Paint Scheme Grades-March 25, 2017

By David G. Firestone

Austin Dillon #3 Dow/World Water Day Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, black front, water motif with a curve in front of the door number.D-

Kyle Busch #18 Skittles Toyota CamryNo change.A

Gray Gaulding #23 SunFrog.com Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, green front, black and green middle to rear.C+

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/FVP Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017 Menard’s template with FVP colors, black replaces silver.A

Landon Cassill #34 Starkey Hearing Foundation Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, Front Row template has been revamped, with blue and white color scheme.A

Cole Whitt #72 Standard Plumbing Supply Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, black with white and red letters and logos.B+

Corey LaJoie #83 BK Racing Graphics Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, black with red and silver stripes across sides.B-

Antron Brown-The NHRA’s First African American Nitro Champion’s Undershirt

brownshirtBy David G. Firestone

It’s sad that African Americans don’t have the success in auto racing they should. Auto racing has a reputation as a “white sport.” Yet drivers like Louis Hamilton, Wendell Scott, Darrell Wallace Jr., Willy T Ribbs, Tia Northfleet, Chase Austin, and Bill Lester have proven that African Americans do race, and are very talented. Looking over to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the most prominent African American driver continues to prove he is one of the best.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Antron Brown developed a love for drag racing at an early age. He joined the NHRA and raced up to Pro Stock Motorcycle, which he raced from 1998 to 2007, winning 18 races during his tenure. In 2008, after getting his nitro license, he joined Don Schumacher Racing, driving their newest Top Fuel team. 8 years, 45 Wallys, and three Top Fuel championships later, Brown has established himself as a top shelf driver, and his positive attitude and respect for the fans has established him as a fan favorite.

In 2011, the year before he won his first top fuel championship, Brown raced a full season for DSR, with sponsorship from both Matco Tools and Aaron’s. During that year, he won six races, made the final round 8 times, made the semi finals 14 times, made the quarter finals 22 times with a won/loss record of 41-18. During that season, he wore this size M Impact undershirt, which he autographed.brownshirtThe shirt shows light use, as it was one of many used in 2011, and has been autographed by Antron in silver Sharpie just below the Impact logo on the chest.brownshirtThe collar is a thick one, with a tag inside that has a date of “1-28-2011” written in Sharpie.brownshirt-collar brownshirt-tag1The front chest has an Impact logo on the center, just under the collar, and Antron has signed the area underneath in silver Sharpie.brownshirt-flogoThe front torso has no adornment, and on the bottom right-hand side, is an SF1 3.3 tag, as well as an Impact warranty label with an M size flag tag.brownshirt-tag2The shoulders and sleeves have no adornment at all.brownshirt-rshoulder brownshirt-rsleeve1 brownshirt-rsleeve2 brownshirt-lshoulder brownshirt-lsleeve1 brownshirt-lsleeve2The back of the shirt shows light wear, which is hard to photograph on the dark material, and has the same gold stitching as the front, but otherwise no adornment.brownshirtb brownshirt-neck brownshirt-blogoIn a sport were all drivers are on par with each other, Antron Brown has proven that African American race car drivers can have huge amounts of success. I wish there were more drivers who could have success in American auto racing. Antron is still racing, and he isn’t going anywhere for a while. Hopefully, he can add more wins and championships to his already great resume. Next week, I will discuss a driver suit from a Canadian driver.

Throwback Thursday-Tim Richmond-1981

In what was his last race before his jump to NASCAR, Tim Richmond poses with his 1981 #84 UNO/WTTV/Guarentee Auto Parnelli Cosworth

It’s a simple design, red with white lettering. It’s a great design, red with white lettering. It’s a great shade of red, and a great shade of white. It’s a solid A scheme that doesn’t say much because it doesn’t really have to. It’s a shame Tim’s IndyCar career ended the way it did. It’s also a shame Tim’s NASCAR career ended the way it did.

