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Paint Scheme Leaderboard-Week #2-Ford

Ford

By David G. Firestone

Last Week, Chevy teams were ranked. This week, the Paint Scheme Ranking Executive Committee, made up of myself, and Alejandro my black cat have determined how Ford’s teams will be ranked. Alejandro was slightly more useful this week, keeping my leg warm while he slept. As with last week, teams that did not exist or did not run Fords last year will be marked with NR for Not Ranked.

1-Wood Brothers #21 Rank Last Year:1st of 17-The Wood Brothers always design great cars, and the Quick Lane scheme uses the blue very well. It all looks good!

2-Team Penske #2 Rank Last Year:6th of 17-The Wurth and Redd’s Apple Ale schemes are a bit over designed, but the white Miller Lite schemes, Alliance Truck Parts, and Detroit Genuine Parts schemes make up for it.

3-Roush Fenway Racing #6 Rank Last Year:NR-This would be ranked higher, as it has a somewhat vintage look, but the candy cane on the nose looks odd. It’s still a good scheme.

4-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Rank Last Year:2nd of 17-The Ekcrich camouflage scheme doesn’t work, camouflage schemes rarely do. The Charter green is horrible, but the rest of the schemes look really good.

5-Levine Family Racing #95 Rank Last Year:16th of 17-The TWD schemes look medicore, but could be worse. The template Levine Family Racing switched too this year looks great and the cars look very good too.

6-Front Row Motorsports #34 Rank Last Year:11th of 17-The majority of the schemes look great, but the upside down lettering on the hood of the CSX scheme looks odd. The Wendell Scott scheme is amazing!

7-Humphery Racing #77 Rank Last Year:NR-Plinker Arms doesn’t look great but it could be worse. That applies to Essex Homes as well. The rest of the schemes look good.

8-Front Row Motorsports #35 Rank Last Year:10th of 17-The Hefty scheme is a little unorthodox, silver and orange isn’t a great combo, but the design looks good. MDS looks good.

9-Team Penske #12 Rank Last Year:3rd of 17-The SKF scheme works very well. The Penske Truck Rental scheme uses a horrible shade of orange, and just looks hideous.

10-Phil Parsons Racing #98 Rank Last Year: 15th of 17-While I like the Dogecoin,Trench Shoring,iRacing, black Curb Records, and unsponsored black schemes, anything else looks horrendous.

11-Front Row Motorsports #38 Rank Last Year:9th of 17-Most of the schemes are good, but the Love’s Truck Stops, and Love’s Truck Stops Camo schemes are horrific.

12-Roush Fenway Racing #17 Rank Last Year:5th of 17-Eco-Power has awful shades of green. Pit for a pair is awful even for a pink-washing scheme. Zest has a good color scheme, but awful design scheme,as does Fifth-Third Bank. Their all-star scheme was terrible. Ford Eco-Boost, NOS, and Nationwide work very well.

13-Richard Petty Motorsports #9 Rank Last Year:4th of 17-Can all be summed up with Great color schemes but mediocre design schemes. The camo scheme looks bad, but the upside is that the camo is subtle.

14-Team Penske #22 Rank Last Year:14th of 17-The Shell/Pennzoil scheme has a decent color scheme but a bad design scheme. Anything Pennzoil Platnum is awful, as is Auto Trader. The Auto Club scheme has a great color scheme but a bad design scheme.

15-Roush Fenway Racing #99 Rank Last Year:12th of 17-Fastenal looks good, but anything else looks terrible.

16-Go FAS Racing #32 Rank Last Year:8th of 17-The Terry Labonte throwback scheme was amazing, but most of their other schemes are over-designed messes.

17-Roush Fenway Racing #16 Rank Last Year:7th of 17-Every scheme is terrible.

Ford is in the rearview mirror, but next week we move on to Toyota!

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My Thoughts on 2014 Manufacturers Strategies

By David G. Firestone

The 2014 racing season is officially history. The racing as a whole was great to watch, and congrats to Lewis Hamilton, Will Power, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliot, Matt Crafton, Tony Schumacher, Matt Hagan, Erica Enders-Stevens, and Andrew Hines on their championships. You’ve earned them, so enjoy them.

