Racer William Byron Reveals 'Days of Thunder'-Inspired Color Scheme
By Geoff Magliocchetti
William Byron feels the need for speed every weekend. Fortunately enough, another classic Tom Cruise film is able to provide a throwback aesthetic to accompany the Top Gun-inspired mantra.
On Thursday, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and his team unveiled a paint scheme inspired by the film Days of Thunder. The 1990 drama stars Cruise as Cole Trickle, a young auto racer seeking to make a name for himself on the NASCAR circuit.
The car will run during the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 1. The race in Myrtle Beach, SC has become known as a “throwback” week on the Cup Series circuit. Many cars often don retro paint schemes that hold a special connection to the driver, team, or sponsor. Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet decided to adopt the design of the yellow and green car sponsored by City Chevrolet driven by Cruise’s character in the movie. City Chevrolet is an actual auto dealership based in Charlotte, NC and is owned by No. 24 team owner Rick Hendrick.
To make the announcement, Byron and his crew partially reenact a scene from the beginning of the film where characters portrayed by Robert Duvall and Randy Quaid introduce the hotshot Trickle. Most of those lines are given to Chad Knaus, Byron’s crew chief. Byron, of course, steps into Cruise’s racing shoes and later dons the City Chevrolet cap Cruise dons throughout the movie. The reenactment is made in front of “Trickle’s” No. 46 car.
Further looks at the car, as well as photo parodying the movie’s poster, were shared by Byron and his team, Hendrick Motorsports, on Instagram.
Byron, 21, was born seven after Days of Thunder‘s release. He is currently the youngest full-time driver on the Cup Series circuit and sits in 12th place in the standings.
This isn’t the first time NASCAR has turned to movie magic for an on-track look. Fellow Cup series competitor Kurt Busch previously drove a similar City Chevrolet look during an Xfinity Series (one level below Cup) event at Daytona International Speedway in 2013. Busch also drove cars inspired by the NASCAR comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby on the Cup circuit in 2012 and 2013.