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Aric Almirola takes the No. 43 back to 1972 for Southern 500


Anyone nervous that Richard Petty Motorsports wouldn’t take part in the retro paint scheme bonanza for next weekend’s Southern 500, can rest easy. “The King” hasn’t let you down.

When Aric Almirola’s No. 43 arrives at Darlington Speedway for the Sept. 6 race broadcast on NBC, it will look just like Richard Petty’s No. 43 Plymouth/Dodge from 1972.

That was the first of 21 years that STP sponsored Petty until his retirement, backing the seven-time Sprint Cup champion during 60 of his 200-career wins.

“When you think throwback racing, you think STP and ‘The King’,” said Almirola in a team release. “It’s really special to drive a car with so much history and such an iconic car of that time. The 1972 paint scheme was very popular, and it will be really cool to drive in a race that embraces the history of our sport. I know we’ll have a lot of fans cheering on that ‘Petty Blue’ and Day-Glo Red Ford, which is really exciting.”

As part of the celebration of NASCAR’s history, Petty will be joined by crew members from his 1972 championship season, which included eight wins and a third-place finish in the Southern 500.

Petty will be accompanied by crew chief Dale Inman, fabricator Richie Barsz, mechanic and Jackman Tex Powell, mechanic and transporter driver Les Barsz, mechanic and gas man Billy Biscoe, fabricator and tire carrier Jimmy “Zoomer” Kovalchik, and painter Barry Dodson.

“It will be neat to see the car that started our partnership with STP 43 years ago back on track at Darlington,” said Petty. “It will be fun to see all the throwback schemes racing at Darlington and on Labor Day Weekend. It just feels right to have the Southern 500 back to Labor Day Weekend and is fitting that we celebrate tradition there with throwback paint schemes.”

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