Paint Scheme Leaderboard, Week #1-Chevy

By David G. Firestone

Starting this week, and for the next four Fridays, we will rank the paint schemes of all 55 race teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup. I will not grade any paint schemes until these rankings are done, but I will still update the Paint Scheme Tracker on Wednesday. The rankings were determined by the Paint Scheme Ranking Executive Committee, made up of myself, and Alejandro my black cat, though all he did was sleep through the proceedings. First up will be Chevy. I will also add the rank each scheme held last year. Teams that did not exist or run Chevy cars will be marked as NR for Not Ranked..

1-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Rank Last Year: 1st of 19-Classic, smooth looks with no needless clutter. Jimmie always runs great schemes

2-Stewart Haas Racing #4 Rank Last Year: NR-With the exception of Hunt Brothers Pizza, which uses an awful shade of green, Kevin has consistently run a series of great schemes.

3-Stewart Haas Racing #41 Rank Last Year: NR-The Slate scheme does not work, but all the other schemes work very well.

4-Richard Childress Racing #31 Rank Last Year: 13th of 19-A lot of great schemes this year, but Wix is overdone, and the Cat/Quicken Loans hybrid looks awful

5-Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Rank Last Year: 9th of 19- A pink-washing scheme and a terrible shade of green on the WEMO scheme cost this team the 2nd place spot,knocking them down to 5th. They have run a lot of great schemes this season

6-Furniture Row Racing #78 Rank Last Year: 2nd of 19-The World Vision scheme needs work, as the color does not support a fade, but the Furniture Row, and Colorado Freedom Memorial work very well.

7-Hendrick Motorsports #88 Rank Last Year: 8th of 19-National Guard, Mountain Dew, Kickstart, and Superman look good, and work well with the new number design, but Michael Baker, Kelly Blue Book, and Nationwide don’t at all.

8-Chip Ganassi Racing #42 Rank Last Year: 4th of 19-While Cottonelle, the Silver Scheme, and Energizer work very well, but the rest of their schemes are mediocre at best. The white on the back doesn’t work.

9-Beard Oil Racing #75 Rank Last Year: NR-If the sides had a sponsor, and the stripe at the bottom was eliminated, it would work a lot better.

10-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Rank Last Year: NR-While Bush’s, Clorox, Scott’s, Sullivan/Palatek, Kingsford, and Bush’s Grilling Beans work well,Kroger/USO is overdone, Charter Communications uses a horrid shade of green, and Hungry Jack just looks terrible.

11-Hendrick Motorsports #24 Rank Last Year: 14th of 19-Drive to end Hunger is too overdone, and the upside down D on the hood looks terrible. Their orange scheme is even worse. Panasonic is mediocre at best. Pepsi looks good, and all of the Axalta schemes are really good.

12-Hillman Racing #40 Rank Last Year: NR-When the car doesn’t have a scheme, it looks very good. When it has a sponsor it looks awful.

13-HScott Motorsports #52 Rank Last Year: NR-The black scheme is good, but the orange Florida Lottery scheme is a trainwreck. Less is more on a paint scheme.

14-HScott Motorsports #51 Rank Last Year: 5th of 19-If the car is running a Brandt scheme it looks good, anything else looks terrible.

15-Richard Childress Racing #27 Rank Last Year: 6th of 19-Neon yellow looks terrible, when they use the stripes on the sides it looks even worse. The Pittsburgh Paints scheme looks really good though.

16-CircleSport/Richard Childress Racing #33 Rank Last Year: 19th of 19-

17-Tommy Baldwin Racing #37 Rank Last Year: NR-Accell Construction has a great color scheme, but the design scheme ruins it.

18-Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 Rank Last Year:10th of 19-Another example of a team where when the car is unsponsored, it looks better.

19-Stewart Haas Racing #14 Rank Last Year: 7th of 19-The over designing of the Bass Pro Shops schemes, as well as the use of orange and camo just look horrible. Mobil 1, Rush Truck Centers, and Code 3 look decent, but to some extent have issues. Mobil 1 is over designed, Rush uses too dark a yellow, Code 3 uses too bright a yellow.