Paint Scheme Tracker-March 22, 2017

By David G. Firestone

CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #1

Jamie McMurray #1 GearWrench Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, black, with yellow, and red stripes across bottom. A

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna Chevy SSNo change. B+

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/McDonald’s Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, blue front, red rear, stripes between. A

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SSNo change. A

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Grand Mac Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, black, with green front and cutting edge design. A

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s/Cessna Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as Cessna/McDonald’s, but with colors reversed. A

Jamie McMurray #1 Credit One/Cessna Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, same as McDonald’s/Cessna but white replaces red. A

TEAM PENSKE #2

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford FusionNo Change A

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford FusionNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford FusionNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Auto Trader Ford FusionNo Change D-

Brad Keselowski #2 SKF Ford FusionNo Change. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, black front, with red designs near wheel well, white fade across quarter panels. A-

Austin Dillon #3 AAA Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme, but with a few minor stripe changes. D+

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SSNew sponsor for 2017, same basic scheme as 2016, but many of the stripes have been removed. A

Austin Dillon #3 Dow/Quikrete Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, same as Dow but with Quikrete on quarter panels. A-

Austin Dillon #3 Lucas Oil Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, similar to 2016 Dow, but with Lucas Oil on quarter panels, and the black stripe is curved. B+

Austin Dillon #3 Dow/World Water Day Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, black front, water motif with a curve in front of the door number. D-

STEWART-HAAS RACING #4

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, all blue with more detail in the mountains. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy John’s Ford FusionNo Change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, same as 2017 Busch, but with Busch Light on quarter panel. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #5

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SSNo Change. C+

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SSNo Change. D+

Kasey Kahne #5 Liftmaster Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, silver, with black door, and red stripes. A

Kasey Kahne #5 UniFrst Chevy SSNo Change. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #6

Trevor Bayne #6 Liberty National Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, blue with silver and white across sides, white roof. B-

Trevor Bayne #6 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford FusionExcept for the change from 16 to 6, no change. B-

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, white with multi-colored checkerboard pattern on bottom. A

TOMMY BALDWIN RACING #7

Elliott Sadler #7 Golden Corral Chevy SSNo change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #10

Danica Patrick #10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, white front, green stripe, and blue bottom. A

Danica Patrick #10 Aspen Dental Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, lighter blue, Post-It motif replaced by silver wing, and some minor color changes. F

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme as 2016, but side and front stripes are bigger. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #11

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, lighter blue, with an orange paintbrush design on sides. B-

GERMAIN RACING #13

Ty Dillon #13 Geico Chevy SS-No change. A

Ty Dillon #13 Twisted Tea Chevy SSAside from the new team, no change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #14

Clint Bowyer #14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion-New scheme for 2017, white top, red and white stripe across side, blue bottom. A

Clint Bowyer #14 Haas Automotion Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, red top, black bottom, white stripes across sides. A

PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #15

Michael Waltrip #15 Aaron’s Toyota Camry-New scheme for 2017, blue photo motif across car, white hood, yellow door numbers. D-

Reed Sorenson #15 Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, black with white numbers. A

Reed Sorenson #15 The Maids Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, yellow with blue lettering and numbers. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Sunny D Ford FusionNo change. F

Rickey Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Comemorative Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme, but the colors have been reversed. A

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford FusionNo change. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #18

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryAside from moving the characters around, no major changes for 2017. A

Kyle Busch #18 Snickers Crispier Toyota CamryNo change. B-

Kyle Busch #18 Skittles Toyota CamryNo change. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #19

Daniel Suarez #19 Arris Toyota CamrySame basic scheme as 2016, Aaris replaces Surfboard. A

Daniel Suarez #19 Stanley Toyota CamryNo change. B+

JOE GIBBS RACING #20

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt/Flexwolt Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, yellow, with black stripes up the sides and hood. A

Matt Kenseth #20 Interstate Batteries Toyota CamryNew sponsor for 2017, same as 2016 #18. F

Matt Kenseth #20 Tide Pods Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017 orange front with subtle designs, blue rear with subtle designs. F

Matt Kenseth #20 PEAK Antifreeze Toyota CamryNew sponsor for 2017, similar to 2016 #15, but spikes are more pronounced. A

Matt Kenseth #20 Blue Def Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, same as PEAK but with colors reversed. A

WOOD BROTHER RACING #21

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft Ford FusionNo Change. A

TEAM PENSKE #22

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change D

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford FusionNo Change. D

Joey Logano #22 Auto Trader Ford FusionNo Change. D-

Joey Logano #22 AAA of Southern California Ford FusionNo Change. D

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Ford FusionNew scheme for 2016, all yellow, with some lighter yellow geometrical designs across car. A

