My Thoughts On Team Xtreme and NASCAR News and Notes, March 2, 2015

By David G. Firestone

Had some great racing in NASCAR this week, but the best story didn’t come from Atlanta Motor Speedway, but rather who DIDN’T make to Atlanta, specifically Team Xtreme Racing. Specifically, they had their car stolen…their RACE CAR stolen. How did that happen?

Bad weather hit Charlotte last week, and the main hauler with pit crew and other racing equipment was sent earlier to avoid it. The car however wasn’t ready, and was transported via pickup with a trailer on the back. The trailer arrived at a hotel in Morrow Georgia, roughly 16 or so miles from Atlanta Motor Speedway. The driver met up with the team, and bunked down. During the night, thieves stole the truck, trailer and all from the hotel parking lot. The car was later found in Snellville, Georgia, roughly 36 miles, as was the pickup truck, though the trailer, which had $125,000 worth of racing equipment is, as of this writing, still missing.

It’s easy to understand why it would get stolen. Neither the truck or trailer had any team or sponsor logos printed on it, and the thieves probably thought it was construction equipment, maybe lawn equipment, and thought they could steal and fence the goods. When they realized what they stole, they dumped it on the side of the road. I even understand why the team transported the hauler and car separate from each other. What I don’t get is why Team Xtreme didn’t at least have a backup car. At the very least, you might have have to pull out if you wreck your car in practice, but at least you have SOMETHING. Team Xtreme has said they will have a backup car for Las Vegas this week…glad it took the primary car getting stolen to make that happen.

Some other news and notes from this week…

For the second time in as many races, a driver has hit an unprotected concrete wall during a race. Jeff Gordon was the unlucky driver this time. NASCAR has stated repeatedly that adding SAFR barriers is a top priority, but one has to wonder why this hasn’t been completed as of yet, especially with the safety culture being what it is.

NASCAR has implemented a new rule in the wake of the Jeff Gordon/Brad Keselowski brawl that took place at Texas last year. This new rule is specifically designed to reduce the threat of a brawl by reducing the number of crew members that can come on pit road around a car after a race.

Miller and Penske announced this week that Brad Keselowski will run a throwback scheme at some point this season. The choices are Rusty Wallace’s MGD scheme or Bobby Allison’s Miller High Life scheme. Fans can vote on which scheme they would like to see raced. I would love the gold Miller High Life scheme myself…

Landon Cassill finished both Daytona and Atlanta in last place, becoming the first driver since Glenn Dunaway in 1949 to sweep the first two races of the season in last place. Let’s see if he can pull off the hat trick at Las Vegas next week.

Kurt Busch has agreed to the terms and conditions dictated by NASCAR that he must complete to get reinstated. Busch is currently suspended from NASCAR due to the ruling by a Delaware court that he committed an act of domestic abuse. There is, as of yet, no timetable for his return, or if he will even return in 2015.

Kyle Busch was released from the hospital this week, after his crash at Daytona left him with a badly broken leg. David Ragan moved from Front Row Motorsports to fill in for Busch in his absence. The driver of the #34 CSX Ford for Las Vegas has yet to be determined.

Finally, Nickelodeon has announced that the Kansas race on May 9 will be known as the SpongeBob SquarePants 400.

Paint Scheme Grades-February 28, 2015

Brad Keselowski #2 Detroit Genuine Parts Ford Fusion-Black and blue could be a great combo, but the blue here is much too light. If the blue were darker, it would earn an A+ grade. This scheme earns a C- grade.

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Camping World/Medallion Bank Ford Fusion- Green, yellow, and blue is horrible, and the design is even worse. F

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fifth-Third Bank Ford Fusion-Much smoother look, good color scheme, A+

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Duracel Chevy SS-Great color scheme, great simple design, A+

Cole Whitt #35 Rinnai Filters Ford Fusion-Same scheme as last year, same A+ grade.

Kyle Larson #42 Energizer Eco Advanced Chevy SS-Same scheme as last year, same D grade

Brett Moffitt #55 Aaron’s 60th Anniversary Toyota Camry- They took the A+ scheme from this year, reversed the color scheme, and added an additional logo on the hood. It works well and will keep the A+ grade.

