TBT: Dale Earnhardt pays tribute to Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996

Dale Earnhardt ran a special patriotic paint scheme for the 1996 Winston, paying tribute to the 100th Olympic Games in Atlanta.

RacingOne/ISC Archives via Getty Images

The late Dale Earnhardt is largely credited with creating the special paint scheme craze that began in NASCAR in 1995 and continues more or less to this day.


Earnhardt’s first and most famous special paint scheme was the silver No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet he ran in the 1995 Winston — what we now know as the Sprint All-Star Race — to honor the silver anniversary of R.J. Reynolds’ involvement in NASCAR.

But for this Throwback Thursday, we turn to the car The Intimidator ran in the ’96 Winston — a patriotic paint scheme paying tribute to the 100th running of the Olympic Games. And in 1996, Atlanta was the host city for the Summer Olympics. 

In the ’96 Winston, Earnhardt finished third behind second-place Rusty Wallace and winner Michael Waltrip, who scored a huge upset to put the Wood Brothers Ford in Victory Lane.