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      Rainbow returns: No. 24 brings back iconic scheme at Darlington

      ©Phil Cavali Photography

      With a paint scheme honoring Jeff Gordon’s famous ride from the 1990s, William Byron piloted the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet to a 35th-place finish at the Southern 500 on Labor Day Weekend when his race ended in the closing laps because of engine trouble.

      Designed for Darlington’s fourth throwback weekend under the theme “Seven Decades of NASCAR,” the No. 24 was voted Best in Show by fans prior to Sunday’s race.

      “[The engine] just blew up, but we had a pretty solid day going,” said Byron, who ran as high as fifth early in the race. “I felt like our car was capable of finishing probably 10th or 11th, which was kind of where we were running. Overall some good positives at a tough racetrack, but I definitely wanted to finish this one. The car looked awesome and we will keep working hard.”

      Byron, Gordon and artist Sam Bass revealed the design back in May with an original painting from Bass titled “Hot Southern Night.” Bass has designed all but one of the primary Axalta schemes for the 24 and 88 cars.

      Gordon, whose six wins rank as the most victories at Darlington, debuted Bass’ original rainbow paint scheme in the 1992 season finale and raced under the colors through the 1990s before bringing back the design one last time in his final full-time season in 2015.

      Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag at Darlington for his first victory of the season.