Racing Innovators and Their Eureka Moments Part 1, Bill Simpson

KODAK Digital Video CameraBy David G. Firestone

Everyone has a moment that shapes the rest of our lives for the better. For me, it was joining the TV crew in my sophomore year of high school. For some people, it might seem like the worst point in their lives. Sometimes you have to hit bottom to rise to the top. It might be horrible in the short term, but great in the long run.

Bill Simpson is one of those people. His moment came in 1958. He was drag racing at age 18, and broke both his arms in a crash. When you have both arms in a crash, it gives you time to think. Simpson began to think about a design for a parachute. He came up with a cross design for a parachute, and designed the cross parachute. He tested it on a public road, and was arrested for the stunt. The chute proved effective, and when “Big Daddy” Don Garlitts called, and that’s how Simpson Performance Products was founded.

The X design of drag chute is still in use today. It is so effective, that while there were some minor design changes, including size changes, the basic design hasn’t changed. This is an example used by TJ Zizzo from 2010 to 2013. KODAK Digital Video Camera KODAK Digital Video CameraZizzo ran two of these chutes on the back of his dragster, and this example is 12 feet by 12 feet. It shows a decent amount of wear, with stains and holes.zizzochute5There is a hole in the center that allows the chute to be deployed, and there is an inventory tag placed here as well. zizzochute3 zizzochute4 On the cables connecting the chute to the car, there is some extra protection. This is necessary because on top fuel dragsters, the engine is very close to the parachute attachment, and in the event of a fire, the chute will still be able to function. TJ’s example shows some wear on the silver layer. KODAK Digital Video Camera KODAK Digital Video Camera KODAK Digital Video CameraHere is video of the chute in use.

One thing that a lot of non drag racing fans don’t realize is that many drivers pack their own chutes. Race car drivers are control freaks, and so this makes sense. The logic a few drivers use is that if I mess it up, I don’t have anyone to blame for it except myself. Here is a video of Jack Beckman packing his chute, and pro stock driver Rickie Jones explaining how he packs his own chute.

Drag racing chutes are amazing pieces of equipment, and I’m always amazed how it takes only a few people to change the sport as a whole. Next Week, I will continue this discussion with something even more awe inspiring.

Paint Scheme Tracker-February 25, 2015

By David G. Firestone

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

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, but with a new door design.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/McDonald’s Chevy SS-Special dual scheme for the Daytona 500, black Cessna on the front, fade to red McDonald’s on the back.

Jamie McMurray #1 Sherwin Williams Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, Red, white and blue with a red line down the center, with the top fades blue to white on top, and white to blue on the bottom.

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.

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion-New redesign, similar in design to Joey Logano’s Shell/Pennzoil Ford, black replaces yellow as the primary color.

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford Fusion-Redesign from last season, follows the Shell/Pennzoil template.

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SS-No change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS-No change

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS-No Change

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol 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.

Kasey Kahne #5 Liftmaster Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, red and white redesign of the Time Warner scheme.

Kasey Kahne #5 Pepsi Chevy SS-No change

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

Alex Bowman #7 Nikko/Toy State Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, Red borders a blue design on the sides and hood.

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Twisted Tea Ford Fusion-No Change

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

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Chevy SS-New redesign with more black and less orange.

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy/TaxAct Chevy SS-New sponsor combo for the Sprint Unlimited, front of the car retains traditional GoDaddy design, whereas back quarter panel is TaxAct

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Chevy SS-One race sponsor, will run at Martinsville in March, red, white and black scheme, with diagonal design up the doors.

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry-New redesign with a much simpler front and more design on the sides.

Denny Hamln #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry-Same redesign as FedEx Express

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry-Same redesign as FedEx Express

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry-Same redesign as FedEx Express

Denny Hamlin #11 SportClips Toyota Camry-New redesign with a new door design

Casey Mears #13 Geico Chevy SS-No Change.

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

Clint Bowyer #15 Peak Toyota Camry-No Change

Greg Biffle #16 Cheez Its Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red with a cheese colored stripe and crackers on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Clean Harbors Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red white and black design

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 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry-No Change

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry-New design for 2015, with a green background and more emphasis on M&M’s Crispy, as well as a new hood logo.