I noticed a few things this year that kind of surprised me, when it comes to how manufacturers approach racing. I’ll address them each in this article. I’ll start with Chevrolet, who I have to confess I have a lot of respect for. They are doing everything right. Chevy has the horsepower, the durability, and the momentum. In NASCAR, in the Camping World, Nationwide and Sprint Cup series they won 38 of 91 races. They have been the dominant team in NASCAR, and their return to IndyCar has been successful as well, winning 12 of 18. I like what they are doing this season.

It seems, at least to me that they foster competition between the teams that build engines, and then take the technical data and improve their racing department as a whole. That gives them an advantage over Ford and Toyota, at least in NASCAR, who tend to take an “all for one and one for all approach,” but I’ll get to that in a bit. Bottom line, I like what Chevy has done

Moving on to Ford, they were strong, winning 24 of 91 races. But in my mind, this was Ford’s season to make something happen. Ford has struggled in NASCAR over the years, and I thought that if Ford didn’t make something happen they might pull back on their NASCAR program. I think that they dropped the ball this season. In NASCAR, their “all for one and one for all” approach might work, if not for the fact that in includes Jack Roush. As an owner, I regard him the same way I regarded Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders, or William Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks. Basically I hold little hope for the team having real success until Jack Roush dies. Sounds crass, but that is the truth. Roush Fenway Racing should have more Sprint Cup Championships than they do, and I think Roush is the problem. Why he distrusts the free agent market is a mystery to me. He has rigidly stuck with his “gong show” format for signing development drivers but won’t sign a free agent to save his life. Even Joe Gibbs, as stubborn as he is, will now use the free agent market to his advantage.

I would like to see Ford do better in NASCAR, but I think that the lack of competition is hurting them. Ford has a lot of talent, but they don’t have the success to back it up in NASCAR. In the NHRA I don’t understand why they announced they were pulling out when they did. Both Ford and Castrol announced within a week of each other that they were leaving the NHRA, and it put John Force under a lot of pressure, and I think cost them the Championship. I have to question the judgment of Ford when your decision costs your most noticable team a championship in the long run. Not smart at all.

Toyota, you’re up. They won 28 of 91 races in NASCAR but that doesn’t tell the story entirely. They won 17 of 22 Camping World Truck Series races, and the Championship. In the Nationwide Series, they won 10 races, but in the Sprint Cup, they won two points races. At Daytona, they looked to be the team to beat, winning the Sprint Unlimited and both duel races, but had no success, winning two races, the second of which was the 10th of 36. So to recap, from May 10 at Kansas to November 16 at Homestead Miami, Toyota didn’t win a single race. It’s amazing how a team that is as close-knit as Toyota can have as little success as they do. How can a team be so dominant in the Truck Series, but all but dead in the Sprint Cup? It boggles the mind. Toyota has talent on their roster, but they didn’t do anything with it in 2014. It’s amazing how the most solid of the 3 major manufacturers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has no direction or leadership at all.

And forget Toyota in the NHRA. Again it amazes me how a team with lots of talent on the roster can be all but invisible when it comes to the championship. Toyota had a lot of drivers in the Countdown to One but none of them did anything worthwhile in the Countdown. I was amazed that Dodge swept the nitro Championships considering who was on Toyota’s roster. It came down to Dodge Vs. Ford for the Championship. It wasn’t what Toyota had wanted at all.

While we’re on the subject of Toyota, I’d like to talk about Don Schumacher Racing for a minute. Why of the 7 drivers at DSR is Antron Brown the only Toyota driver when the other cars are using Dodge equipment? I can’t be the only one to have noticed this. 6 of the 7 cars are running Mopar equipment, Hell Matt Hagan is SPONSORED by Mopar, but for reasons I still don’t get, Antron Brown is running Toyota engines. Instead of having all 7 teams on one page, 6 teams are on one page, 1 team is on another page. I don’t get this logic at all. Why not use the Hendrick method, where all teams are running the same equipment, and are working as a cohesive unit to make the team better as a whole? Well I don’t know, and it doesn’t make sense to me.

