Sam Mayer Bringing The Gray Ghost To Hickory

Sam Mayer will throw back to the Gray Ghost during the CARS Tour Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway.

HICKORY, N.C. – Fifteen-year-old CARS Tour rookie Sam Mayer will bring one of the most iconic paint schemes in NASCAR history to the Throwback 276, as he carries the famed Ranier Racing Gray Ghost colors at Hickory Motor Speedway Aug. 3-4.

The paint scheme got its name thanks to its black-and-gray color scheme, which blended with the racing surface and seemed to appear out of nowhere. Buddy Baker drove the Gray Ghost to victory in the 1980 Daytona 500, at a race-record pace of 177.602 mph that still stands today.

Baker also won at Talladega Superspeedway that season. He was led by crew chief Waddell Wilson, who was part of the inaugural Throwback 276 last August, during both victories.

Notably, the Gray Ghost paint scheme is also the all-time favorite of Mayer’s car owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was scheduled to pilot a Gray Ghost throwback scheme in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in Sept. of 2016 before having to sit out of the seat due to a concussion and subsequent recovery.

Earnhardt finally got to run the scheme at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway last October thanks to a fan vote conducted through social media by Earnhardt’s longtime sponsor, Nationwide.

In his first season driving for JR Motorsports, Mayer’s connection to the famed colors comes through late team owner Harry Ranier’s son Lorin Ranier, who works with Mayer as a driver coach and mentor.

“The idea to run this paint scheme actually came from Lorin, because it was his family’s car back when the Gray Ghost colors first came out on it,” noted Mayer. “We heard that we needed a throwback paint scheme for this race and Lorin thought it would be a great one to do … seeing as how it’s my first year at JR Motorsports and it’s Dale’s favorite paint scheme.

“It’s a really historic car and I’m really honored to be able to race it at Hickory next weekend, especially because that track was also really important to Dale’s career early on,” Mayer added. “It would be really cool to be able to put it in victory lane for him and continue the Gray Ghost’s history with another win.”

Mayer enters the Throwback 276 seventh in the CARS Late Model Stock drivers’ points, tied with teammate Josh Berry, on the strength of two top-five and five top-10 finishes in eight starts.

He charged from 19th to seventh in the CARS Tour event at Hickory on May 5.

The CARS Tour Throwback 276 is being taped in association with Pit Row Media and the tape-delayed broadcast will air on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on MAVTV as part of Suzuki presents SPEED SPORT. The event will also be live streamed on CARS Tour TV by Pit Row Media on Aug. 3-4.

Marketing opportunities are available for the CARS Tour Throwback 276 on Suzuki presents SPEED SPORT on MAVTV. Please contact Chad Markel at [email protected] or John McMillan at [email protected] for more information.

Tickets for the Throwback 276 weekend are now on sale at by clicking the advertisement banner located on the right side of the page. Tickets are $15 for Friday, Aug. 3 and are available at the gate only. Event tickets for Saturday, Aug. 4 are $17 in advance or $25 at the gate. A special two-day ticket can be purchased in advance for $30. Fans cans can also watch the race live by visiting

The Throwback 276 Mega Pack which includes a free pit pass for both days, general admission tickets to both days, Throwback 276 hat, Throwback 276 shirt, and Throwback 276 spotters guide paint scheme poster is just $76 in advance only and limited to just the first 138 fans who purchase the package.