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

Carl Edwards #19 Aaris Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, reddish orange with the Aaris logo used as part of the side stripe.

Carl Edwards #19 SportClips Toyota Camry-New sponsor, same design as Denny Hamlin.

Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota Camry-New sponsor for Joe Gibbs, much simpler design.

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

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toyota Camry-Much simpler than the 2014 scheme, with fewer side designs.

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft/Quicklane Ford Fusion-No Change

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

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford Fusion-The AAA logo has been straightened up in 2015.

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford Fusion-No Change

J.J. Yeley #23 Dr. Pepper/Maxim Fantasy Sports Toyota Camry-New sponsor for the Daytona 500.  Black on top, white on the bottom, red stripe in between,  Dr Pepper style logo on the door number.

Jeff Gordon #24 3M Chevy SS-New design for 2015, silver, with red accents and numbers, with a white hood design that extends over the roof and deck-lid.

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SS-No Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS-Much simpler redesign, with new hood logo and same color scheme-

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SS-No Change

Chase Elliott #25 NAPA Chevy SS-New sponsor and car number for 2015, blue is the primary sponsor, with a yellow design on the side.

Jeb Burton #26 Live Deals Ford Fusion-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, will have similar design as JJ Yeley, but with orange, black, and white.

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

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Serta Chevy SS-Same basic scheme as 2014, but with more blue on the sides than last year.

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Peak Chevy SS-Some slight changes to the stripes, and roof

Justin Marks #29 American Born Moonshine Toyota Camry-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, has a wood finished look, with white lettering.

Ron Horniday #30 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevy SS-New team and sponsor for 2015. Two-tone green design with white lettering and yellow accents.

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

Ryan Newman #31 Granger Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, green, red and white, with some designs on the side.

Go FAS Racing #32 Keen Parts Ford Fusion-Simpler redesign and a much simpler color scheme.

Go FAS Racing #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion-Same color scheme, but with a different and much more complex side design-

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

Ty Dillon #33 Cheerios Chevy SS-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, based on Austin Dillon’s Cheerios scheme, but with a Kroger’s logo on the hood.

David Ragan #34 KFC Ford Fusion-Redesign for 2015, all white front, KFC style stripes on the back.

David Ragan #34 CSX Ford Fusion-Same basic scheme, though the word bubble on the hood has been replaced with a CSX logo.

Cole Whitt #35 Speed Stick Gear Ford Fusion-No Change

David Gilliland #38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion-No change

Landon Cassill #40 Snap 24-7 Fitness Chevy SS-Slight redesign from last year, with the black quarter panel replaced with red.

Landon Cassill #40 Cars For Sale Chevy SS-No Change

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

Stewart-Haas Racing #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SS-No change

Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SS- Same basic design as 2014, but with some sponsor changes on the quarter panel.

Kyle Larson #42 White Target Chevy SS-Same basic design as 2014, but with some sponsor changes on the quarter panel.

Aric Almoriola #43 Eckrich Ford Fusion-Same basic design, but with a Nathans logo on the rear.

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford Fusion-No change

Aric Almirola #43 Fresh From Florida Ford Fusion-No Change.

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford Fusion-No Change.

Reed Sorenson #44 Golden Corral Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, same design as 2015 #36.

Michael Annett #46 Pilot/Flying J Chevy SS-New car number and design. White is the primary color, with red and yellow accents on the sides and front.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Better Than Bullion Chevy SS-New Sponsor for 2015, all black with a gold stripe running down the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Best Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Clorox Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 House Autry Chevy SS-New primary sponsor for 2015,  Red sides, with blue roof and posts.

AJ  Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Chilli Beans Chevy SS-New sponsor, yellow to orange to yellow fade across whole car.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Hungry Jack Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kingsford Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Scott Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Grilling Beans Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger Chevy SS-No change

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS-New design, bears a resemblance to the old Kobalt tools scheme from 2009.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Kobalt Chevy SS-New design, redesigned version of the current Lowe’s scheme.

Justin Allgaier #51 Brandt Chevy SS-Same primary design, but the door number has reversed colors.