BK RACING #23

Joey Gase #23 Best Furnishing Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, blue with paintbrush style white and yellow designs across side. F

Joey Gase #23 Schluter Systems Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme, but stripes have been replaced by geometric designs D-

Joey Gase #23 Dr. Pepper Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme as 2016, but angled lines replace curved lines. B+

Gray Gaulding #23 SunFrog.com Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, green front, black and green middle to rear. C+

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24

Chase Elliott #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme as 2016, but with yellow accents across sides. A

Chase Elliott #24 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, design similar to #11 FedEx. A

Chase Elliott #24 Sun Energy Chevy SSNo Change. F

Chase Elliott #24 Hooters Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, white sides with orange stripes, orange roof. C-

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #27

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Richmond Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, black front, yellow sides, black at bottom of wheel well. A

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Peak Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, new Menard’s template with Peak colors. A

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Valvoline Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, new Menard’s template with 2016 setup. A

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/FVP Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017 Menard’s template with FVP colors, black replaces silver. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #31

Ryan Newman #31 CAT Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, white with black cutting edge design on front, black stripe across hood and top of car. B-

Ryan Newman #31 Granger Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, red replaces green, black replaces white and red. A

GO FAS RACING #32

Matt DiBenedetto #32 EJ Wade Foundation Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, white with blue ribbon design on sides. F

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Cosmo Motors Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme for 2017, but circle around door has been removed. B-

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Can Am/Kappa Ford FusionNo change. F

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Keen Parts Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, white with black stripe and red roof and door numbers. A

CIRCLE SPORT/TMG MOTORSPORTS #33

Jeffery Earnhardt #33 Starter Chevy SSAside from the new team, no change. A

Jeffery Earnhardt #33 Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as Starter, but with no logos. A

FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #34

Landon Cassill #34 Love’s Truck Stops Ford FusionNo change. A

Landon Cassill #34 Starkey Hearing Foundation Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, Front Row template has been revamped, with blue and white color scheme. A

JTG DAUGHERTY RACING #37

Chris Buescher #37 Cottonelle Chevy SS-New team for 2017, white sides with blue roof and bottom. A

Chris Buescher #37 Kroger Checklist Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as #47 Kroger. B+

Chris Buescher #37 Bush’s Baked Beans Chevy SSNew sponsor for 2017, aside from team change, no change.B+

Chris Buescher #37 Natural Light Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, light blue with white and dark blue patriotic designs. B+

FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #38

David Ragan #38 Camping World/Good Sam Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, blue front, yellow and red oval design on rear. B-

David Ragan #38 Jacob Companies Ford FusionNew sponsor for 2017, blue with white and silver zig-zag design across car. C-

David Ragan #38 Juice Battery Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, blue, tan, black and red with a series of stripes across the whole side of the car. F

STEWART-HAAS RACING #41

Kurt Busch #41 Monster Ford FusionNo Change. A

Kurt Busch #41 Haas Ford FusionNo Change. A

Kurt Busch #41 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, same as #14, but with green replacing blue. A

Kurt Busch #41 Mobil 1 Annual Protection Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as other SHR Mobil 1 schemes, but with gold trim. A

CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #42

Kyle Larson #42 Credit One Chevy SSAside from the new car number, no change. F

Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SSNo change. A

RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #43

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford FusionNo Change. B+

Aric Almiroa #43 U.S. Air Force Ford FusionNew scheme for 2016, same basic scheme, but with more lightning. A

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford FusionNo change. B-

Aric Almirola #43 Fresh From Florida Ford FusionNo change. F

JTG DAUGHERTY RACING #47

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger/Stouffers/Cheez It’s Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, white with blue diagonal stripes, and black and red curves across sides. B+

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #48

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, light blue with diagonal stripes and geometric patterns on side. F

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, dark blue with diagonal stripes and geometric patterns on side. F

RICK WARE RACING #51

Timmy Hill #51 Spoonful Music Foundation Chevy SS-New team for 2017, white with racing stripe design on hood, plain white sides. A

