Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed the paint scheme for the No. 88 Chevy he will campaign in 2017 for Nationwide insurance. The car was unveiled Tuesday at Hendrick Motorsports.
The insurance sponsor has been with Earnhardt since 2014; they were a primary sponsor in 2015 for 12 races, 13 races in 2016, and are scheduled for 13 races in 2017. Earnhardt missed most of the second half of the 2016 season as he recovered from concussion symptoms. He’s expected to return full time in 2017.
The car features a white base coat with Nationwide blue panels and an “RPM bar” banded around the rocker panels. The familiar stylized metallic silver No. 88 adorned both doors.
“I like to keep the car understandable,” Earnhardt Jr. said after the car was unveiled. “When you decal a car, you have a lot of contingency decals on it, the number, associate sponsors and things like that, so the scheme itself, I like it to be understandable once you get all the decals on it. The RPM bar was something that [crew chief] Greg Ives came up with and he’s really excited about it.
“The Nationwide blue is always great, looks really good on the track and will show up on TV. I loved the silver and blue we ran last year, but that silver would blend into the track and it was difficult for the spotters as well. TJ [Majors, spotter] will love this car, he’ll be able to see this car coming a mile away and so will the fans.”
The car was shown to the world via a Facebook live session hosted by Earnhardt and Jim McCoy, director of sports marketing for Nationwide.
“Similar to last year, we worked closely with Dale to create this year’s paint scheme,” McCoy said. “We value our partnership and long history with Dale. That trust allows us to collaborate on important decisions like the paint scheme. It’s a good-looking car, a very good collaborative effort between Greg, Dale and the rest of the team, and I think the fans, JR Nation, are absolutely going to love it. It is going to look fast on the race track.”
Earnhardt Jr., a student of the sport and very involved in the paint schemes he drives, said the idea was a team-wide collaboration.
“This is an idea that my team and I pulled together,” Earnhardt Jr. said at the unveiling. “It’s a blend of my personal influence and Nationwide’s influence and the team’s influence, even the fans sometimes. It’s had some influence from lots of friends of mine. We presented it to Nationwide and they had their ideas, and made their changes to it.”
Also revealed was a six-episode “docuseries” that will premiere on the Nationwide 88 Facebook and Twitter pages in January 2017. Called “Unfinished Business,” the six-part docuseries will chronicle Earnhardt Jr.’s offseason and the preparation for his return to the car in Daytona this February.
The docuseries will give JR Nation a rare behind-the-scenes look at what goes into getting Earnhardt Jr. ready for the NASCAR season, including the design of the Nationwide 88 Chevrolet SS paint scheme, Dale’s helmet and fire suit, the training of the No. 88 pit crew and the relentless dedication required to prepare the No. 88 team for the upcoming season. Interviews with Earnhardt Jr., his fiancée Amy Reimann, Ives, team owner Rick Hendrick and others will be included, and in addition, fans will get a sneak peek into what goes on during a commercial shoot.