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry-Same basic design as last year, the nose has been changed, the main blue is slightly darker, and the gold has been replaced with light blue

Brett Moffitt #55 Aaron’s 60th Anniversary Toyota Camry-New scheme for 2015, colors are reversed, new logo on the hood.

Brian Scott #62 Shore Lodge Chevy SS-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, Black with white lettering and silver designs.

Mike Wallace #66 Crazy Vapors/X8 Energy Gum Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2015, Hood has Crazy Vapors green stripe design, side has X8 abstract design.

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy SS-No Change

Johnny Sauter #83 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2015, green stripes up the hood and roof, white design with Dr Pepper style door numbers.

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.

Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Ford Fusion-Redesign of last year’s scheme, another example of logo as a stripe pattern.

Michael McDowell #95 K-Love Ford Fusion-Template has been redesigned, and the city outline on the rear quarterpanel has been removed.

Josh Wise #98 Phoenix Construction Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, all white with red lettering, and red and black numbers

My Thoughts On The Black Cloud Hanging Over Daytona This Week.

By David G. Firestone

The Daytona 500 is behind us, the NASCAR season is underway. The race was great, Joey Logano finally lived up to the lofty expectations set on him when he was a rookie. Jeff Gordon has raced in his last Daytona 500 in his regular career, though I won’t rule out that he might come back for the 500 at some point. All in all it should have been a great weekend for NASCAR, but while the sun shone over Daytona, there was a dark cloud hanging over NASCAR this weekend.

The dark cloud started in November, when allegations against Kurt Busch came to light. Patricia Driscol, Kurt’s ex girlfriend went to the police and alleged that Kurt had assaulted her, during the fall race at Dover in September. Between then and Thursday, a series of court hearing took place. On Monday, Busch was ordered to stay away from Driscoll, as the court had deemed that “an act of domestic abuse had taken place.” As a direct result of that ruling, on Friday, he was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR. Busch appealed TWICE on Saturday, and lost both appeals, and is now indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.

I stated when the story first broke in November, that I would wait until the facts are fully known before I would take a side. Now that those facts have come to light, I will state the following: Under NO circumstances is domestic abuse ever acceptable! Kurt’s actions are totally unacceptable, and he should be suspended for at least the 2015 season, minimum. I don’t feel bad at all for Kurt, he will lose a lot of money, his career is probably over, and he will face criminal charges, and he deserves it. Anyone who hits a spouse, or children does not deserve sympathy. I don’t feel bad for Busch, Ray Rice, or Chris Brown, because men should NEVER hit women!

NASCAR took some heat in waiting as long as they did, but they said that they would wait for the facts to come out before they made a decision. I think that it was a wise move. They did the same thing with Tony Stewart last year as well. People in this day in age want immediate reactions, immediate suspensions, and immediate discipline. I get that, but doing it fast should never take precedence over doing it right.

With this story in mind, I sat down to watch the Alert Today Florida 300 on Saturday. I was treated to a great race…until lap 113, when there was “The Big One” and Kyle Busch was sent into a concrete wall near turn 2, nearly head on at an estimated 90 MPH, and had to be helped from his car. He was taken to Halifax Medical Center, and was diagnosed with a severe compound fracture in his right leg, as well as a broken foot.

The wall he hit was a simple concrete wall, no tires, or SAFR barrier. How in the world can there be any track, much less Daytona International Speedway, that has concrete walls with no energy absorbing materials? I get the $500 a foot price tag is a bit hefty, but when something like this happens, drivers and fans demand answers, and action. As such, there will be improvements starting today at Daytona, but how many more times does this have to happen, seriously? How many top shelf drivers will be sidelined with injuries because of cost cutting? WHEN WILL THIS STOP? I hate having to call out racing sanctioning bodies for seemingly stupid safety issues, I really do, but why does this keep happening? I wanted to write a story about how great Daytona was, and how much fun I had, but I can’t! I’ll finish this article now, as I’m too angry to finish.

Paint Scheme and Helmet Grades-February 21, 2015

By David G. Firestone

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/McDonald’s Chevy SS-Love the fade, the look is really smooth, the colors work well, A+

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Peak Chevy SS- Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

Landon Cassill #40 Cars For Sale Chevy SS- Same Scheme as last year, same C- grade

Kyle Larson #42 White Target Chevy SS-Same scheme as last year, same B- grade.

