Kenny Wallace is in the spotlight this week, as we look at a race-worn driver suit circa 1999-2000, which he has boldly autographed across the front.
Kenny Wallace is in the spotlight this week, as we look at a race-worn driver suit circa 1999-2000, which he has boldly autographed across the front.
By David G. Firestone
I started ranking all the teams last week, with the Paint Schemie Awards, and I figured I would continue this week with the Paint Scheme Leaderboard. The concept is that over the next 4 weeks, I will rank all the drivers by team. The rules are the same as the Paint Schemies, and I will rank the teams, first by Manufacturer, and then by all the teams running the Sprint Cup Series. A random drawing has Ford going first, followed by Chevy next week, and then Toyota the following week. The last week, will be all 50 teams that ran in the Sprint Cup Series this year.
So, without further ado, let’s look at how Ford’s NASCAR teams fared in the paint scheme world this year:
#2-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 This team combines classic and modern looks, and uses Petty Blue very effectively. The Transportation Impact scheme was not good at all, and kept the 43 team out of the top spot. Extra Credit for the Maurice Petty Tribute Scheme.
#3 Penske Racing #12-Though only raced for one race, the SKF design worked very well. A great color and great design scheme. If this had been raced for multiple races, I would have ranked it higher, but it is still a solid scheme.
#4 Richard Petty Motorsports #9 This set earned a place in the top 5 because it improved by a lot over the course of the season. It has a great color scheme, but the early schemes were not great, but since Stanley redesigned their logo, and made some changes to the car, it is a very nice set.
#5 Roush Fenway Racing #17 A pinkwashing scheme as well as the Valvoline NexGen scheme kick Ricky Stenhouse Jr. out of the top spot. Sad thing too, as Ricky had a very solid year when it comes to paint schemes.
#6 Penske Racing #2 While I miss the beer colored wheels from last year, Keselowski has had a decent year, the color scheme is great, though there is too much white on the car. The Redd’s Apple Ale scheme was great, but the Fan Mosaic, pinkwashing, and Patriotic schemes need some work.
#7 Roush Fenway Racing #16 Greg Biffle had a lot of great schemes, but he had a number of awful ones as well. Get rid of the pinkwashing scheme, the Scotchguard, give blood, and Megulars schemes, and he would be in the top 5.
#9 Front Row Motorsports #38 The template they run works very well when the color scheme matches that of the sponsor. When it doesn’t match, it looks awful.
#10 Front Row Motorsports #35, See above
#13 Germain Racing #13 Nothing really wrong, but nothing really right with these schemes.
#14 Penske Racing #22 Red and yellow is a really great color scheme, but the design is all wrong. This design gets even worse with the AAA scheme, which has an even better color scheme. The Pennzoil scheme is good, but not good enough to save the set.
#15 Phil Parsons Racing# 98 The schemes come in one of two food groups, bland or awful. Great colors, but the designs are horrid.
#16 Levine Family Racing #95 Worst template in NASCAR.
#17 Xxxtreme Motorsports #44 Yuck.
Next Week, the Chevy Leaderboard!
For the end of the 2013 Season, I will reveal the best and worst paint schemes and driver suits of 2013. This was done using a focus group of one, namely myself, 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
Let’s get the bad paint scheme awards out of the way.
First, the Paint Schemie Award for Worst Single Paint Scheme.
The nominees are:
And the Paint Schemie Award for worst single paint scheme goes to…
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:
The Paint Schemie Worst Dressed Driver Award goes to Joey Logano
Our next category is the Award For Worst Scheme Set of 2013, which is given to the team that consistently runs bad paint schemes throughout the season.
The Nominees Are:
The Winner for Worst Scheme Set of 2013 goes to:
Now the nominees for Best Single Paint Scheme are:
The Paint Schemie Award for Best Single Paint Scheme Goes to
The next two Paint Schemie Awards are for Best Exhibition Race Paint Scheme, and Worst Exhibition . These are a little different, as they 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.
And taking these schemes into consideration, the Paint Scheme Goes To:
The Paint Schemie Award for Most Improved Paint Scheme goes to:
The Paint Schemie Best Dressed Award goes to:
Now, our final Paint Schemie Award, The Best Scheme Set of 2013:
Now for this, I will take a look at the best Chevy Schemes, followed by Ford, and then Toyota, and then finally I will reveal the winners of the Paint Schemie Awards.
And now, the 5 best Chevy teams that have consistently run great schemes:
#1 Jimmie Johnson The classic design that is paired with different color schemes every once in a while works very well. The design gives the car a very clean look, and is a very timeless look.