20-Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Rank Last Year:16th of 19-Allstate Peterbuilt, and Pilot-St Jude Children’s Network work well, as both have good color schemes and design schemes. Anything else just looks awful.

21-Richard Childress Racing #3 Rank Last Year:NR-Cheerios is very good, and has a classic look. Dow schemes have a great color scheme, but have mediocre design. Anything else looks terrible on this car.

22-Germain Racing #13 Rank Last Year:NR-The blue is too bright, as is the yellow. The car is overdesigned, and the whole car looks like a mess. The camo scheme is much worse.

23-Hendrick Motorsports #5 Rank Last Year:17th of 19-The only half decent scheme is Pepsi. Everything else is an over designed mess.

24-Stewart Haas Racing #10 Rank Last Year:14th of 19-The only scheme that doesn’t make my eyes hurt here is Aspen Dental. Terrible shades of orange and green, with ugly design. The pink-washing scheme is terrible.

25-Xxxtreme Motorsports #44 Rank Last Year:NR-Every single one of their cars is an ugly, over-designed mess that doesn’t look good at all.

Next week, we move on to Ford…See you soon!

Paint Scheme Tracker/Paint Scheme Grades-November 20, 2014

By David G. Firestone

After a hectic week getting my computer back up to full speed, I present the final paint scheme grades for 2014…

First the 2015 Schemes

Clint Bowyer # 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same A+ grade.

Now we move on to the final paint scheme grades of 2014.

Reed Sorenson #36 Feed The Children/Dei Fratelli Tomatoes Chevy SS I like the general appearance, and the color scheme is really good for racing. The one thing that bugs me about this scheme is that for no apparent reason, the Dei Fratelli Tomatoes logo is bigger on one quarter panel than the other. It doesn’t look good small. I’ll give it a B+

Justin Allgaier #51 Brandt International Chevy SS I get the map motif of the scheme. The yellow on red would normally be a great color scheme, but this just looks like a jumbled up mess. I do like the flags at the bottom, and the Thai translation of “Professional Agriculture” is a nice touch. I’ll give it a B+

Brent Moffitt #66 X-8 Energy Gum Toyota Camry I like the color scheme, and the overall design is smooth and good, so I’ll give it an A+

Josh Wise #98 PPR98 Ford Fusion-Great color scheme, great smooth design, A+

Now we move on to the 2015 Paint Scheme Tracker, and while Clint Bowyer did release his old scheme from 2014, it still looks amazing on his 2015 Toyota.

2015 Toyota Camry-The first Gen 6 redesign comes to the Camry for 2015. The front is sleeker, with a more aggressive nose, and grill area, the tail has been redesigned as well.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SS-No Change-

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion-Same basic design as 2014, but with no gold stripe, vintage Miller Crest, or hop designs on the side.

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SS-No change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmie Johns Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback Steakhouse-No Change

Kevin Harvick #4 Ditech Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, blue, and white is the primary color scheme

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SS-No Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SS-No Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SS-Complete redesign from last year, black, and dark blue replaces light blue and silver, and the design has been completely revamped.

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford Fusion-New team, new sponsor, red, white and blue is the color scheme.

Danica Patrick #10 Aspen Dental Chevy SS-Same basic design as last year, but the blue ovals on the white are more pronounced.

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy SS-Same color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS-Same color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil1 Chevy SS-No Change

Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry-No Change-

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford Fusion-No change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Home Defense Ford Fusion-New sponsor, white design with a red and yellow stripe on the bottom, with a net design on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Bug-B-Gon Ford Fusion-New sponsor, new design, red, black, and white is the primary color scheme.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion-New primary sponsor, blue, and white is the color scheme.

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry-No change

Carl Edwards #19 Stanley Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, yellow, black, and white is the color scheme.

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt Toyota Camry-New sponsor, black, green, yellow, and white is the color scheme.

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SS-No Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SS-No Change

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion-No change

Paul Menard #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menard’s Chevy SS-No change

Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SS-Same color scheme, but the car as a whole has been redesigned

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SS-No change

Ty Dillion #33 Yuengling Brewery Chevy SS-New sponsor, red, white, and blue is the primary color scheme.