Brian Scott #62 Shore Lodge Chevy SS-Good color scheme, much too over designed, it looks terrible, B-

Josh Wise #98 Phoenix Construction Ford Fusion-Simple, smooth design, with a great color scheme, A+

I get tired of just doing paint schemes, and I wanted to do something different, but I had no idea what to do. Then I came across this, and it gave me an idea. I’m gonna grade these helmets in order. The grading will be different from car schemes, since racing helmets have different design standards to me than cars.

Jeff Gordon-The red looks really good, the carbon fiber design looks really good, I don’t like the white, so I’ll give it a B+

Dale Earnhardt Jr.-The matte black with silver designs looks really good, but the Nationwide logo looks so out of place. It looks awkward, and it takes an A scheme to a B-

Trevor Bayne-The blue design would look good by itself, as would the red and white design, but the two schemes together look forced and awful. D-

Aric Almirola-Great design, great color scheme, A+

Brad Keselowski-The black carbon fiber design with logos on it looks really good. A+

Kyle Busch-The racing helmet design would work without the M&M’s logos all over the place, and vice versa, but the color scheme is good, so I’ll give it a C+

Matt Kenseth-Great design, great color scheme, A+

Kyle Larson-Great design, great color scheme, and I do like the subtle red Target logo. A+

Kevin Harvick-The red and gold Anheuser Busch design looks good, and the logos on the white banner across the front works very well too. A+

Kasey Kahne-Like the color scheme, and the design is decent, A

Jimmie Johnson-I like the overall design, the color scheme is good, though I do think that the silver should be darker. Still it’s an A design.

Josh Wise-I liked the whole Dogecoin thing when it started at Talladega last year, but it’s getting to the point where it’s just overdone. The color scheme is good, the adjectives on the back are interesting, but it’s just too silly to earn anything above a C-

Greg Biffle-Black with silver designs has been done, but the bugs that look like they are crawling over the helmet make it work, and it works quite well. I’ll give it an A

Austin Dillon-Good color scheme, I like the bird design on the side, a bit over done, but still an A scheme.

Danica Patrick-One of the only helmets where the color scheme does not match the sponsor. Danica has worn this design for quite a while, and it looks great! A+

Denny Hamlin-The helmet matches the car, and earns a matching A+ grade.

Tony Stewart-One of the most underrated designs in gasoline history, the Mobil Pegasus takes the lead in this design. I like the numbers and all white design as well, A+

Jamie McMurray-I gave Kyle Larson credit for the subtle Target logos, but this design is overdone. The subtle Golden Arches take an A design to a C- design, which not even a great color scheme can help.

Clint Bowyer-Overall design is good, has a good color scheme, and the Zombie Elvis is a quirky touch that I like. A+

Joey Logano-Good color scheme, and I love the vintage hot rod on the side, and will give it an A+

Paul Menard-Digital camo doesn’t look good on the side of a race car, and doesn’t look good on the side of a helmet either. I’ll give it a D+ for a good color scheme, and a cool spider.

Ryan Newman-My big complaint about Ryan Newman’s Cat scheme is too much white. Black and yellow is a great color scheme, but too much white takes it from an A to a B-.

Brian Vickers-Metallic gold is under used on race cars, and I’m shocked that it is, this helmet looks really good. It’s a A grade.

Martin Truex Jr.-Digital camo doesn’t look good on the side of a race car, and doesn’t look good on the side of a helmet either. I’ll give it a D+ for a good color scheme.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-The subtle nut logos work well, the color scheme is good, can’t say anything bad, A+

 

The Great American Race-The Daytona 500

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By David G. Firestone

The 57th running of the Daytona 500 is tomorrow! I know, I can’t keep my excitement to myself either! Jeff Gordon is on the pole, the 43 car field has been set, and tomorrow, the 2015 NASCAR season starts. The major change to the format will be on pit road, where a camera system will be used to help catch penalties. This system was tested during the Chase last year, and supposedly proved itself very effective, so we will see how this works.

