CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte driver participating in a NASCAR race this weekend will drive the No. 24 car with a custom purple and gold paint job to honor the life of late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant.
Hendrick Motorsports and Axalta are honoring the Lakers legend with the special one-race-only paint scheme on the No. 24 Chevrolet to be driven by William Byron in Sunday’s Auto Club 400. The race takes place Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in January. Auto Club Speedway is just about an hour from Los Angeles, where the five-team NBA champion played with the Lakers for 20 years.
In honor of the victims, Axalta will make a donation to After-School All-Stars, a non-profit organization where Bryant served as a National Ambassador. Proceeds from the sale of die-cast replicas of the car will be donated to After-School All-Stars by Byron, Hendrick Motorsports and collectibles manufacturer Lionel.
Byron shared his thoughts about this weekend’s tribute in an article on Hendrick Motorsports website.
“We continue to pray for all of the families,” Byron said. “It’s humbling to be able to run such a special car, especially in the Los Angeles area. I’m a huge sports fan and followed Kobe’s career really closely like so many other people. He left a legacy that goes beyond basketball and has reached across all of the sports world and into many different communities where he gave back. I’m very happy that Axalta wanted to do this, and I hope to make everyone proud in the No. 24 on Sunday.”
Byron is a 22-year-old Charlotte native in his third season as driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.