#2 Kurt Busch Furniture Row Racing’s “less is more” approach works very well here, with a matte black, white lettering and red letters. They always look good, thought I wish their results on the track were as good as they look.
#3 Kevin Harvick Kevin has had, for the most part, done quite well. All of the schemes have great color schemes, and most have great sponsor logos, and are decently original. Originality works well here, but some of the overall designs, namely the Bad Boy Buggies and Rheem/Budweiser combination schemes need a lot of work, but otherwise Kevin Harvick has had a great season paint scheme wise.
#4 Juan Pablo Montoya The Target scheme is very solid, with great colors, great overall design, and great sponsor logos. Not original, but solid. The most original scheme is the Axe Apollo scheme, but that was just brutal. It had a decent color scheme, and a decent sponsor logo, but the whole outer-space motif just did not work. If Axe Apollo was not on the car this year, Juan would be at the top of the standings.
#5 Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott Motorsports A team that has a very consistent track record when it comes to good color schemes, originality, as well as primary sponsor logos, the team can sometimes have serious issues with overall design. The Hendrick Cars scheme, and the Guy Roofing scheme are just brutal in that category.
Moving on to Ford.
#1 Trevor Bayne The Wood Brothers haven’t run a full schedule this year, but when they have shown up, they have always looked good. The schemes are original, since the Wood Brothers used these schemes for many years, and the colors, overall design, and sponsor schemes are always great.
#2 Aric Almirola The Transportation Impact scheme is keeping Almirola from the top spot, because it does not fit the team at all, and it just looks brutal. Other than that scheme, which while original, has awful colors, and overall design, every scheme they ran is solid, with the STP/Farmland scheme almost making up for Transportation Impact.
#3 Sam Hornish Jr. His one and only appearance in the Sprint Cup came at Kansas this year, and this one scheme, with great colors, great overall design, and great sponsor logos worked very well. I gave him 3rd, since everyone else on the list ran full schedules, and he only ran one race.
#4 Marcos Ambrose The Mac Tools scheme looks odd, with a great color scheme, but iffy overall design. The Stanley logo redesign could have worked well, but the black covering the front and headlights does not enhance the look at all. I was not a fan of this scheme at the beginning of the year, but some slight adjustments to the color scheme worked well.
#5 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. A “pinkwashing” scheme makes an appearance, which takes away from the overall grade. That said, this team has great color schemes all year, but some of the overall designs have a bit too much noise. Sponsor logos work well, and Ricky has had a great year.
Last, but certainly not least is Toyota.
#1 Michael Waltrip/Mark Martin/Brian Vickers Every scheme they have run has been a hit, with great color scheme, great overall design, great sponsor logos, and decent originality. No bad schemes here!
#2 Kyle Busch Overall great design, color schemes, and primary sponsor logos, Kyle also has the most original schemes of the top contenders for the Paint Schemie awards. That said, the Mprove America needs a different shade of blue, while the white Interstate Batteries scheme could use a different color besides white.
#3BK Racing Great color schemes, sponsor logos, and overall design. These designs work well, except for the Old Dominion scheme, which is just awful. Everything that the other schemes are, Old Dominion is not, and it is keeping BK Racing out of the top spot.
#4 Martin Truex Jr. Overall, this team works well when it comes to colors, overall design, originality, and primary sponsor logos, except for the camouflage scheme. The camouflage scheme was awful, and it knocked Martin out of the top spot.
#5 JTG Daugherty Racing Most of what they ran this year was great, but the Bushes Baked Beans car has an odd overall design, and a weird color scheme. The Clorox scheme has a bad color scheme, as does the Charter scheme. If these schemes were fixed, there is no reason why JTG Daugherty could be in the top spot.
Now I will take these top contenders, and rank them in order from worst to best. These top contenders should feel very proud that they have earned a spot on the countdown.
#13 Martin Truex Jr.
#11 Marcos Ambrose
#5 Kyle Busch
#4 Kurt Busch
And Finally The Paint Scheme Award for Best Paint Scheme Set of 2013 goes to:
Congratulations to everyone who won a First award, and to everyone who won a Worst award…paint your cars better!
To conclude the Paint Schemie Awards, I will finish with a top 10 list I have been wanting to do for quite a while. These are the
TOP 10 SPONSORS I MISS IN NASCAR
10 Skoal Bandit The shade of green they used was one of the best, and the car has a classic look that always looks good.
9 Kodiak A simple look, with my all-time favorite shade of green ever used on a race car. I have a lot of Kodiak race-used items, and they all look good.