Kurt Busch #41Haas CNC Chevy SS-Same color scheme, but the car has been completely redesigned.

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SS-No change

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford Fusion-No change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SS-No Change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SS-No major changes,except a Nationwide logo replaces the National Guard logo.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SS-Same basic design but blue has replaced white as the primary color.

Requiems for Long Time Sponsors..

By David G. Firestone

As you may have noticed, there was no Paint Scheme Grade article on Saturday. My computer was down for a few days and much of my weekend was spent either fixing it, or watching racing. I’ve got a decent amount of work ahead of me in terms of re-installing things and photographing things, so I will run the Paint Scheme Grades and Paint Scheme Tracker articles next week.

But my thoughts turned to three sponsors who are leaving old posts after many years of service. They are Nationwide Insurance, Home Depot, and Castrol. Each one had a huge impact on the post that they held, and all will be missed.

Nationwide Insurance took over sponsorship of what was the Busch Grand National Series in 2008. This was met with skepticism from fans, who were more loyal to beer than insurance. Also at the time, there was a lot of discord from the fans, as most of the races and all of the championships since 2005 were being won by Sprint Cup drivers. As a direct result, the Busch Series drivers were upset, and fans were not happy. Since they took over the series, it has become a much better series, that has its own brand identity, car design, and championships that Sprint Cup Regulars can win. In addition, Nationwide was very aggressive when it came to marketing, and there was a lot more exposure as such. I can only hope Xfinity, who takes over the series on January 1st can keep this style going.

The second requiem goes to the Home Depot. Two of the smartest moves Joe Gibbs ever did in the Sprint Cup Series was to sign Bobby Labonte in 1995, and Tony Stewart in 1999. When Stewart got to Joe Gibbs he picked up Home Depot as a sponsor. After Stewart left, Joey Logano took over, and after he left, Matt Kenseth took over. 15 years, 35 race wins and two championships later, the ride came to an end after it was announced that Home Depot would be leaving NASCAR as a sponsor after 2014. It will be missed.

The biggest sponsor shockers of 2014 was when Castrol Oil and Ford announced this season that they would stop sponsoring John Force after the end of the 2014 season. This was a sponsorship that started in 1986, when I was 4 years old. Castrol was one season away from tying the record for longest sponsorship in racing for one team. The record is held by Budweiser, who sponsored Kenny and Brandon Bernstein from 1979-2009. Force signed a deal with Castrol in 1986 to sponsor his Oldsmobile Cutlass. He switched to a Chevy Lumina for 1994, and then to a Pontiac Grand Prix from 1995-1996. He then switched to a Ford Mustang from 1997, which he ran until the end of this season.

Losing long time sponsors and partners hurt John Force, and the fact that the announcements came so close to each other made the situation for Force a lot worse, because many within the team began to think that the team would not be able to continue long term. Force was able to get more sponsors, but the manufacturer they will be running next season still remains a mystery. Peak Anti-freeze, Blue-Def, and Lucas Oil will be coming in next season. John Force did lose a few asserts, the most noteworthy was Jimmy Prock, his long time crew chief. I think that he was very shaken up by the announcements, and I think the distraction did cost him the Championship this season.

Before I go, I wanted to share this. I was contacted by JJR Marketing about a Kickstarter project I think sounds really interesting. They are working with long time Kalitta Motorsports crew chief Jim Oberhofer on his new book titled “TOP FUEL: Lessons from a Crew Chief.” They asked for help raising $47,000 by December 3, and I think this sounds like a great read, so you can see the link here.

While there were more things to discuss about the end of the NASCAR and NHRA seasons, I’m going to save them for my end of the year article. I’ve got a lot of things to work on in terms of my computer, so I will fix those, and I will run the Paint Scheme Tracker on Wednesday. See you soon!

Ladies and Gentlemen…THE 2014 PAINT SCHEMIE AWARDS

CIMG1131By David G. Firestone

For the end of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, the Paint Schemies have returned! The Schemies will reveal the best  and worst paint schemes and driver suits of 2014. This was done using the Driver Suit Blog executive committee for paint scheme analysis and consists of me and me alone, and uses the following standards:

Color Scheme:How the colors look, and how they work with each other.

