jimmie johnson

AP Photo/Mel Evans

Jimmie Johnson to Honor Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty With Darlington Throwback Scheme

In his final race at Darlington Raceway, Jimmie Johnson will honor two NASCAR legends — Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty — with a special throwback paint scheme on his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. At the Southern 500 throwback race on September 6, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will pay tribute to the two other seven-time Cup champs on his Ally-sponsored car.

"I'm proud to honor these two legends and what they've meant to me and the sport with this 7x scheme at Darlington," Johnson wrote in a Twitter video showcasing the scheme.

While the top of Johnson's car will feature one of Petty's STP paint schemes from the 1970s, the sides of the car are based on Dale Sr.'s No. 3 GM Goodwrench scheme. It's the ultimate homage to two of the most dominant drivers in NASCAR history. Check it out!

On an episode of the Dale Jr. Download podcast, Johnson talked about how excited he was to debut the throwback scheme.

"We've been sitting on the idea and obviously with it being the final year it's so appropriate," Johnson said. "I'm glad we saved it because it's just fitting and right to do. To play with the scheme, it was split in a few different ways. Once I sent (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) the text on it, I think we were able to really fine tune the attributes that each paint scheme kind of had in them. Another tweak I just love is the 48 (on the sides) is leaning like the 3."

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In this coronavirus pandemic-affected season, Johnson is currently 25 points below William Byron, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, on the playoff cutline. He heads into this weekend's doubleheader at Dover International Speedway with hopes of driving into victory lane and nabbing that automatic playoff bid.

While Johnson does have 11 career wins at Dover, he's also been battling a 117-race winless streak. But, the longtime NASCAR driver doesn't have much more to prove in the sport, with 83 wins and 371 top-10s in the Cup Series, as well as 93 Xfinity Series starts. And, of course, the seven Cup championships.

Now, technically, 2020 doesn't mark Johnson driving off into the sunset for good. While Johnson does plan to pull the plug on full-time NASCAR racing after this season, he also added in the Dale Jr. Download episode that he hopes to run 12 to 13 IndyCar races next season.

Say what you will about his recent NASCAR performance, but even at 44 years old, Jimmie Johnson still has that ultimate drive to compete.

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