The prize these drivers are all racing for, aside from the prestige, is the Harley J. Earl trophy. Earl was the second commissioner of NASCAR, designer of the Corvette, and designed the futuristic Firebird I in 1953, a small model of which adorns the trophy. It was first awarded in 1959 to Lee Petty. The original trophy is housed in The Daytona 500 Experience, and is 5 feet wide, by 4 feet tall. The winner is awarded a miniature version, which is 18 by 22 inches, and has a miniature version of the Firebird car mounted on top.

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Interestingly, NASCAR, a multibillion, multinational group relies on one man, and one man only, to make the trophy. His name is John Liba, and he is based in Omaha, Nebraska. His first attempt was in 1998, and was awarded to Dale Earnhardt Sr. The first trophy he made was on a marble base, which was much too heavy, so he switched to black acrylic. To make the miniature Harley J. Earl trophy, it takes 6 weeks, of 12 hour work days, and that does not include plating the trophy.

I’ve always found it interesting how NASCAR uses John Liba to make the Harley J. Earl trophy, but uses Tiffany and Company to make the Sprint Cup Trophy. I like the idea of leagues using individuals, not large companies for trophies and awards. It’s the same as Boffey Silversmiths of Montreal engraving the names on the Stanley Cup after each season. The most renowned trophy in the sport of hockey goes to an individual to get engraved. That just blows me away.

When I went to the Penske Racing Museum, I saw the special version made in 2008. This was done to commemorate the 50th running, and was plated in gold rather than silver.

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That race was won by Ryan Newman, and is still on display at the museum. The car he ran is also there, and interestingly was signed by the crew after the race.

2015-prm-2-5-2015-49 2015-prm-2-5-2015-81 2015-prm-2-5-2015-82

This is the biggest event on the NASCAR calender, and always lives up to the hype. The ending of the race is like the 9th inning in the final game of the World Series. The last 2.5 miles of the race is nail biting. Anything can and has happened during that final lap. It has seen legends achieve their lifelong dreams, and rookies stamp their place in history. Legends like Gordon, Earnhardt, Petty, Parsons, Andretti, Foyt, Allison, Waltrip, Yarborough, Harvick, Johnson, Jarrett, and Kenseth, as well as unknowns like Cope, Burton, Marlin, and Bayne have visited victory lane. The big question is…who will join them in 2015.

Here is how the field will line up

Row 1

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS

Row 2

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SS

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry

Row 3

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion

Carl Edwards #19 Aaris Toyota Camry

Row 4

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy SS

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Home Defense Ford Fusion

Row 5

Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy SS

Row 6

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SS

Reed Sorenson #44 Golden Corral Chevy SS

Row 7

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SS

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft/Quicklane Ford Fusion

Row 8

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/McDonald’s Chevy SS

Justin Allgaier #51 Brandt Chevy SS

Row 9

Landon Cassill #40 Snap 24-7 Fitness Chevy SS

Mike Wallace #66 Crazy Vapors/X8 Energy Gum Toyota Camry

Row 10

Cole Whitt #35 Speed Stick Gear Ford Fusion

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Chevy SS

Row 11

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Peak Chevy SS

Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SS

Row 12

Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Ford Fusion

Kurt Busch #41 Haas CNC Chevy SS

Row 13

J.J. Yeley #23 Dr. Pepper/Maxim Fantasy Sports Toyota Camry

David Gilliland #38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion

Row 14

Michael Annett #46 Pilot/Flying J Chevy SS

David Ragan #34 KFC Ford Fusion

Row 15

Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SS

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS

Row 16

Ty Dillon #33 Cheerios Chevy SS

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion

Row 17

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford Fusion

Michael Waltrip #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry

Row 18

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toyota Camry

Johnny Sauter #83 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry

Row 19

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford Fusion

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Twisted Tea Ford Fusion

Row 20

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger Chevy SS

Row 21

Casey Mears #13 Geico Chevy SS

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry

Row 22

Bobby Labonte #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion

Did Not Qualify

Alex Bowman #7 Nikko/Toy State Chevy SS

Jeb Burton #26 Live Deals Ford Fusion

Justin Marks #29 American Born Moonshine Toyota Camry

Ron Horniday #30 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevy SS

Brian Scott #62 Shore Lodge Chevy SS

DGF2099 Productions-Production Update for 2015

Paint Scheme Tracker-January 18,2015

By David G. Firestone

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

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, but with a new door design.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/McDonald’s Chevy SS-Special dual scheme for the Daytona 500, black Cessna on the front, fade to red McDonald’s on the back.

