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Earnhardt’s Silver Secret

May 18th, 2016

Nowadays, it’s commonplace to see most race teams’ paint schemes change throughout a given season; some teams even rarely go a week sporting the same design.

But that wasn’t always the case. Looking back 20 years ago and beyond, it was rare to change paint schemes at all during the season. But Dale Earnhardt and RCR transformed the sport forever in that respect back in 1995, with a special scheme created for the All-Star Race – one that was kept secret from just about everyone.

The special All-Star design was, in fact, the first time the No. 3 departed from the famous Black Intimidator scheme, which took many by surprise, even those on the No. 3 team itself.051916-earnhardts-silver-secret_article1

For the inside story, we turn to RCR Museum curator Danny “Chocolate” Myers, who was the gas man on RCR’s No. 3 team at the time.

“We were ready to go run the All-Star Race, or back then the Winston Select,” Myers recalled. “We got this car ready to go to the race track and it wasn’t painted yet, it was in primer gray.”

“We finished the car, 100 percent ready to go and right before painting they told us to go home, so we all left,” he said. “They rolled the car into the body shop and painted it that night.”

To a team used to seeing a black No. 3 every week, what rolled out of the hauler at Charlotte Motor Speedway was completely unexpected.

“The first time we saw this car, we were at the race track. We unloaded the car and it was silver!”051916-earnhardts-silver-secret_article2

The paint scheme, now known as the Quicksilver car, was created to honor the silver anniversary of then-Cup Series sponsor RJ Reynolds.

Myers recollected on that weekend: “This was one of the last true secrets in NASCAR. We didn’t even know about it, and we built the car!”

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. affirmed his dad’s trendsetting ways.

“He was a pioneer off the race track in a lot of ways, and that was one of them,” he said. “I’m sure there are guys who can claim to have special paint schemes before that, but he was the one that laid it down and really got that idea in everybody else’s head.”

RCR’s unprecedented paint scheme change set the stage for additional departures from the traditional black No. 3 scheme, including one for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and another designed by artist Peter Max in 2000.

The Quicksilver car is currently on display in the RCR Museum, where it sits alongside many other No. 3 Chevrolets driven by Dale Earnhardt. For more information on visiting the Museum, click here.