Overall Design:How good the design itself looks, is there too much, or not enough.

Primary Sponsor Logos: How the primary sponsor logos look on the car

Originality: How original is the scheme.

All of the above can work for or against a scheme, and all will be taken into consideration.

Let’s get the bad paint scheme awards out of the way.CIMG1131 - Copy

First, the Paint Schemie Award for Worst Regular Season Single Paint Scheme .

The nominees are:

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS

Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevy SS

Casey Mears #13 Geico Military Chevy SS

Clint Bowyer #15 Duck Commander Toyota Camry

Greg Biffle #16 Hire Our Heroes Ford Fusion

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford Fusion

Parker Kligerman #30 Phoenix Warehouse Toyota Camry

Morgan Shepherd #93 SupportMillitary.org Toyota Camry

Josh Wise #98 Provident Metals Ford Fusion

And the winner of the Paint Schemie Award for Worst Regular Season Single Paint Scheme is…

MORGAN SHEPHERD!

The next Paint Schemie Award is for Exhibition Race Paint Schemes. This category is a little different, as the Schemies will go to the best and worst special scheme that was run in either the Sprint Unlimited, the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint All-Star Race.

The Paint Schemie Award for Worst Exhibition Race Paint Scheme Goes To:

Blake Koch #32 Support Military Ford Fusion!

The paint scheme for worst driver suit goes to…

Joey Logano Auto Trader Ford Fusion

The Schemie for Least Improved Scheme Set from 2013 goes to

Greg Biffle’s #16 Ford Fusion

The next award is for Worst Paint Scheme Set, meaning the team that is running consistently bad schemes all year. The nominees are:

#16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion

#44 Xxxtreme Motorsports Chevy SS

#66 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Camry

The winner of the Award For Worst Scheme Set of 2014 goes to…

Michael Waltrip Racing #66 Toyota Camry!

CIMG1131Now after talking about the bad, we discuss the good. Here are the winners in the best category…

First, the Paint Schemie Award for Best Regular Season Single Paint Scheme.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Hawker Chevy SS

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry

And the winner of the Paint Schemie Award for Best Regular Season Single Paint Scheme is…

JIMMIE JOHNSON!

The next Paint Schemie Award is for Best Exhibition Race Paint Scheme that was run in either the Sprint Unlimited, the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint All-Star Race.

And taking these schemes into consideration, the Paint Scheme Goes To:

Dave Blaney #77 Folcher Law Ford Fusion

The Paint Schemie for Best Driver Suit of 2014 goes to…

JIMMIE JOHNSON!

The Paint Schemie for Most Improved Scheme Set goes to

We have a tie between Swan Racing/BK Racing, and Levine Family Racing, so both win the Schemie!

I will be adding a new category for this year, and it is best throwback scheme. It can be full time or special. The nominees are:

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Terry Labonte #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion

David Ragan #34 Wendell Scott Tribute Ford Fusion

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford Fusion

David Stremme #90 Junie Donlavey Ford Fusion

The winner of the Paint Schemie for Best Throwback Scheme is…

TERRY LABONTE

The final award of 2014 is the Paint Schemie for Best Paint Scheme Set of 2014. The nominees are:

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry

The winner of the Paint Schemie is…

TREVOR BAYNE!

That’s all for the best and worst, now I wanted to do something in the way of a top 10 list, but I wanted to do something differnet. I wanted to do the top to logos that have never been the primary sponsor of a Sprint Cup Car, so here they are:

10: Apple

9: American Airlines

8: United Airlines

7: Lockheed

6: Microsoft

5: Bose

4: Boeing

3: Sprite

2: Fanta

1: Wendy’s

Now that’s all for this week, but stay tuned next week as the Paint Scheme Leaderboard Starts, this time with Chevy! See you soon!

Paint Scheme Tracker-November 15, 2014

By David G. Firestone

Kyle Busch released his 2015 scheme at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. It is done up in a 2015 Toyota Camry, and it looks good!

