In partnership with Darlington Raceway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Nationwide revealed the No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Gray Ghost Chevrolet SS that Earnhardt will drive in the Southern 500 during Labor Day weekend in September. The 2016 throwback car design honors Buddy Baker’s No. 28 Gray Ghost paint scheme, which was made famous by Baker when he won the 1980 DAYTONA 500.
"The track is the perfect place to unveil our throwback weekend paint scheme. This place has so much history and has served our sport so well," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I appreciate Nationwide's enthusiasm to be involved and their appreciation for the history of the sport as well. It certainly shines through with this paint scheme. It's my favorite paint scheme.”
While Earnhardt uses this opportunity to honor NASCAR’s storied heritage, this paint scheme is also a way for Nationwide to pay homage to its own past. This year, Nationwide celebrates its 90th anniversary on April 14.
Earnhardt’s throwback paint scheme for the Southern 500 features colors and logos used by Nationwide during the same time that Baker’s original Gray Ghost was on the track, keeping in line with this year’s Darlington throwback theme. The orange Nationwide Insurance logo with the “Nationwide is on your side” tagline was used in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and also matches up with the original orange logo from the Gray Ghost that ran during the same time period.
“Nationwide is excited to take part in this year’s throwback paint scheme program,” said Jim McCoy, Director of Sports Marketing for Nationwide. “We hope it reminds people that Nationwide has a long history of being there for our members when they need us most. We take great pride in being able to protect their needs just as we protect the needs of Dale and the Earnhardt family. We look forward to seeing the Gray Ghost on the track, and hopefully in Victory Lane, on September 4.”
This year’s Southern 500 will focus on the 1975-84 era of NASCAR, a revolutionary time period when iconic drivers such as Baker, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Darrell Waltrip left their imprints on stock car racing.
“We’re so appreciative of Dale, Nationwide and Hendrick Motorsports for their support of our throwback race weekend,” Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said. “Dale’s Gray Ghost paint scheme is a wonderful reminder of our sport’s storied history. To honor a NASCAR legend like Buddy Baker in this way is what our Tradition Continues throwback weekend is all about.”
Fans can view the No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Gray Ghost Chevrolet SS by following @nationwide88 on Twitter; following @NW88 on Instagram; or by liking Nationwide 88 on Facebook.