Cody Ware #51 Spoonful Music Foundation Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as #51 white, but black and colors reversed. A

Timmy Hill #51 Dashub Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, blue with silver, white, and red cutting edge designs across signs.B-

PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #55

Derrike Cope #55 Wade Tractor/adrenalinpwr.com Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, black with Wade Tractor on hood, and adrenalinpwr.com logo on sides. A

Derrike Cope #55 Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, black with white numbers. A

TRISTAR MOTORSPORTS #72

Cole Whitt #72 Florida Lottery Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, black sides, orange and blue hood to roof. D-

Cole Whitt #72 Rinnai Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, white with black and red Rinnai logos on sides and hood. B+

Cole Whitt #72 Standard Plumbing Supply Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, black with white and red letters and logos. B+

BEARD RACING #75

Brendan Gaughan #75 Beard Oil Chevy SS-New team for 2017, all black with white logos and numbers. A

FURNITURE ROW RACING #77

Erik Jones #77 5-Hour Energy Toyota CamryNew team for 2017, red front, red and yellow lightning stripe across black sides, red rear. C-

Erik Jones #77 5-Hour Energy Extra Stength Toyota Camry-New scheme for 2017, same as 2017 5-Hour Energy, but with Extra Strength on sides and hood. C-

Erik Jone #77 Sirius/XM Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, black with blue and silver designs across whole car. F

FURNITURE ROW RACING #78

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Toyota CamryNo change. A

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Auto Owner’s Insurance Toyota CamryNo change. A

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Bass Pro Shops Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, red and black stripes with a camo stripe at the bottom. C-

Martin Truex Jr. #78 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, same as #77. C-

BK RACING #83

Corey LaJoie #83 Dustless Blasting Toyota CamryNo change. B-

Corey LaJoie #83 JAS Trucking Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, black with blue door numbers and white lettering and white stripes. D-

Corey LaJoie #83 BK Racing Graphics Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, black with red and silver stripes across sides. B-

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, blue design similar to last year’s. with blue vertical stripes next to silver door numbers. A

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Axalta Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, yellow front, a series of red and yellow geometrical designs across sides, red rear. F

LEAVINE FAMILY RACING #95

Michael McDowell #95 K-LOVE Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, same colors, but with stripes across front half of sides. A

Michael McDowell #95 WRL Contractors Chevy SSNo change. A

GAUNT BROS RACING #96

DJ Kennington #96 Lordco Toyota Camry-New team for 2017, blue front, black middle, white rear, curve stripes between the three. C-

My Thoughts on Some Racing Issues

By David G. Firestone

So far, the stage system in NASCAR hasn’t been as exciting as NASCAR would have hoped. I’m not against it, but I do have a few ideas for making it better:

1-The total number of laps should be cut into three and anything that happens between stages shouldn’t count. For example, the Phoenix race is 312 laps. Stage one should be 79 laps, stage two should be 104 laps, and the final stage should be 129 laps. The laps in between wouldn’t be scored.

2-Pit road should be closed 5 laps before the end of the stage.

3-Once the stage ends, the field is frozen for the duration of the in between section, pit stops included. This would ensure that everyone is on an equal plane when it comes to pit stops.

4-The free pass rule will still be in effect for the end of the stage.

The other problem is the new 5-minute rule for repairing damage. It’s main flaw is that it starts the second the driver hits pit road. Drivers are losing as much as one minute of that 5 minutes because of pit in. The rule should be the instant the driver hits their pit lane is when the clock begins. That would work out better, and be easily enforced. Darrell Waltrip said it first, and I tend to agree.

Moving on to the NHRA, last Friday, I discussed the Wally for best-looking car. I mentioned that many people find the best-looking car Wally to be irritating, and they feel it devalues the Wally as a whole. Well, this Wally has its own sponsor, and the winners are getting recognition on the television broadcasts now. The racing is great, and I’m not going to complain when the racing is great.

IndyCar is up next. Whoever came up with their schedule for 2017 needs to be slapped in the mouth. A couple weeks ago, they had the Grand Prix of St. Petersberg, and it was a great race. As of today, the next race won’t be for another 19 days. From the end of the race to the next race is 28 FREAKING DAYS! Between a gap like that, and the memorabilia issue that I discussed a few weeks ago, I really have to wonder where the heads of IndyCar are at. IndyCar has a lot going for it, but the higher ups won’t capitalize on momentum, or on public demand.