2015 Toyota Camry-The first Gen 6 redesign comes to the Camry for 2015. The front is sleeker, with a more aggressive nose, and grill area, the tail has been redesigned as well.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SS-No Change-

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion-Same basic design as 2014, but with no gold stripe, vintage Miller Crest, or hop designs on the side.

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SS-No change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmie Johns Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback Steakhouse-No Change

Kevin Harvick #4 Ditech Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, blue, and white is the primary color scheme

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SS-No Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SS-No Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SS-Complete redesign from last year, black, and dark blue replaces light blue and silver, and the design has been completely revamped.

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford Fusion-New team, new sponsor, red, white and blue is the color scheme.

Danica Patrick #10 Aspen Dental Chevy SS-Same basic design as last year, but the blue ovals on the white are more pronounced.

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy SS-Same color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS-Same color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil1 Chevy SS-No Change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford Fusion-No change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Home Defense Ford Fusion-New sponsor, white design with a red and yellow stripe on the bottom, with a net design on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Bug-B-Gon Ford Fusion-New sponsor, new design, red, black, and white is the primary color scheme.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion-New primary sponsor, blue, and white is the color scheme.

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry-No change

Carl Edwards #19 Stanley Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, yellow, black, and white is the color scheme.

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt Toyota Camry-New sponsor, black, green, yellow, and white is the color scheme.

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SS-No Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SS-No Change

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion-No change

Paul Menard #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menard’s Chevy SS-No change

Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SS-Same color scheme, but the car as a whole has been redesigned

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SS-No change

Ty Dillion #33 Yuengling Brewery Chevy SS-New sponsor, red, white, and blue is the primary color scheme.

Kurt Busch #41Haas CNC Chevy SS-Same color scheme, but the car has been completely redesigned.

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SS-No change

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford Fusion-No change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SS-No Change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SS-No major changes,except a Nationwide logo replaces the National Guard logo.-

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SS-Same basic design but blue has replaced white as the primary color.

My Thoughts On The Racing Weekend-November 11, 2014

By David G. Firestone

Been feeling under the weather this week, so I pushed this back to Tuesday. This racing weekend has been pretty stable compared to the events of last week. F1 had the Brazilian Grand Prix, and NASCAR had Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup races.

The Brazilian Grand Prix took place at Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo Brazil. Brazil is a historically huge Formula 1 fan base, and the race did not disappoint. Nico Rosberg ran the fastest lap in all 3 qualifying sessions, started from pole, and won the race. He missed out on the fastest lap of the race because his teammate and Championship point leader Lewis Hamilton ran a faster lap. Again, I’m not an F1 devotee, but the final race in Abu Dhabi is going to be very interesting, as the race fields double points. So it’s going to come down to whoever wins this race, or whoever makes the first mistake. The race will take place at Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island. The track is 3.451 miles long and the race will last for 55 laps, which totals 189.805 miles. Any mistake during those 189.805 miles can cost the Championship. I’m looking forward to watching this race, as it will be an exciting finish to the season.

In the Nationwide Series, Chase Elliott became the first driver to win the Nationwide Series Championship as a rookie, and also at age 18 became the youngest championship winner among National series drivers in NASCAR history. I was skeptical of him when he first started racing, but now, I can’t say anything bad about him. He is a top shelf piece of talent and I hope to see him in the Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup Stable very soon.

I’m going to watch the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead on Saturday, and I’m watching because it will be the last race of the season, but also it will be the last Nationwide Series race. Starting on January 1, it will become the Xfinity Series. Nationwide has started running commercials thanking the fans for 7 great years, and we thank Nationwide for 7 great years. Good luck and God speed.

The Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500 took place on Saturday, and after the big brawl at Texas, I was wondering how the drivers would cope with the pressure. The Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship ended with the race, which Kevin Harvick won, saw Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman as the 4 drivers who will race for the Championship at the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday. I’m going to be honest, I was amazed at how the drivers kept their cool during the race, and it was a clean race.

