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Smith’s TMC Throwback Scheme Started Life as a Sprint Car

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 8, 2024) -- Sammy Smith's No. 8 TMC Chevrolet that will race this weekend at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway will carry a paint scheme that first saw light in 1977…on a sprint car.

The all-black scheme for Saturday's race carries Smith’s No. 8 in beautiful gold-prism numbers very similar to the graphics in the logo of TMC, the largest employee-owned flat-bed trucking company in the country founded by Harrold Annett.


The scheme represents the livery worn by the famed Mickow Sprinter and driven by Mike Brooks that won the 1980 track championship at the legendary Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway.


In 1977, when Annett and Brooks first campaigned the all-black sprinter, Annett had the car's No. 12 painted in gold leaf…which promptly blew off in its first race. Annett commissioned Red Crawford to solve that problem, and the gold-prism decal scheme was born. The following year, Brooks drove the car to third in the Knoxville point standings, winning three features and earning a top-10 starting position in the prestigious Knoxville Nationals.


After an injury to Brooks slowed the team in 1979, Annett and Brooks rebounded for 1980, with two new engines from legendary builder Wayne House. After some teething problems with the new powerplants and a new driveshaft-rear end combo, Brooks went on a tear, winning eight feature races—including four in a row—and a twin-feature sweep in which he won the second from the tail of the field.


The end result was a track championship at Knoxville by a whopping 245 points over National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Eddie Leavitt. At the Nationals that year, Brooks set a track record in qualifying and scored a perfect 500 in points to earn the pole for the prestigious event. That put him in position to be the first local winner of the Nationals.


However, fog postponed the main until Sunday afternoon, and Brooks led the first 13 laps before his right rear tire gave up. Steve Kinser, who would go on to win a record 12 Knoxville Nationals, earned his first victory that day, despite crashing in his qualifying event on Wednesday and climbing aboard another car the following night to make the main event.


Following the 1980 race, track officials vowed never to race the final event in daylight and also changed the qualifying rules to keep drivers from competing in multiple qualifying nights.


The events of 1980 caused Annett to take some time off from weekly racing at Knoxville. Returning in 1985, Brooks and the team won the opening winged sprint car feature and finished second in points to Randy Smith.

The Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and will be televised on FS1.


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