Spectators at Hickory Motor Speedway may have to do a double take Saturday night when race cars take the track for the third annual CARS Tour “Throwback 276 presented by Baker Distributing.” One of them will look a whole lot like the car NASCAR legend Ernie Irvan drove in the early 1990s.
Behind the wheel of the yellow No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet will be Jared Irvan, Ernie’s 21-year-old son. Normally a participant in the Pro All Stars Series, the Concord native and current resident of Ocala, Florida, is set to honor his father on the same night Ernie is recognized for his contributions to the sport by racing in the Super Late Models division.
“They try to get everybody to run a throwback scheme, and this seemed like the right scheme to run,” said Jared, who has been racing since he was about 5 years old.
“We usually run every weekend in our own car, we’ll run a black and orange No. 28 similar to his old Havoline car,” he continued. “But something this close to what he actually raced isn’t typical. … It’s really exciting to see out on the race track, it kind of brings you back to 1991.”
Currently a student at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida, where he’s also pursuing his pilot’s license, Jared admitted he hasn’t “raced a whole lot this year, but we’ve had some strong runs.” That includes a second-place finish at Richmond in the PASS Tour.
“We just need to race a little bit more,” he said.
Jared knows Saturday night's race will be far from a cakewalk. He is familiar with Hickory Motor Speedway, but hasn’t had much success there.
“I like Hickory,” said Jared. “We haven’t really run very strong there in the past, but we went out there and tested Thursday and I think we’ve got a pretty strong car for this weekend. Definitely one of the main things that you’ve got to learn to do at Hickory is get over the bumps and not upset the car too much.
“It’s definitely a rough race track, but I think that adds a lot of character,” he added.
Rough race track or not, Jared is hoping to accomplish one thing this weekend.
“Hopefully I can bring home a win,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”
Following Saturday night's Fan Fest event with Ernie and five other racing legends at 6 p.m., the Throwback 276 will begin with a 138-lap Super Late Models race followed by a 138-lap Late Model Stock event. The green flag is scheduled for 8 p.m.