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Dale Earnhardt Jr. throws back with Valvoline for Southern 500

Dale Jr

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who once hosted the TV show “Back in the Day,” will race in the Southern 500 with a paint scheme that could have appeared on it.

Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet will be branded by Valvoline motor oil for the Sept. 6 race and pays homage to cars driven in the early-1980s by Cale Yarborough, Ron Bouchard, Neil Bonnett and Buddy Baker.

“I love the history of the sport and really enjoy paint schemes from the past,” said Earnhardt in a team release. “To be able to run a car inspired by many of my racing idols is pretty special. Valvoline has been involved in NASCAR for a long time, and it’s awesome they wanted to do a program like this at Darlington.”

Hendrick Motorsports entered into a four-year partnership with Valvoline in September 2013 and the Southern 500 represents its first time as a primary sponsor of the No. 88.

Earnhardt has never won at Darlington in the Sprint Cup Series, but Hendrick has won there 14 times, the first coming in 1986 with Tim Richmond.

“I remember our first Southern 500 win back in 1986,” owner Rick Hendrick said in the release. “It was an incredible era that featured some amazingly talented drivers, and it’s exciting to see Valvoline recognize them with this paint scheme. We’re extremely proud of our partnership and delighted to see it grow with this program.”

Earnhardt’s paint scheme for the Sept. 6 race on NBC joins those of Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin.

A limited-edition die cast replica of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Valvoline Chevrolet SS will be available in participating Wal-Mart stores across the United States beginning on Aug. 31.

Follow @DanielMcFadin