(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

NASCAR & Auto Club Speedway to Honor Kobe Bryant

This weekend at Auto Club Speedway, several NASCAR Cup Series teams are reported to run special paint schemes as a tribute to the late multi-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, 41, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 outside of Los Angeles, Calif. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other occupants also died in the accident.

The No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro of William Byron will run a special purple and gold scheme with sponsor Axalta on board. No. 24 was one of Bryant’s jersey numbers while he was with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ryan Blaney will also run a tribute scheme with sponsor BodyArmor on his No. 12 Ford Mustang. Bryant himself was an investor of BodyArmor before his passing. Blaney met Bryant one time prior to the accident through their BodyArmor connection.

Aside from these tribute paint schemes, other drivers are paying tribute to the late NBA icon in other ways. The No. 96 Toyota Camry Driver Daniel Suarez will wear specially designed gloves and shoes carrying both of the jersey numbers Bryant used in his NBA career, Nos. 8 and 24.

Richard Childress Racing Driver Tyler Reddick will include a memorial No. 8 sticker on the B-post of his No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro.

Auto Club Speedway will also pay tribute to Bryant by painting his No. 24 in the tri-oval grass area, mentioning Bryant and the crash victims during invocation, having a memorial display for fans to write on and sending donations to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.

With Auto Club Speedway being located not too far from Los Angeles, the race weekend will be an uplifting time for NBA and NASCAR fans alike with these tributes at the track.

The Auto Club 400 is scheduled to run Sunday, March 1, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

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Jesse is a passionate, 25-year-old motorsports nut originally from Western NY, now residing in Knoxville, TN. Growing up in the NY/Ontario dirt racing scene, his resume includes accomplishments both behind the wheel and behind the mic as an announcer. Jesse's main musical tastes are progressive metal, post-rock, and jazz. He enjoys playing drums, piano, working out, walking his dog, and studying motorsports history in his spare time.

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