It’s theme week for Fox Sports’ coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series. Four days after the announcement of the Hall of Fame class led by Matt Kenseth, the network’s booth at Darlington Raceway will include three HOFers working in shifts as analysts for the Goodyear 400, which undoubtedly has some future inductees in the field.
As far as throwback weekends go, the network couldn’t have done much better than bringing Richard Petty, Bobby Labonte, and Bill Elliott into the booth to share stories and observations.
Richard Petty, Bobby Labonte, and Bill Elliott will split the workload
Fox Sports revealed last weekend at Dover that it will use a trio of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees on coverage of the Cup Series race Sunday at Darlington Raceway.
Richard Petty, Bobby Labonte, and Bill Elliott, winners of a combined 265 races in the sport’s top series, will take turns alongside announcer Mike Joy and analyst Clint Bowyer. Petty will work the opening stage, Labonte will take the second stage, and Elliott will bring the telecast to the checkered flag.
Petty earned induction into the Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 2010. Elliott went in with the 2015 group, followed five years later by Labonte.
Tying it together, all three of the booth guests are former Darlington race winners. Elliott scored five victories there, including a pair of Southern 500s. Petty (three wins overall) and Labonte (one) also triumphed in the Southern 500, long regarded as just a notch behind the Daytona 500 in prestige.
Darlington has been special for Richard Petty and Bill Elliott
The throwback theme at Darlington has generated a lot of chatter already as the teams racing this weekend unveiled their wrap-scheme tributes to stars of the past. Darlington will be heavy into nostalgia throughout the weekend.
Richard Petty’s appearance will mark the 55th anniversary season of one of the most dominating performances in the history of the Cup Series. Competing in the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend in 1967, Petty led 345 of the 364 laps. David Pearson (12 laps), Buddy Baker (6), and Donnie Allison (1) made brief appearances out front, but the day belonged to Petty.
Winning the 1985 Southern 500 was lucrative for Elliott and earned him another nickname to go along with the always popular “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville.” Elliott rolled into town that weekend having already won that season’s Daytona 500 and Talladega 500. Having been an also-ran in the Coca-Cola 500, he needed a victory at Darlington to secure a $1 million bonus that was up for grabs for anyone taking three of the four big events.
After starting the day from the pole, Elliott passed Cale Yarborough with just over 40 laps to go and stayed out front the rest of the way to score the win, collect the check, and earn the title of “Million Dollar Bill.”