All three of NASCAR‘s top series will be active Mother’s Day weekend for a trip to Darlington Raceway. The Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series will all compete during Throwback Weekend, a special schedule honoring drivers and schemes from history. One Truck Series driver, Tyler Ankrum, is going in a different direction with an incredible “Talladega Nights” scheme.
The 20-year-old driver unveiled the design on Tuesday while quoting Will Ferrell’s character, Ricky Bobby. He wore the firesuit from the movie, albeit with a different sponsor name on the front. Liuna replaced Wonder bread while keeping with the same color scheme. The design even featured the flames on the sleeves.
“Did that blow your mind? Because that just happened!”
– Ricky Bobby
Our @LIUNA No. 26 #NASCARThrowback is from one of my favorite @NASCAR movies, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. #NCWTS #NASCAR #LiftKits4Less200 #LIUNA #YourWorkforceSolution #ShakeNBake pic.twitter.com/wNvtCIM4bs
— Tyler Ankrum (@TylerAnkrum) April 27, 2021
The No. 26 Liuna Chevrolet Silverado will also undergo a change to fit with the vehicle. The design won’t be a perfect one-to-one recreation due to the vehicle differences, but it will feature the flames on the side, as well as the Wonder bread color scheme.
Ankrum did not reveal if he will quote any of the lines from “Talladega Nights” while competing on Throwback Weekend, but he will be in contention for a top finish. The 20-year-old is currently in his third full-time Truck Series season and has one win on his resume. He has not reached Victory Lane in 2021 but has a top-five finish in the first six races, placing third at Richmond Raceway.
‘Talladega Nights’ has a unique place in NASCAR history
Released in 2006, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” followed Ferrell in the role of the titular character as he makes the rise from pit crew member to extremely popular NASCAR driver. The comedy shows Bobby’s time at the height of his popularity, as well a crash that robs him of his sponsors, race car, and family.
In order to make “Talladega Nights” fit within the mid-2000s NASCAR world, the film featured several real-world figures and cars. Larry McReynolds, Mike Joy, Darrel Waltrip, and Jamie McMurray all appeared in the film as if it was just another race day broadcast. Additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. portrayed himself early in the film while trying to get Bobby’s autograph.
The 15-time Most Popular Driver originally filmed multiple scenes, including one where he confronts Ferrell’s character in the garage in search of his $30. Additionally, Greg Biffle and Casey Mears also showed up for some of the deleted scenes.
Ankrum is not the first driver to highlight the NASCAR movie
Since the release of “Talladega Nights” in 2006, the NASCAR community has continued to embrace the comedy. One driver, in particular, has actually referenced the film multiple times during his career. 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Busch unveiled a special “Talladega Nights” paint scheme in 2012 for a race at Talladega Nights. This design featured the “ME” scheme from the film’s final race, and Busch even went through tech inspection with a stuffed cougar in the back of the race car.
One year later, Busch returned to Talladega with another special paint scheme. He donned the white Wonder bread firesuit and raced around the 2.66-mile oval in his own version of Bobby’s car while promoting the return of the bread brand. Busch also ran a “Days of Thunder” paint scheme in another 2013 race.
“We’re all doing this for a good reason and that is the relaunch of the brand,” Busch said at the time, per Sporting News. “Wonder bread is back. It’s fun to have a black racecar all year long painted white. It’s a big difference. It’s a big look. It’s exciting. The fans know that the ‘Talladega Nights’ movie is part of the way of life at the track.”
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