NASCAR driver William Byron will be driving the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro during Sunday's Auto Club 400, which he will use to honor the memory of Kobe Bryant. Byron's car will feature a purple and yellow tribute paint scheme. However, the flames that have often been seen on the No. 24 Camaro will not be present.
According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, the choice to omit the flames from the tribute paint scheme was done out of respect for those that died in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash. Axalta, the company that designed the scheme, wanted to properly honor the victims.
Instead of featuring flames on the side of the vehicle, the No. 24 Camaro will simply have one yellow curved stripe that starts at the front fender and ends by the Axalta logo. This stripe will also run through a bright yellow 24 that represents both Byron and Bryant.
"Suddenly the idea of flames really didn't make sense after all. I really didn't think about that. Yikes," one fan commented on Twitter. Several others mentioned that they had not considered any possible issues with the flames, but they were now happy with the decision.
In addition to revealing the reason for the lack of flames, Stern also reported that Axalta will be making a donation to After-School All-Stars, a non-profit organization with which Bryant was involved. Bryant served as a national ambassador for After-School All-Stars, and he often provided tickets to Lakers games and scholarships to summer basketball camps. Bryant also took part in fundraisers for the organization.
Those that want to have their own version of the Bryant tribute paint scheme now have the opportunity. There are several diecast versions of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro, all of which feature the purple and yellow paint. Lionel Racing offers different sizes that range in price from $7.99-102.99, and a portion of the proceeds from these sales will be donated to After-School All-Stars.
With the NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 taking place on Sunday, March 1, the anticipation is building for many more possible Bryant tributes. Both Byron and Ryan Blaney have unveiled their tribute paint schemes, and fans are hoping to see even more in the coming days.0comments
"#NASCAR is so awesome with these tributes to #KobeBryant," a fan commented on Wednesday. Another agreed, saying that it's a truly special sport.
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