Ricky Rudd is a NASCAR legend, with a mind-boggling 906 career NASCAR Cup Series starts and 23 victories to his name. In his early years, he raced for his father Al’s team before hooking up with legendary Virginia car owner Junie Donlavey.
At Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Aug. 31, Justin Allgaier will pay tribute to Rudd and sponsor Armour by running a throwback paint scheme dedicated to the No. 90 Truxmore Chevrolet that Rudd wheeled in 1979.
The No. 7 Armour Vienna Sausage Chevrolet that Allgaier will wheel at Darlington features the blue tail and roof of the original scheme, along with the signature gold stripes that run along the bottom of the body and wrap around the hood, which is white. Those colors align well with Armour’s signature paint schemes.
“I’m really looking forward to running this Ricky Rudd throwback,” said Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 for JRM. “His success in NASCAR, driving for not only for his dad, Al Rudd, but also the No. 90 for Junie Donlavey, an icon of the sport… I just felt like for us, this was a perfect throwback. We are trying to hold true to the throwback theme, the colors obviously match really well and it’s just a cool car.
“That’s part of what makes the throwback so much fun is to be able to have a cool car and have a lot of respect for that driver and their accomplishments and the car owner, and in this case I have a lot of respect for both. It is going to be really cool to see how the car turns out and to finally get on the race track.”
That particular car is significant, because Donlavey was not known for fielding Chevrolets.
Donlavey had run short on cars during that season, and by the time summer came around he needed one. The Rudd family team had a car, a Chevrolet, and it was painted in the blue, white and gold scheme it had run all season.
“Junie didn’t have a car that we could take to the short tracks at that time,” Rudd said. “I had one sitting back at my shop. My brother built the engine and we carried it to Richmond where Junie’s shop was.
“The biggest thing I remember is that Junie took a powerful ribbing for running a Chevrolet. When he showed up with that car, I don’t think he’d ever taken that much ribbing in his life. He was well-respected and had always been loyal to his brand.”
Donlavey, the Richmond, Va. businessman and car owner, founded his race team in 1950 and was part of the original founding group of owners and drivers in NASCAR. He had always run cars made by another brand. Some 67 drivers competed in Donlavey’s cars from 1950 until he shuttered his team in 2004, including Rudd, Joe Weatherly, Buddy Baker, Harry Gant, Dick Trickle and others. Ken Schrader and Jody Ridley both won Rookie of the Year honors driving for Donlavey, and Ridley scored the team’s only victory at Dover in May of 1981.
Fans see Allgaier’s throwback car in action by tuning in to NBC for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Darlington Raceway on Saturday, August 31 at 4 p.m.
— JR Motorsports —