The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will celebrate Throwback Weekend on Saturday, May 7, at Darlington Raceway. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs will have one of two special schemes for the Mahindra ROXOR 200, but only the fans will decide which one.
Interstate Batteries, Gibbs’ partner for Throwback Weekend, announced on April 4 that the fans will be able to select the scheme for the No. 54 Toyota Supra. The first option is the “Shark” scheme that Bobby Labonte used during the 2002 Cup Series season. The second is JJ Yeley‘s “Bolt” scheme from the 2007 Cup Series season.
Gibbs will showcase one of these two schemes on the No. 54 Toyota Supra during only his second-ever Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway. His only other start at The Lady in Black took place in 2021 when he ran a part-time season for JGR. Gibbs started 29th overall and finished 18th while JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier won the race in a throwback Good Humor Ice Cream scheme.
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Labonte Took the ‘Shark’ to Victory Lane
The 2002 season featured Interstate Batteries as Labonte’s primary partner for every race on the schedule. He drove the No. 18 Pontiac with the green and black scheme, and he achieved some success.
Labonte, who won the Cup Series championship in 2000, did not turn in a dominant 2002 season, but he did take the “Shark” to Victory Lane. He captured the first race at Martinsville Speedway after leading 61 of the 500 scheduled laps.
Labonte brought the Interstate Batteries scheme back for the 2003 season, and he won the final two races of his career. He captured the first race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and then he won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway before ending the year eighth in the championship standings.
If the fans select this “Shark” scheme, there is a scenario where it returns to Victory Lane for the first time in two decades. Gibbs already has three wins in the first seven races of the 2022 Xfinity Series season, and it’s likely that he will add more during his first full-time season.
Yeley Spent 2 Full-Time Cup Series Seasons With JGR
The Arizona native in Yeley has started 334 races during his Cup Series career with a total of eight top-10 finishes and two top-fives. This run includes two full-time seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing (2006-2007) in the Cup Series in which Interstate Batteries served as his primary partner. Yeley also ran full-time in the Xfinity Series for JGR in 2005 and 2006.
The 2007 season, which heavily featured the “Bolt” scheme, was the best of Yeley’s career. He tied his career-high with three top-10 finishes, and he posted the first top-five of his career by finishing second overall in the Coca-Cola 600 behind Casey Mears. Yeley also won the lone Pole Award of his Cup Series career by posting the fastest lap time at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, 2007.
The 2007 season was Yeley’s final with Joe Gibbs Racing. The team announced during the season that it would switch to Toyota after working with Chevrolet and that Yeley would not return to the No. 18. JGR ultimately replaced him with Kyle Busch, who took over in 2008 and won eight times.
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