Alex Bowman to carry Tim Richmond’s paint scheme at Darlington

Almost 30 years after his death, Tim Richmond remains one of the most popular and fascinating drivers in NASCAR history.

So NASCAR fans applauded Friday when Hendrick Motorsports announced that driver Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet will carry the popular Folgers paint scheme Richmond used during his glory days at Hendrick.

The special throwback paint scheme will be used in the Southern 500 Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway.

The announcement came on what would have been Richmond’s 64th birthday. Bowman shared his thoughts at Michigan International Speedway where the NASCAR Cup series is racing this weekend.

“I was always a big Tim Richmond fan,” Bowman said in a video announcing the news.

“Tim was probably one of the most talented drivers I have ever seen,” team owner Rick Hendrick said in the video. “He could do anything with a car. … Alex reminds me a little bit of Tim in a car. He’s fearless, he likes to drive the car out of control.”

Richmond was one of the most colorful figures in NASCAR history, known for his hard-partying lifestyle that earned him the nickname “Hollywood.” He inspired the fictional character of Cole Trickle, played by Tom Cruise in the 1990 film “Days of Thunder.”

Richmond was also a hard charger on the track, winning 13 of the 185 NASCAR Cup races he entered before illness ended his career.

He died in August 1989 of complications from AIDS, which his family said he contracted from an unknown woman.

But such was Richmond’s legacy that even younger fans, including the 26-year-old Bowman, have heard of his exploits, on and off the track.

“I’ve kind of joked about wanting to do a Tim Richmond throwback as long as I’ve been at Hendrick Motorsports,” Bowman said.

It’s worth noting that the last time Richmond ran the Folgers scheme in a race at Darlington, he won the 1986 Southern 500.

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