The Championship points have been reset so each driver now has 5000 points. Whoever scores the most points at Homestead wins the Sprint Cup Championship, and will be a first time Champion. It features 3 old school teams, Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress, and Penkse, as well as top runner Stewart Haas Racing. Between the green and checkered flags are 400.51 miles. Anything and everything can happen in those miles, so this will be a battle to the end. It is going to be legendary. I can’t wait.

I am also mindfull of the Kurt Busch situation.  As we all know, he has been accused of domestic abuse of his ex-girlfriend in Dover.  I’m going to follow the same piece of protocol I did with the Tony Stewart situation, which is to state my feelings on the alleged charges, but make it clear that I will wait for all the facts to come in before I pass final judgment.  Domestic abuse, irregardless of the situation, is unacceptable.  There is no ifs, ands, or buts about this.  If you are married to someone, or living with someone, there is no excuse to physically assault them.  If you feel angry, step back and back down.  If you are in an abusive relationship, the best thing to do is get out.  When it comes to Kurt, I can only say that the investigation is ongoing, and I will wait until the final report is released.  Once that is released, I will state my feelings on the outcome.

Also on the menu is the NHRA Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. This will be held at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona California. Nobody was able to secure a championship at Las Vegas, so this weekend will see all 4 championships crowned. Again, nothing is secure until the end of the day so it will be an exciting and fun event, and I can’t wait. I will talk to you all again soon.

Paint Scheme Grades-November 8, 2014

Jamie McMurray #1 Liftmaster Prescott Granite Mountain “Hotshots” Chevy SS-Looks great, great color scheme and design scheme. Plus it honors 19 fallen members of the Prescott Granite Mountain “Hotshots” who tragically died while battling a wild fire. A+

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Energy and Water Chevy SS-Decent scheme, the water looks decent, though a little too dark, so I’ll give it a B-

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Throwback Chevy SS-Every throwback scheme this year has been good, and this one is no exception. It looks amazing! A+

Michael Annett #7 Cypress Chevy SS-Over designed and has a goofy color scheme earns an F every time.

Greg Biffle #16 3M/Sherwin Williams Ford Fusion-Actually pretty good for a Greg Biffle scheme. Good colors and decent design earn a B

Kyle Busch #18 Benfield Pet Hospital Toyota Camry-Nothing wrong with this design! A+

Alex Bowman #23 Dumb and Dumber To Toyota Camry-Not as dumb a design as you would expect. Actually it looks really good. The color scheme is good, as is the design. A+

Jeff Gordon Axalta Chevy SS-Featuring the color of the year, Radiant Red, this is a great looking car, with great color and design schemes. A+

Joey Gase #32 Forever Hip Ford Fusion-Light blue works very well here, the design is mediocre, but it’s not awful, all in all it earns a C

Ty Dillon #33 Charter Chevy SS-Charter has the worst shade of green in NASCAR, and with the over designing, it earns an F.

Kyle Larson #42 Target Camo Chevy SS-Good color scheme, awful design scheme, add a one letter grade deduction for use of camo and you have a D- grade.

Aric Almirola #43 Farmland Pork Ford Fusion-I get what they are trying to do, but the light green and blue color scheme does not work. I can’t give this any higher than a C, so I won’t.

Aric Almirola #43 Farmland/Folds of Honor Ford Fusion-Works very well, color and design scheme is great, and while there is camo in the design scheme, I’ll forgive it because it looks good. It’s subtle, and it works. A+

AJ Allmendinger #47 Glad Toyota Camry-Nothing wrong with this scheme! A+

JJ Yeley #83 Dumb and Dumber To Toyota Camry-See Alex Bowman above. A+

Replica Helmets and Why We Need Them In Racing Part Quatre

hight4By David G. Firestone

Just a quick post this week, as I have to finish work on the Paint Schemies and the Paint Scheme Leaderboard. I’m gonna discuss replica helmets again, I promise it will be the last time for a while. But we have some ground to cover when it comes to the NHRA. John Force and his racing team use Simpson for their driver suits and helmets. As such, there are a number of replica helmets made by Simpson featuring John Force and his crew

This first helmet is a 1/4 scale John Force helmet from 1995-1996. It is very plain, with only Castrol GTX and Mac Tools logos on it. It also has John Force and No Fear logos as well.force2 force3 force1 force4 force5 force6

Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme on the other hand, wore a much more brilliantly designed helmet for his time driving The Skoal Bandit. I love the vintage Skoal Bandit logo on the very front.prudhomme1 prudhomme2 prudhomme3 prudhomme4 prudhomme5 prudhomme6

Pro Stock Motorcycle legend Dave Schultz is represented by this helmet, designed similar to an IndyCar helmet. Schultz was the first NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion in 1987, and went on to win 6 championships, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1994, and 1996.schultz3 schultz2 schultz1 schultz4 schultz5 schultz6

Moving on to full-sized helmets, this example is a Robert Hight helmet from 2010, after he won the NHRA Full Throtle Drag Racing Series Championship, it is full-sized and is very nicely detailed. The design reminds me of something I would see on an F1 helmet. One thing I love is the championship ring on the back of the helmet.hight4 hight2 hight3 hight1 hight5 hight6 hight7

This last helmet is a full-sized, incredibly detailed John Force helmet based on the design he wore in 2011. I’m just going to let the helmet speak for itself.force-1 force-2 force-3 force-4 force-5 force-6 force-7

That’s it for this week, but next week, the Paint Schemies make their triumphant return for 2014!

Paint Scheme Tracker-November 5, 2014

By David G. Firestone

5 new schemes this week, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Dale Jr have released schemes!

2015 Toyota Camry-The first Gen 6 redesign comes to the Camry for 2015. The front is sleeker, with a more aggressive nose, and grill area, the tail has been redesigned as well.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SS-No Change-

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion-Same basic design as 2014, but with no gold stripe, vintage Miller Crest, or hop designs on the side.

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SS-No change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmie Johns Chevy SS-No change

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback Steakhouse-No Change

Kevin Harvick #4 Ditech Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, blue, and white is the primary color scheme

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SS-No Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SS-No Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SS-Complete redesign from last year, black, and dark blue replaces light blue and silver, and the design has been completely revamped.

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford Fusion-New team, new sponsor, red, white and blue is the color scheme.

Danica Patrick #10 Aspen Dental Chevy SS-Same basic design as last year, but the blue ovals on the white are more pronounced.

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy SS-Same color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS-Same color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil1 Chevy SS-No Change

Tony Stewart #14 Rush Truck Centers Chevy SS-No change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford Fusion-No change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Home Defense Ford Fusion-New sponsor, white design with a red and yellow stripe on the bottom, with a net design on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Bug-B-Gon Ford Fusion-New sponsor, new design, red, black, and white is the primary color scheme.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion-New primary sponsor, blue, and white is the color scheme.

Carl Edwards #19 Stanley Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, yellow, black, and white is the color scheme.

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt Toyota Camry-New sponsor, black, green, yellow, and white is the color scheme.

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SS-No Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SS-No Change

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion-No change

Paul Menard #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menard’s Chevy SS-No change

Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SS-Same color scheme, but the car as a whole has been redesigned

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SS-No change

Ty Dillion #33 Yuengling Brewery Chevy SS-New sponsor, red, white, and blue is the primary color scheme.

Kurt Busch #41Haas CNC Chevy SS-Same color scheme, but the car has been completely redesigned.

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SS-No change

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford Fusion-No change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SS-No Change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SS-No major changes,except a Nationwide logo replaces the National Guard logo.-

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SS-Same basic design but blue has replaced white as the primary color.

My Thoughts on the Racing Weekend-November 3, 2014

By David G. Firestone

Ok, we have a lot of ground to cover this week, so let’s get started. We had races at Fort Worth, Circuit of the Americas, and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and I have things to discuss about all of them, because things off track impact things on track.

