Ryan Ellis to honor favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, with throwback, fire-and-flames paint scheme at Darlington Xfinity race
Another week, another memorable paint scheme.
NASCAR driver and RMNB reader, Ryan Ellis, will jump back into his Keen Parts no. 44 car at Darlington Raceway on Saturday (3pm, USA Network). The avid hockey fan and his team, Alpha Prime Racing, are getting major attention on social media for his car’s throwback design.
Ellis, who recently had his first trading card and diecast car made, got special permission from Hendrick Motorsports to use Jeff Gordon’s iconic fire-and-flames, rainbow paint scheme for the race. The car emulates the design Gordon raced with when he tied Dale Earnhardt on the wins list with 76 on April 21, 2007, at Pheonix Raceway. The victory ended a 25-race winless streak at the time for Gordon.
“It means the world,” Gordon said in Victory Lane then per NBC Sports. “Just to get a win at a track that we’d never won at before. I drove my guts out, I’ve never had to drive so hard for a win. … Holding that ‘3’ flag … to honor (Earnhardt) in that way it really means a lot to me. I learned so much from him. To even come close to anything he’d ever done in this sport is amazing to me. We wanted to honor him, we’ve been holding onto that flag for a long time. To get 76 is incredible.”
There’s also another special angle to this. Ellis very much looked up to Gordon as a kid — both were dirt car racers first — and hoped to emulate his success someday.