8 Miller Genuine Draft Rusty’s MGD scheme had a much simpler design than the Miller Lite scheme, and it had a much better color scheme. I really hope they throwback to this scheme at some point.
7 Tide Are there any orange schemes that could ever live up to Tide? No, this is the best orange scheme in the history of auto racing.
6 Smokin’ Joe’s It had a great color scheme, and it had a very 1990′s design, that oddly enough still looks attractive.
5 Western Auto/Parts America The chrome numbers, the layered fading, the color scheme, it just comes together very well.
4 The Family Channel The logo is awesome, the colors can’t be any better, the lettering is great, and it just comes together very well.
3 Kodak If there is or was a better shade of yellow in NASCAR, I haven’t seen it yet!
2 Texaco/Havoline Great simple design, with an amazing hood logo, and great color scheme.
1 GM Goodwrench This scheme is, in a word, perfect. It doesn’t evolve, it doesn’t have to. It is simply perfect.
There is one last piece of business that I need to address. I like to keep it light on the Driver Suit Blog, but sometimes I have to address a news story that is heavy, like this story that was released on Thursday. Dario Franchiti, who has won 3 Indy 500′s, 4 Indycar Championships, and 21 races announced on Thursday, that due to injuries sustained at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on October 6. During that race, he was involved in a scary wreck, and suffered spinal and knee injuries that doctors have told him are too serious to resume his career. 13 fans, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time were injured in the wreck as well. I’m saddened that a talented driver had his career end like that, and I really wish it didn’t have to. But what I really hope is that IndyCar learns what lessons need to be learned, and make changes to safety so that the chances of this scenario repeating are lowered. I know that there will always be the risk of injury or death in auto racing, that adds to the mystique of the race car driver, but every wreck has a story to tell. These stories should be looked over, and changes made so that another talented in the prime of his career does not have to go through what Dario had to this week. Fans should also be able to go to a race, and not have to worry about getting hurt during a wreck. If the investigation in this incident results in changes that keep fans and drivers from serious injury in the future, than the lessons have been learned. My thoughts and prayers are with Dario and his Family right now.
By David G. FirestoneVideo matching is another way to authenticate a driver suit, though it is somewhat more complex than simple photo-matching. Whereas a photo stands still, video is in motion, and this method of authentication is more complex and can sometimes be problematic. I will give you the steps to make this happen.
First is that you need to find a video that may have the driver wearing the suit visible in it. Google and YouTube are very good for this. It will take some time, and can be frustrating. Once you think you have found it, you have to watch every second of the video to see if the driver is in fact in the video. This can and often is time consuming and frustrating. If you get lucky and find a video, take a screen shot, and isolate the driver. On a PC you hit prtScn and then save it on an image saving program such as Windows Paint. For Macs, you use Command-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it as a file on the desktop Once done, you can compare the screen shot to the real suit, as seen below: It needs to be noted that race-wear, that is wear that comes from racing does not always show up in video, as it is difficult to pinpoint when and where race-wear happened over the course of the season. In-car cameras can be used for video matching, but the downside to this is that since there is not a lot of the suit that shows up on in-car cameras during a race, this can be problematic, and can in some cases lead to a false identification of a suit.
In a number of instances, drivers appear in video games. Many racing games feature a select screen, where you can choose a driver, and they wear their suits as seen below:
Again, there is not a lot of the suit visible, so total identification can be difficult. I would wait until all other avenues have been exhausted.
The last way is to use a VHS tape of a race that has video of the driver in question. If at all possible, transfer the tape to a computer, or a DVD, but if that is not possible, then, as a last resort, take a picture of the screen, and use that to match the suit. It is not very scientific, and the quality will probably be low, but if it works, it works.
While it is not required to match a suit, real collectors who care about the hobby do so to make sure that they are getting the real deal when they buy a driver suit. But where exactly do you buy these suits? We’ll discuss that next week.
I must have said the word Nomex a thousand times on this blog, but what exactly is Nomex? In short, it is a flame-resistant meta-aramid cloth material. It is an aramid material, which is the same thing as Kevlar, but it is not as strong as a bulletproof vest, but it has great thermal, as well as chemical resistance, which makes it great for racing firesuits.
The development of the Nomex firesuit has been a long road. This road has seen its share of driver deaths and injuries. Before the Coca Cola 600, I discussed the deaths of Fireball Roberts, Eddie Sachs, and Dave McDonald in fire-related crashes over the course of 6 days in 1964. What took place from there would cross the paths of racing and a young drag racer.