The US Grand Prix took place at Circuit of the Americas in Fort Worth. For F1, it was a pretty unremarkable race, Nico Rosberg won the pole and Lewis Hamilton won the race. I did find it interesting that teams are only allowed five power units a year and as a result Sebastian Vettel had to start from pit road as a result. Also, with Caterham and Marussia unable to compete due to financial problems, there were only 18 cars in the field. IT was a decent race, but not exactly earth shattering/

I need to clarify a stance here, because this has been something that has been bothering me for a while. I enjoy F1 but I’m not a fan of it, and I don’t consider myself to be a fan of it. It’s like that old Kyle Busch quote “I’ve got no problem with [Dale Earnhardt] Junior, it’s his fans that are crazy.” Well that’s how I feel. I’ve got no problem with F1, it’s just their fans who are crazy. F1 is the biggest auto racing group in the world. Their broadcasts can attract up to 58 million people at a time. But this has gone to their fans heads, as they view NASCAR and IndyCar and other American racing groups as “beneath” F1. Well, here’s the thing, just because something is popular all over the world does not mean it has to be popular in America.

F1 has been on the bottom of the racing pecking order in America for decades. I’m amazed how much money was sunk into Circuit of the Americas considering that their major event is so irrelevant, no other track wants to host it. Sebring, The Street Circuit in Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Watkins Glen have all hosted the US Grand Prix, and while I don’t agree with how Indianapolis handled the event, , all involved don’t want the race back because they were losing money on it. F1 is as dead in America as anywhere. Now there is talk about moving a race to Las Vegas, and one to New York. I’ve got a better idea, move one to London, and one to Paris, where F1 has a fan base. Give the fans in countries where F1 is king more races, if you are going to expand the schedule.

Moving on to the NHRA, one of my favorite forms of racing. The Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas were last weekend, and they were GREAT! The racing was fun to watch, the points battle is really good this year, and with the championships in a couple of weeks at Ponoma, the end of the season is anyone’s guess. The finals are going to be legendary. John Force is battling Matt Hagan for the funny car championship, Tony Schumacher is leading the top fuel championship, Erica Enders-Stevens is leading the pro stock championship, and Andrew Hines is leading the pro stock motorcycle championship.

I want to discuss something that happened recently in the NHRA that makes no sense to me at all. Jimmy Prock was a long time crew member for John Force Racing. He was John Force’s crew chief, but sometimes we all need a change, so he went and tended his resignation for the end of the year. John Force make the questionable decision to demand his immediate resignation. As such, with two races to go, and still a huge factor in the championship, John Force had to make changes to his routine. I don’t understand this at all. Why would John Force, who himself said that when you change your routine, it sets you up for loss, would change his routine at this point in the year, where is is now, makes no sense to me, nor does it seem to make sense to anyone else. Prock went to Don Schumacher Racing and was hired on the spot. So now the advantage goes to Don Schumacher Racing, because Prock not only understand the technical side of the sport but understand how John Force thinks and prepares. So I think that this will hurt Force’s chances at a 17th championship this season. It was a bone headed move.

Now we move on to the AAA Texas 500 at Fort Worth. The racing was great, it was close, there were a lot of great moves, a lot of great battles, and Jimmie Johnson won, while honoring the Lowes employees with his “red vest” paint scheme. But everyone is talking about what happened with Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski, so let me break it down. During one of the green white checker finished, Keselowski and Gordon got together, and Keselowski accidentally cut down Gordon’s rear tire. Gordon spun out and after the race went to confront Keselowski. Harvick shoved Keselowski, Gordon grabs him, and a huge brawl breaks out. NASCAR has said that they will review what happened and I’m willing to bet penalties will be handed out.

Brad Keselowski is brash, and very abrasive at times, but given the footage, I can’t find blame in any move he made. The move that cut Gordon’s tire was just hard racing, and I don’t think there was anything intentionally done there. I also don’t blame Gordon for being upset at what happened. But I do blame him for going over and arguing with Keselowski. What Kevin Harvick did was unacceptable. He had no place going over and shoving Keselowski, which started the brawl, and I think that Gordon was wrong for grabbing Keselowski. Keselowski did not want to get into a discussion with Gordon, and was trying to back down because he saw how mad Gordon was. It was terrible decisions by Gordon and Harvick that started this whole thing, and I think they should be fined AND lose points.

Next weekend, we have the Brazilian Grand Prix, and the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, which will decide the four drivers racing for the championship at Homestead. So I look forward to those, and I look forward to my upcoming projects…stay tuned!

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