NASCAR is returning to Los Angeles for one race during the 2020 season, which will take place days after Kobe Bryant's memorial service at Staples Center. William Byron, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, will be honoring the Los Angeles Lakers great during this race. He will reportedly have a Bryant tribute paint scheme on his Chevrolet.
According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, Byron drives the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro. This just happens to be the same number that Bryant wore during the latter half of his 20-year NBA career.
The exact paint scheme has not been revealed as of Monday, but there is an expectation that purple and yellow will be heavily involved. Byron generally drives a dark blue vehicle with red, orange, and yellow flames.
Stern also revealed that there are expected to be several tributes to Bryant during Sunday's Auto Club 400. NASCAR only has one race in Los Angeles this season, and the teams are ensuring that they properly honor the late NBA icon over the course of the weekend. The plans are unknown, but Stern reports that there could be multiple paint schemes honoring Bryant.
The first glimpse of these schemes could be provided on Feb. 28, when the drivers take to the track for their practice laps. This will be their opportunity to test out the Auto Club Speedway and prepare for qualifying laps, and it will also put any Bryant tributes on full display.
The Auto Club 400 is taking place earlier in the NASCAR season after a massive shake-up of the race schedule. The organization announced the changes in an effort to create some excitement for the upcoming year of racing. Moving the Auto Club 400 from mid-March to the first day of the month was part of this shuffle.
"NASCAR worked with its race tracks and broadcast partners to create the most dynamic 2020 schedule for its fans. We’re excited that NASCAR will again make its only Southern California stop at Auto Club Speedway and we will continue to work on our end to provide unmatched entertainment and racing excitement for our fans during the Auto Club 400 next year and beyond," Auto Club Speedway President Dave Allen said.0comments
With the Auto Club 400 taking place earlier in the season, the race will take place mere days after Bryant's memorial service at Staples Center. The NASCAR drivers were unable to attend due to previous obligations in Las Vegas, but they will be paying tribute on Mar. 1.
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