Formula 1 has their season opener on Sunday, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m not a big F1 fan, but the racing is usually good, and I can’t wait.

Paint Scheme Grades-March 18, 2017

By David G. Firestone

Jamie McMurray #1 Credit One/Cessna Chevy SS-The color change works well, and the design looks good.  I give it an A.

Austin Dillon #3 Lucas Oil Chevy SS-The curve stripe doesn’t look good on the middle of the car.  Had it been on the bottom, it would be better.  It’s still not a bad scheme, and it’s worth a B+.

Matt Kenseth #20 PEAK Antifreeze Toyota Camry-Peak always has great schemes, and this is another example,  The more pronounced spikes make the car look good, and it’s a great A scheme.

Matt Kenseth #20 Blue Def Toyota Camry-For some schemes, reversing the colors can be a disaster, this scheme is great!  It works quite well, and has a great look.  A

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Valvoline Chevy SS-The new Menard’s template works very well, and the Valvoline scheme is a great look.  It works very well with the template, and the scheme is an A scheme.

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Keen Parts Ford Fusion-Keen Parts has had some awful schemes up until recently.  This is an example of how well they have advanced as a sponsor with their schemes.  This is a great scheme with a great color scheme.  It works well, and it looks good.  A

Chris Buescher #37 Natural Light Chevy SS-This is something that annoys me to no end, if you are going to do patriotic schemes, USE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, Dark blue, light blue, and white, doesn’t work as a patriotic scheme.  That said, dumb color scheme aside, the car does have a good look, and the color scheme, while not patriotic, is still good, so I’ll give it a B+.

David Ragan #38 Juice Battery Ford Fusion-This is the worst color scheme I’ve seen in a while, and the car is so over designed, it just looks awful.  I’m going to be generous, and give this scheme an F.

Timmy Hill #51 Dashub Chevy SS-The cutting edge design can work, but with the odd color scheme, it looks off.  It doesn’t look bad, but it looks odd.  It’s a good color scheme, and a good design scheme, but they don’t work together.  It’s a B- scheme.

Derrike Cope #55 Chevy SS-Great color and a smooth design scheme will always earn an A.

Corey LaJoie #83 JAS Trucking Toyota Camry-The police motif doesn’t work here, and the stripes don’t work.  I thought when I first saw this scheme that it was a police sponsor, but it’s a trucking sponsor.  The color scheme is decent, but the design scheme doesn’t work as a scheme.  I’ll give it a D-.

Is This A Real NHRA Award, Or A Participation Trophy?

gywnnwally-1By David G. Firestone

The son of former top alcohol funny car driver Jerry Gwynn, Darrell Gwynn knew from a young age he wanted to race dragsters. When Darrell Gwynn hit the NHRA as a second generation top alcohol dragster driver in 1980, his talent and drive caught the eye of a lot of people. In 1981, he won three events, and became the first second generation top alcohol dragster national event winner. In 1983, he won two events, and became the first second generation top alcohol champion.

In 1985, after winning 10 top alcohol event wins, he got his “nitro license” and joined the top fuel ranks. While his first season was unremarkable, he would win four races in 1986, and come close to beating Don Garlitts for the top fuel championship. From then on, he would win a total of 18 races from 1986 to 1990. He would be a factor in the championships in all of those seasons. His last win was at the 1990 Gatornationals.

Sadly, his career didn’t have a happy ending. In 1990, at an event at Santa Pod Raceway in Podington, Bedfordshire, England, he was racing, when his car broke, and crashed at 240 MPH. Darrell survived, but was left paralyzed, thus ending his racing career. Gwynn would continue in the NHRA, not as a driver, but as an owner. He would race with Frank Hawley, Mike Brotherton, Mike Dunn, Andrew Cowin and Cory McClenathan, and earn 15 national event wins. In addition, he works for the benefit of those with spinal injuries.