Jamie McMurray #1 Sherwin Williams Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, Red, white and blue with a red line down the center, with the top fades blue to white on top, and white to blue on the bottom.

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.

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion-New redesign, similar in design to Joey Logano’s Shell/Pennzoil Ford, black replaces yellow as the primary color.

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford Fusion-Redesign from last season, follows the Shell/Pennzoil template.

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SS-No change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS-No change

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS-No Change

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol 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.

Kasey Kahne #5 Liftmaster Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, red and white redesign of the Time Warner scheme.

Kasey Kahne #5 Pepsi Chevy SS-No change

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

Alex Bowman #7 Nikko/Toy State Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, Red borders a blue design on the sides and hood.

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Twisted Tea Ford Fusion-No Change

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

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Chevy SS-New redesign with more black and less orange.

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy/TaxAct Chevy SS-New sponsor combo for the Sprint Unlimited, front of the car retains traditional GoDaddy design, whereas back quarter panel is TaxAct

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Chevy SS-One race sponsor, will run at Martinsville in March, red, white and black scheme, with diagonal design up the doors.

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry-New redesign with a much simpler front and more design on the sides.

Denny Hamln #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry-Same redesign as FedEx Express

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry-Same redesign as FedEx Express

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry-Same redesign as FedEx Express

Denny Hamlin #11 SportClips Toyota Camry-New redesign with a new door design

Casey Mears #13 Geico Chevy SS-No Change.

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

Clint Bowyer #15 Peak Toyota Camry-No Change

Greg Biffle #16 Cheez Its Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red with a cheese colored stripe and crackers on the side.

Greg Biffle #16 Clean Harbors Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red white and black design

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 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry-No Change

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

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry-New design for 2015, with a green background and more emphasis on M&M’s Crispy, as well as a new hood logo.

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

Carl Edwards #19 Aaris Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, reddish orange with the Aaris logo used as part of the side stripe.

Carl Edwards #19 SportClips Toyota Camry-New sponsor, same design as Denny Hamlin.

Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota Camry-New sponsor for Joe Gibbs, much simpler design.

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

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toyota Camry-Much simpler than the 2014 scheme, with fewer side designs.

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft/Quicklane Ford Fusion-No Change

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

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford Fusion-The AAA logo has been straightened up in 2015.

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford Fusion-No Change

J.J. Yeley #23 Dr. Pepper/Maxim Fantasy Sports Toyota Camry-New sponsor for the Daytona 500.  Black on top, white on the bottom, red stripe in between,  Dr Pepper style logo on the door number.

Jeff Gordon #24 3M Chevy SS-New design for 2015, silver, with red accents and numbers, with a white hood design that extends over the roof and deck-lid.

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SS-No Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS-Much simpler redesign, with new hood logo and same color scheme-

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SS-No Change

Chase Elliott #25 NAPA Chevy SS-New sponsor and car number for 2015, blue is the primary sponsor, with a yellow design on the side.

Jeb Burton #26 Live Deals Ford Fusion-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, will have similar design as JJ Yeley, but with orange, black, and white.

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

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Serta Chevy SS-Same basic scheme as 2014, but with more blue on the sides than last year.

Justin Marks #29 American Born Moonshine Toyota Camry-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, has a wood finished look, with white lettering.

Ron Horniday #30 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevy SS-New team and sponsor for 2015. Two-tone green design with white lettering and yellow accents.

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

Ryan Newman #31 Granger Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, green, red and white, with some designs on the side.

Go FAS Racing #32 Keen Parts Ford Fusion-Simpler redesign and a much simpler color scheme.

Go FAS Racing #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion-Same color scheme, but with a different and much more complex side design-

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

Ty Dillon #33 Cheerios Chevy SS-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, based on Austin Dillon’s Cheerios scheme, but with a Kroger’s logo on the hood.

David Ragan #34 KFC Ford Fusion-Redesign for 2015, all white front, KFC style stripes on the back.

