Jimmie Johnson received a huge surprise when his teammates revealed they would be honoring him with their throwback schemes for the start of the playoffs at Darlington Raceway.
The schemes from Chase Elliott, William Byron and Alex Bowman all pay homage to seven-time champion Johnson from different momentous occasions in his career.
The seven-time champion was touched as he saw each of his teammates reveal in a personal video how they would pay tribute to him for the throwback race on Sept. 6.
Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE will pay homage to Johnson’s championship-winning 2009 season.
“Obviously, you’ve been a great friend and a hero of mine, so I’m really excited about this,” Elliott said. “I think it’s a really cool thing we can do.”
Byron’s Liberty University scheme flashes forward a few years later to Johnson’s 2013 All-Star Race victory. The patriotic colors match up with Johnson’s scheme for the All-Star Race that season, which eventually would lead to his sixth championship.
“Hey Jimmie, obviously Charlotte Motor Speedway is a very special racetrack to me,” Byron said. “It’s where I grew up watching a lot of races, and seeing you in that 48 car end up in victory lane a lot of times. Most notably, the All-Star Race in 2013 comes to mind.”
For Bowman’s Truck Hero scheme, he and the No. 88 team decided Johnson’s first championship season in 2006 was the best way to not only honor the El Cajon, California, native, but to also pay tribute to No. 88 crew chief Greg Ives.
“(I’m) really excited to get to drive that thing,” Bowman said. “The main reason we chose that scheme was that was Greg’s first championship, so that was really neat.”
Ives was an engineer with the 48 team during the 2006 season. The title marked the first of five championships Ives earned as part of Johnson’s team.
— Hendrick Motorsports —
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) August 20, 2020