I’ve discussed the history of the Wally before. Basically, the Wally is given to the winners of NHRA national events. Every class has one winner. One discussion among drivers and fans is that there is a Wally that is given out to the best looking car at every NHRA national event. There are many who feel that the best looking car Wally devalues the Wally as a whole. Yet the NHRA continues to give them out. The best looking car Wally is the participation award of the NHRA. I thought this was a recent thing, but this dates to at least 1985.

At the 1985 Southern Nationals, Don Garlitts beat Joe Amato to take the event Wally, but the best looking car Wally would go to Darrell Gwynn, in his 1985 Dave Uyehera made top fuel dragster. I recently acquired the Wally from the event, which Darrell has autographed.gywnnwally-1It’s in great condition, and shows some light signs of age and wear.gywnnwally-1 gywnnwally-2 gywnnwally-3 gywnnwally-4 gywnnwally-7Darrell has signed the base in black Sharpie.gywnnwally-5 gywnnwally-6When it comes to the idea that the best looking car is little more than a participation award, I do think it could be seen as such. However, in this day in age, teams and sponsors spend a large amount of time making their cars look good, so to be the best looking car can be seen as validation of this design effort. Either way, the Wally for best looking car isn’t going away anytime soon.

In many ways Darrell Gwynn’s story is the same as many other drivers. A hugely talented and driven individual gets to the big leagues, shows a lot of talent, impresses a lot of people, then has a big wreck, and his career either ends, or is never the same afterwards. It’s a sad fact of auto racing that there are many drivers who haven’t had the careers they should have because of bad wrecks. Darrell’s story should be heard by many young drivers, since it could happen to them. Next week, we’ll look at a shirt worn by an underappreciated top fuel legend.

Throwback Thursday-Sheldon Kinser-1981

Sheldon Kinser poses with his 1981 #81 Sergio Valente/Longhorn Racing Longhorn / Cosworth

Black and gold is a great color scheme for a car, and this example proves that. The white is a bit over done, and it does look kind of forced. The western theme works well, and it’s a solid B+ scheme. Sadly, Sheldon passed away from cancer in 1988. This is how the world should remember him.

Paint Scheme Tracker-March 15, 2017

By David G. Firestone

CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #1

Jamie McMurray #1 GearWrench Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, black, with yellow, and red stripes across bottom. A

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna Chevy SSNo change. B+

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/McDonald’s Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, blue front, red rear, stripes between. A

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SSNo change. A

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Grand Mac Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, black, with green front and cutting edge design. A

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s/Cessna Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as Cessna/McDonald’s, but with colors reversed. A

Jamie McMurray #1 Credit One/Cessna Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, same as McDonald’s/Cessna but white replaces red. A

TEAM PENSKE #2

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford FusionNo Change A

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford FusionNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford FusionNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Auto Trader Ford FusionNo Change D-

Brad Keselowski #2 SKF Ford FusionNo Change. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, black front, with red designs near wheel well, white fade across quarter panels. A-

Austin Dillon #3 AAA Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme, but with a few minor stripe changes. D+

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SSNew sponsor for 2017, same basic scheme as 2016, but many of the stripes have been removed. A

Austin Dillon #3 Dow/Quikrete Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, same as Dow but with Quikrete on quarter panels. A-

Austin Dillon #3 Lucas Oil Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, similar to 2016 Dow, but with Lucas Oil on quarter panels, and the black stripe is curved. B+

STEWART-HAAS RACING #4

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, all blue with more detail in the mountains. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy John’s Ford FusionNo Change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, same as 2017 Busch, but with Busch Light on quarter panel. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #5

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SSNo Change. C+

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SSNo Change. D+

Kasey Kahne #5 Liftmaster Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, silver, with black door, and red stripes. A

Kasey Kahne #5 UniFrst Chevy SSNo Change. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #6

Trevor Bayne #6 Liberty National Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, blue with silver and white across sides, white roof. B-

Trevor Bayne #6 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford FusionExcept for the change from 16 to 6, no change. B-

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, white with multi-colored checkerboard pattern on bottom. A

TOMMY BALDWIN RACING #7

Elliott Sadler #7 Golden Corral Chevy SSNo change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #10

Danica Patrick #10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, white front, green stripe, and blue bottom. A

Danica Patrick #10 Aspen Dental Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, lighter blue, Post-It motif replaced by silver wing, and some minor color changes. F

