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Stewart-Haas Racing driver Danica Patrick will honor 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Robert Yates with a throwback paint scheme on her No. 10 Ford Fusion during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Southern 500 race at Darlington Raceway next month.
“The throwback race at Darlington is such a cool event,” said Patrick, in a team release. “The track has done such a great job of getting the teams and drivers involved. I’m excited to run a true throwback scheme this year. It’s great that we’re able to honor Robert Yates and all he’s done for our sport.”
After working in the sport for more than two decades, Yates launched his own team, Robert Yates Racing (RYR), in the late 1980s. In 1996, RYR expanded to a two-car operation, fielding the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford with Dale Jarrett. The decision by Yates to add a second car to the stable resulted in Jarrett winning the 1999 championship in a paint scheme that Patrick’s No. 10 Ford Credit Ford Fusion will emulate at Darlington.
“The No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford was definitely a memorable program for our team,” Yates said in the release. “We won the Daytona 500 in Dale’s very first race in that scheme in 1996 and went on to win many more races and the championship in 1999. It was incredibly gratifying to have Ford as my sponsor and manufacturer, especially when we beat the competition. Getting to see this scheme run again will bring back many great memories. I can’t thank everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing enough for honoring me and everyone that was on the team during those years.”
In addition to the championship Jarrett earned in 1999, RYR amassed an impressive 57 wins, including three in the Daytona 500.
As the series returns to Darlington for the 68th Southern 500, the chance to honor Yates will be a special one for crew chief Billy Scott.
“It’s really an honor to race a paint scheme that has so much history,” Scott said. “Robert Yates Racing gave me my first job in the NASCAR Cup Series, so to take our No. 10 Ford Fusion to Darlington in tribute of Robert and all that he’s accomplished makes me extremely proud.”
Ford Motor Credit Company is the financial services arm of Ford Motor Company. The brand was first seen on a NASCAR racecar in 1994 when it sponsored Elton Sawyer in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The sponsorship was very successful, so much so that in 1996 it expanded into the NASCAR Cup Series, which allowed RYR to become a two-car team.
Jarrett ran the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford paint scheme from 1996 through 2000, earning 20 wins, nine poles and leading more than 5,000 laps. That tally includes wins at Darlington in the 1997 and 1998 TranSouth Financial 400.
“We are very proud of our part in the heritage of NASCAR and particularly the success of RYR,” said Dale Jones, Ford Credit executive vice president of the Americas. “The Ford Credit throwback paint scheme brings back great memories of victory at the racetrack. We are thrilled that Danica will be in the driver’s seat representing that history.”
The 1.366-mile Darlington track and its Labor Day race weekend host “The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR” when the industry honors the sport’s history. The Southern 500 can be seen live on NBCSN beginning at 6 p.m. EDT and heard live on MRN Radio.