Every Racing Series Needs A Throwback Weekend

Illustration for article titled Every Racing Series Needs A Throwback Weekend
Photo: Jared C. Tilton (Getty)

This weekend, the NASCAR brigade heads to Darlington with vintage-styled cars in tow for its annual throwback weekend—truly a treat to behold. It’s something that every racing series needs to do.


The throwback weekend is a way to recognize NASCAR’s roots and traditions within the context of the modern era. It’s kind of goofy, it’s fun, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it gives fans something to look forward to every year. You can appreciate the past without, like, having to constantly repeat it.

Which is why it blows my mind that we don’t do this in any other racing series! While some Formula One drivers occasionally debut throwback helmets for the Monaco Grand Prix, I would honestly rather see a Tyrrell-themed F1 car hit the track. Where are the John Player Special-styled Haas machines? Why don’t we bring back a Marlboro Team Penske-inspired livery once a year in IndyCar?


I mean, I get it. I can see why it’s not a prominent thing. Liveries these days are designed because of current sponsors that pay a lot of money to have their names and corresponding colors plastered on the side of a very fast car. We made our one livery for the year, and that’s that.

I get it, but also, I think it would benefit literally everyone in the whole entire racing world if we had a chance to lighten up every now and then! Does it really matter if we turn the British Grand Prix into a Goodwood Revival-esque event? We’re already doing cool one-off liveries for the Indy 500, so why not lead up to it with a retro Indy Grand Prix? Why do you humans constantly deprive yourselves of fun?

Whatever the reason, throwbacks are always a good idea, no matter what, and I would like to be able to see vintage-inspired cars on my hi-def television, not just on a VHS-quality YouTube video.


Weekends at Jalopnik. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Freelancer. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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Rusty Starship

Agree 100%. IndyCar should do a race where the entire field is covered in throwback liveries. What does NASCAR do for the old tobacco liveries? A lot of the best liveries in classic Indy cars have been tobacco sponsors. Is there a rule against tobacco sponsors on current IndyCars?

That said, Graham Rahal’s car at Road America this year was a great example of how you can replicate an old livery while keeping the old MGD sponsor off the car.