Bill Simpson was born in Hermosa Beach, California in 1940. He took up drag racing at a young age, and at age 18, broke both arms in a drag racing crash. As he recuperated, he thought of safety in racing for the first time. He developed the idea of an X shaped parachute, and using materials from his uncle’s army surplus shop, developed a functional drag racing parachute. Don Garlits noticed the new parachutes, and took an interest, which helped the Simpson Drag Chute company to form. As time went on, he started making other racing equipment, which caught the attention of drivers, and, oddly enough, NASA. During a project, he met Pete Conrad, who introduced the now 27 year old Simpson to Nomex in 1967.
Nomex was created in 1967, for NASA. Far from the uses it has today, its main use at the time was for the Apollo Command Module parachutes. NASA needed a material that could stand up to the heat of reentering the earth’s atmosphere, and still remain fully functional. Simpson saw what the material could do, and decided it would work well to make driver suits, and other uniform items.
Contrary to what most people think, Nomex is not fire PROOF, rather it is fire RETARDENT. It does burn, but burns at a much slower rate, and that protects the driver in the event of a fire. Bill Simpson decided to show how much better this material was by having a “burn off.” He put on one of his Simpson racing suits, doused himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire. Though he was fully engulfed in flames, he was not hurt. Though he admits that is was a bad idea, it sold drivers on Nomex. Even today, 46 years later, Nomex is still the go-to material for driver suits.
Nomex is used for many other things. Nomex sheet is used in power cords for insulation. Fire-fighters use Nomex for protection in saving lives. Fighter pilots wear Nomex suits in case of cockpit fires. Nomex was developed for NASA and NASA still uses a lot of Nomex. It is used in what NASA refers to as the “Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit”, or in regular English, the “outer layer of a spacesuit.” The spacesuits that space shuttle astronauts wore on liftoff and touchdown were primarily made of Nomex. Almost every project that NASA has done in the last 40 years involves Nomex in one form or another, so it is a very versatile material.
Interestingly, as safety concerns increased, and safety equipment changes for the better, you begin to see that Nomex is beginning to have competition in the driver suit market in terms of fire protection. While I’m typically a traditionalist when it comes to sports uniforms, for driver suits that is a great thing. Developing a new material that serves the same purpose as Nomex, but can do it better and longer is a great thing. Eventually, Nomex will go the way of typewriters, film cameras, the printing press, and the floppy disk as an invention that is obsolete but changed the world.
Some new 2014 schemes released this week:
Danica Patrick #10 Apsen Dental Chevy SS Even though this scheme is better than the *ahem* current Aspen Dental scheme, it still does not look good. But it is still an improvement, and I’ll give it a C
Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SS Great color scheme-Check, Awesome use of Northwestern stripes-Check, classic design-Check, A+ Grade, Double-Check!
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Chevy SS The numbers kill what is otherwise a great scheme. I like everything else, but the color of the numbers looks really odd, and I can’t really say it adds to the car at all. Still it is a decent scheme, so I’ll give it a B
Now we move on to 2013
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx One Rate Toyota Camry Very clean look, with a very good color scheme, can’t say anything bad about this, A+
Greg Biffle #16 Pink 3M Ford Fusion Pinkwashing is an automatic F. I hate it when companies use causes like this to move products, so I show no mercy in this sence.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Pink 3M Ford Fusion See Above, F
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 My Best Buy Ford Fusion The blue used on this scheme is a tad too light, but it is still a decent scheme, though the lighter blue takes it from the A grade Best Buy had to an A-
Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil/Hertz Ford Fusion I’ll be honest, I want to give this scheme a better grade, but the Hertz logo just looks out of place here, and it is awkward on an already iffy scheme. Best I can give it is a D-
Cole Whitt #30 Black Clover Toyota Camry Swan Racing seems to go out of its way to design bad paint schemes this year, and this scheme is no exception. It has no redeeming features at all, and earns an F-
Jeff Burton #31 Sleep Innovations Chevy SS Great color scheme, though the design on the front is a bit overdone, still a good looking scheme that earns a solid B+
Aric Almirola #41 Maurice Petty Tribute Ford Fusion Tribute schemes have worked very well across the board, and this is no exception. Simple, timeless, yet attractive, a great tribute to a great engine builder. Extra points for using Maurice’s #41 for the weekend. Interestingly, Maurice raced in a total of 26 Sprint Cup races, and had 7 top 5′s and 16 top 10′s during the 1960′s.
Travis Kvapli #93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry An A+ scheme all around.