The CARS Tour Throwback 276 allows racers to pay tribute to some of their racing heroes with vintage designs on their race cars for the event at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC). However, those heroes often aren’t waiting in victory lane if you happen to win the race.
That was the case Saturday for Ryan Repko, who capped off his first career CARS Late Model Stock Tour win by sharing winner’s circle with Dave Marcis.
Marcis, a five-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series over a storied career spanning five decades, was one of the CARS Tour’s guests of honor at the third-annual event. Repko paid homage to Marcis by designing his Late Model Stock car in Marcis’ Realtree No. 71 livery from the 1990s.
Repko started second in the 138-lap feature, taking the lead on lap 11 from pole-sitter Josh Berry. Throughout the race, Repko’s greatest threat came from Craig Moore, sporting a Stroker Ace design on his car.
With 27 laps to go, Repko would pass “Stroker Ace” for the final time, pulling away over the course of the green-flag run for a massive win on his resume.
“I would say it’s the biggest win of my career,” Repko told Speed51. “The most memorable, for sure. It’s an honor to be able to honor Dave Marcis and run his throwback paint scheme. Any win here is special, there’s a lot of history at this place. I’m really thankful to get my first CARS Tour win here.”
Even more special than getting his first CARS Tour win was sharing the celebration with Marcis in victory lane. Marcis was the first to greet Repko after he stopped his car, and the two shared laughs and photos during the post-race presentations.
In many of the photos, Marcis donned the open-face helmet given to Repko as the winner’s trophy for the race, while Repko wore Marcis’ signature Goodyear hat.
“It was fun,” said Repko. “The helmet fit him pretty good!
“I’m sure anybody here would trade places with me,” added Repko. “That’s a really cool thing. Not a lot of people can say that. It just makes the win that much more special.”
When Marcis was invited to Saturday’s race, he was unaware one of the cars in the race would be designed in his honor. Being surprised with the car, followed by meeting Repko and then watching him win, made the evening equally memorable for him.
“It’s really cool,” said Marcis. “I don’t know how you could plan it any better. It’s great. It’s hard to explain.
“I didn’t even know there was going be a No. 71 car with Realtree on it here tonight, until I got here. I went down right away and introduced myself to [Repko] and talked to him.
“I asked where he ended up [in qualifying] and he said second. He said ‘I wanted to win the pole, so you could sign the plaque.’ So I said, ‘Just go win the race and I’ll sign the checkered flag,’ and he went and won the race.”
Marcis spoke highly of Repko from his introduction to him at Hickory.
“He seems like a very nice young man, no doubt about it,” said Marcis. “A very respectable person and very polite.”
Perhaps the only thing missing from Repko’s vintage performance was another Marcis staple – wingtip shoes. Marcis wore the fashionable footwear even in the racecar, even later in his career as specially-designed driving shoes became the norm.
Repko stuck with his trusty racing gear for the win, and after Saturday’s win, it’ll be hard to convince him otherwise.
“I said I’d wear [wingtips] if it made me win,” said Repko. “I wore my Alpinestars and I ended up winning, so it will be hard to talk me into that now.”
Race fans who missed Saturday’s Throwback 276 can click here to view Trackside Now updates from the race.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
|17||7||Justin T. Carroll|
|23||14||Terry Brooks, Jr.|