David Ragan #34 CSX Ford Fusion-Same basic scheme, though the word bubble on the hood has been replaced with a CSX logo.

Cole Whitt #35 Speed Stick Gear Ford Fusion-No Change

David Gilliland #38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion-No change

Landon Cassill #40 Snap 24-7 Fitness Chevy SS-Slight redesign from last year, with the black quarter panel replaced with red.

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

Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SS-Same basic design as 2014, but with some sponsor changes on the quarter panel.

Aric Almoriola #43 Eckrich Ford Fusion-Same basic design, but with a Nathans logo on the rear.

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford Fusion-No change

Aric Almirola #43 Fresh From Florida Ford Fusion-No Change.

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford Fusion-No Change.

Reed Sorenson #44 Golden Corral Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, same design as 2015 #36.

Michael Annett #46 Pilot/Flying J Chevy SS-New car number and design. White is the primary color, with red and yellow accents on the sides and front.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Better Than Bullion Chevy SS-New Sponsor for 2015, all black with a gold stripe running down the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Best Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Clorox Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 House Autry Chevy SS-New primary sponsor for 2015,  Red sides, with blue roof and posts.

AJ  Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Chilli Beans Chevy SS-New sponsor, yellow to orange to yellow fade across whole car.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Hungry Jack Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kingsford Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Scott Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Grilling Beans Chevy SS-Same basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger Chevy SS-No change

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS-New design, bears a resemblance to the old Kobalt tools scheme from 2009.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Kobalt Chevy SS-New design, redesigned version of the current Lowe’s scheme.

Justin Allgaier #51 Brandt Chevy SS-Same primary design, but the door number has reversed colors.

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry-Same basic design as last year, the nose has been changed, the main blue is slightly darker, and the gold has been replaced with light blue

Mike Wallace #66 Crazy Vapors/X8 Energy Gum Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2015, Hood has Crazy Vapors green stripe design, side has X8 abstract design.

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy SS-No Change

Johnny Sauter #83 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2015, green stripes up the hood and roof, white design with Dr Pepper style door numbers.

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.

Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Ford Fusion-Redesign of last year’s scheme, another example of logo as a stripe pattern.

Michael McDowell #95 K-Love Ford Fusion-Template has been redesigned, and the city outline on the rear quarterpanel has been removed.

Josh Wise #98 Phoenix Construction Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, all white with red lettering, and red and black numbers

My Thoughts on The Spring Unlimited, Winter, and Italian Restaurants.

By David G. Firestone

The 2015 Sprint Unlimited is behind us, Matt Kenseth won the event, and it was a great race. Something I’m disappointed about is that there aren’t more special schemes for the Sprint Unlimited. There were 25 teams in the Sprint Unlimited, only Danica Patrick ran a special scheme this year. I would love to see every driver have some kind of special scheme for the Sprint Unlimited and the All-Star Race.

Paint schemes aside, I love the Sprint Unlimited. As it does every year, the format changes, and this year, the eligibility changes as well. I do like the 25 car format, and it did lead to some great pack racing. The racing was great, and what I love about the Sprint Unlimited is that it starts around the same time as Truck Days in baseball, which means spring is around the corner.

It’s a great day to stay inside, drink tea, and write. I live in Chicago, and as of right now, 8:11 am, it’s 9 degrees outside, and there is a fresh coating of snow. Winter sucks! It’s cold, waiting for a bus is horrible, and there isn’t much to do anyways. Chicago has a lot of great things to do, especially on a holiday, but if it’s too cold to go outside, you can’t do them. So I’m gonna spend this day off writing, doing laundry, playing with the cats, and drinking tea.

I’d like to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while. We all encounter certain design aspects in life that have explanations, but those explanations are not readily available. One of these examples is why are Italian restaurants always dimly lit?

Chain restaurants aside, every Italian restaurant I have ever eaten at was dimly lit. Normally, the way it works is that the more expensive the restaurant, the dimmer it is. I have yet to eat at a dimly lit McDonald’s. But every Italian restaurant, from the cheap ones to the high end ones is dimly lit. Every one is dimly lit…Why? What I’d like to know is why. I have to believe there is a reason every Italian restaurant across the country that I have eaten is is dimly lit, but why is it that way?

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