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme as 2016, but side and front stripes are bigger. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #11

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, lighter blue, with an orange paintbrush design on sides. B-

GERMAIN RACING #13

Ty Dillon #13 Geico Chevy SS-No change. A

Ty Dillon #13 Twisted Tea Chevy SSAside from the new team, no change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #14

Clint Bowyer #14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion-New scheme for 2017, white top, red and white stripe across side, blue bottom. A

Clint Bowyer #14 Haas Automotion Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, red top, black bottom, white stripes across sides. A

PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #15

Michael Waltrip #15 Aaron’s Toyota Camry-New scheme for 2017, blue photo motif across car, white hood, yellow door numbers. D-

Reed Sorenson #15 Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, black with white numbers. A

Reed Sorenson #15 The Maids Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, yellow with blue lettering and numbers. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Sunny D Ford FusionNo change. F

Rickey Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Comemorative Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme, but the colors have been reversed. A

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford FusionNo change. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #18

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryAside from moving the characters around, no major changes for 2017. A

Kyle Busch #18 Snickers Crispier Toyota CamryNo change. B-

JOE GIBBS RACING #19

Daniel Suarez #19 Arris Toyota CamrySame basic scheme as 2016, Aaris replaces Surfboard. A

Daniel Suarez #19 Stanley Toyota CamryNo change. B+

JOE GIBBS RACING #20

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt/Flexwolt Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, yellow, with black stripes up the sides and hood. A

Matt Kenseth #20 Interstate Batteries Toyota CamryNew sponsor for 2017, same as 2016 #18. F

Matt Kenseth #20 Tide Pods Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017 orange front with subtle designs, blue rear with subtle designs. F

Matt Kenseth #20 PEAK Antifreeze Toyota CamryNew sponsor for 2017, similar to 2016 #15, but spikes are more pronounced. A

Matt Kenseth #20 Blue Def Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, same as PEAK but with colors reversed. A

WOOD BROTHER RACING #21

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft Ford FusionNo Change. A

TEAM PENSKE #22

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change D

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford FusionNo Change. D

Joey Logano #22 Auto Trader Ford FusionNo Change. D-

Joey Logano #22 AAA of Southern California Ford FusionNo Change. D

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Ford FusionNew scheme for 2016, all yellow, with some lighter yellow geometrical designs across car. A

BK RACING #23

Joey Gase #23 Best Furnishing Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, blue with paintbrush style white and yellow designs across side. F

Joey Gase #23 Schluter Systems Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme, but stripes have been replaced by geometric designs D-

Joey Gase #23 Dr. Pepper Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme as 2016, but angled lines replace curved lines. B+

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24

Chase Elliott #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme as 2016, but with yellow accents across sides. A

Chase Elliott #24 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, design similar to #11 FedEx. A

Chase Elliott #24 Sun Energy Chevy SSNo Change. F

Chase Elliott #24 Hooters Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, white sides with orange stripes, orange roof. C-

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #27

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Richmond Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, black front, yellow sides, black at bottom of wheel well. A

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Peak Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, new Menard’s template with Peak colors. A

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Valvoline Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, new Menard’s template with 2016 setup. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #31

Ryan Newman #31 CAT Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, white with black cutting edge design on front, black stripe across hood and top of car. B-

Ryan Newman #31 Granger Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, red replaces green, black replaces white and red. A

GO FAS RACING #32

Matt DiBenedetto #32 EJ Wade Foundation Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, white with blue ribbon design on sides. F

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Cosmo Motors Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, same basic scheme for 2017, but circle around door has been removed. B-

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Can Am/Kappa Ford FusionNo change. F

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Keen Parts Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, white with black stripe and red roof and door numbers. A

CIRCLE SPORT/TMG MOTORSPORTS #33

Jeffery Earnhardt #33 Starter Chevy SSAside from the new team, no change. A

Jeffery Earnhardt #33 Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as Starter, but with no logos. A

FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #34

Landon Cassill #34 Love’s Truck Stops Ford FusionNo change. A

JTG DAUGHERTY RACING #37

Chris Buescher #37 Cottonelle Chevy SS-New team for 2017, white sides with blue roof and bottom. A

Chris Buescher #37 Kroger Checklist Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as #47 Kroger. B+

