the right combination marrying the history of the Earnhardts who are both Hall of Famers, acknowledging our support from Coke and Chevrolet, plus supporting the fans’ excitement for Throwback Weekend in Darlington.”
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The 2 Schemes Turned Heads During a Heated Battle
The NASCAR Thunder Special Motegi, which took place on November 22, 1998, was the third non-points race held in Japan. The first two took place in 1996 and 1997 at the Suzuka Circuit road course, but the third moved to Twin Ring Motegi.
Earnhardt was a regular participant in the exhibition races, but Dale Jr. took part after Steve Parks suffered an injury at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The defending Xfinity Series champion took over the No. 1 Coca-Cola Chevrolet with no practice laps and turned in a top-10 finish.
Mike Skinner won the race — his second consecutive victory in Japan — after leading 94 total laps. Jeff Gordon finished second overall while Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Burton, and Rusty Wallace rounded out the top five. Dale Jr. finished sixth in his first Cup Series competition, a spot he secured after passing his father with 10 laps remaining. The elder Earnhardt ultimately finished eighth after Bill Elliott passed him as well.
The two schemes will now return, albeit on decidedly different stock cars. Chastain and Suarez will both pursue stage points and the win while highlighting the red and black Coca-Cola schemes.
Bringing Back the Classic Schemes Took Effort
Channeling the two Hall of Fame drivers for Throwback Weekend was not a simple task. Trackhouse Racing had to put in some considerable effort while working with key partners to accurately nail all of the details.
Coca-Cola and Chevrolet both showed their support in the design process. When Trackhouse Racing heads to Darlington, the team will have the same logos, fonts, and paint schemes. The only differences will be the models of the stock cars and the number on Suarez’s doors.
“This is an honor for me. I am very touched,” said Dale Jr. in a press release. “It’s going to make a lot of Earnhardt fans very happy to see both cars out on the racetrack. (Trackhouse Racing) has been knocking out of the park on performance so I am sure they are going to be upfront for a lot of the fans to see on television.”