Chris Buescher #37 Bush’s Baked Beans Chevy SSNew sponsor for 2017, aside from team change, no change.B+

Chris Buescher #37 Natural Light Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, light blue with white and dark blue patriotic designs. B+

FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #38

David Ragan #38 Camping World/Good Sam Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, blue front, yellow and red oval design on rear. B-

David Ragan #38 Jacob Companies Ford FusionNew sponsor for 2017, blue with white and silver zig-zag design across car. C-

David Ragan #38 Juice Battery Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, blue, tan, black and red with a series of stripes across the whole side of the car. F

STEWART-HAAS RACING #41

Kurt Busch #41 Monster Ford FusionNo Change. A

Kurt Busch #41 Haas Ford FusionNo Change. A

Kurt Busch #41 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2017, same as #14, but with green replacing blue. A

Kurt Busch #41 Mobil 1 Annual Protection Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as other SHR Mobil 1 schemes, but with gold trim. A

CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #42

Kyle Larson #42 Credit One Chevy SSAside from the new car number, no change. F

Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SSNo change. A

RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #43

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford FusionNo Change. B+

Aric Almiroa #43 U.S. Air Force Ford FusionNew scheme for 2016, same basic scheme, but with more lightning. A

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford FusionNo change. B-

Aric Almirola #43 Fresh From Florida Ford FusionNo change. F

JTG DAUGHERTY RACING #47

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger/Stouffers/Cheez It’s Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, white with blue diagonal stripes, and black and red curves across sides. B+

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #48

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, light blue with diagonal stripes and geometric patterns on side. F

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, dark blue with diagonal stripes and geometric patterns on side. F

RICK WARE RACING #51

Timmy Hill #51 Spoonful Music Foundation Chevy SS-New team for 2017, white with racing stripe design on hood, plain white sides. A

Cody Ware #51 Spoonful Music Foundation Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, same as #51 white, but black and colors reversed. A

Timmy Hill #51 Dashub Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, blue with silver, white, and red cutting edge designs across signs.B-

PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #55

Derrike Cope #55 Wade Tractor/adrenalinpwr.com Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, black with Wade Tractor on hood, and adrenalinpwr.com logo on sides. A

Derrike Cope #55 Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, black with white numbers. A

TRISTAR MOTORSPORTS #72

Cole Whitt #72 Florida Lottery Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, black sides, orange and blue hood to roof. D-

Cole Whitt #72 Rinnai Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2017, white with black and red Rinnai logos on sides and hood. B+

BEARD RACING #75

Brendan Gaughan #75 Beard Oil Chevy SS-New team for 2017, all black with white logos and numbers. A

FURNITURE ROW RACING #77

Erik Jones #77 5-Hour Energy Toyota CamryNew team for 2017, red front, red and yellow lightning stripe across black sides, red rear. C-

Erik Jones #77 5-Hour Energy Extra Stength Toyota Camry-New scheme for 2017, same as 2017 5-Hour Energy, but with Extra Strength on sides and hood. C-

Erik Jone #77 Sirius/XM Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, black with blue and silver designs across whole car. F

FURNITURE ROW RACING #78

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Toyota CamryNo change. A

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Auto Owner’s Insurance Toyota CamryNo change. A

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Bass Pro Shops Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, red and black stripes with a camo stripe at the bottom. C-

Martin Truex Jr. #78 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2017, same as #77. C-

BK RACING #83

Corey LaJoie #83 Dustless Blasting Toyota CamryNo change. B-

Corey LaJoie #83 JAS Trucking Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, black with blue door numbers and white lettering and white stripes. D-

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, blue design similar to last year’s. with blue vertical stripes next to silver door numbers. A

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Axalta Chevy SS-New scheme for 2017, yellow front, a series of red and yellow geometrical designs across sides, red rear. F

LEAVINE FAMILY RACING #95

Michael McDowell #95 K-LOVE Chevy SSNew scheme for 2017, same colors, but with stripes across front half of sides. A

Michael McDowell #95 WRL Contractors Chevy SSNo change. A

GAUNT BROS RACING #96

DJ Kennington #96 Lordco Toyota Camry-New team for 2017, blue front, black middle, white rear, curve stripes between the three. C-