Honda, you are last. You were the top dog in IndyCar for many years, but the moment Chevy comes back, you get smacked down to the worse of two teams. In 3 seasons back in IndyCar, Chevy has had your number for all 3 of them. Again you have talent, but because there was no development through competition over the years, you have been catching up. So I expect you to start stepping up, and stepping up soon.

While there were issues with the various manufacturers in 2014, the racing as a whole was worth watching, and made the sport so much fun this season. I look forward to 2015, and so will you!

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Paint Scheme Leaderboard, Week #1-Chevy

By David G. Firestone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

auto racing

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

By David G. Firestone

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

First the 2015 Schemes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015 Toyota CamryThe 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 SSNo Change

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

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SSNo change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmie Johns Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback SteakhouseNo 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 SSNo Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SSNo Change

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil1 Chevy SSNo Change

Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota CamryNo Change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford FusionNo change

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

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

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

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryNo change

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

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

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SSNo Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SSNo Change

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change

Paul Menard #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menard’s Chevy SSNo change

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

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SSNo change

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

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

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SSNo change

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford FusionNo change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SSNo Change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SSNo major changes,except a Nationwide logo replaces the National Guard logo.

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

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Requiems for Long Time Sponsors..

By David G. Firestone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ladies and Gentlemen…THE 2014 PAINT SCHEMIE AWARDS

CIMG1131By David G. Firestone

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

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

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

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

Originality: How original is the scheme.

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

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

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

The nominees are:

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS

Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevy SS

Casey Mears #13 Geico Military Chevy SS

Clint Bowyer #15 Duck Commander Toyota Camry

Greg Biffle #16 Hire Our Heroes Ford Fusion

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford Fusion

Parker Kligerman #30 Phoenix Warehouse Toyota Camry

Morgan Shepherd #93 SupportMillitary.org Toyota Camry

Josh Wise #98 Provident Metals Ford Fusion

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

MORGAN SHEPHERD!

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

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

Blake Koch #32 Support Military Ford Fusion!

The paint scheme for worst driver suit goes to…

Joey Logano Auto Trader Ford Fusion

The Schemie for Least Improved Scheme Set from 2013 goes to

Greg Biffle’s #16 Ford Fusion

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

#16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion

#44 Xxxtreme Motorsports Chevy SS

#66 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Camry

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

Michael Waltrip Racing #66 Toyota Camry!

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

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

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Hawker Chevy SS

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry

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

JIMMIE JOHNSON!

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

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

Dave Blaney #77 Folcher Law Ford Fusion

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

JIMMIE JOHNSON!

The Paint Schemie for Most Improved Scheme Set goes to

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

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

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Terry Labonte #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion

David Ragan #34 Wendell Scott Tribute Ford Fusion

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford Fusion

David Stremme #90 Junie Donlavey Ford Fusion

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

TERRY LABONTE

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

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry

The winner of the Paint Schemie is…

TREVOR BAYNE!

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

10: Apple

9: American Airlines

8: United Airlines

7: Lockheed

6: Microsoft

5: Bose

4: Boeing

3: Sprite

2: Fanta

1: Wendy’s

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

auto racing

Paint Scheme Tracker-November 15, 2014

By David G. Firestone

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

2015 Toyota CamryThe 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 SSNo Change

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

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SSNo change

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmie Johns Chevy SSNo change

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback SteakhouseNo 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 SSNo Change

Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SSNo Change

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil1 Chevy SSNo Change

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford FusionNo change

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

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

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

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryNo change

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

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

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SSNo Change

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SSNo Change

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change

Paul Menard #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menard’s Chevy SSNo change

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

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SSNo change

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

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

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SSNo change

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford FusionNo change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SSNo Change

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SSNo major changes,except a Nationwide logo replaces the National Guard logo.

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

auto racing

My Thoughts On The Racing Weekend-November 11, 2014

By David G. Firestone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

auto racing

Paint Scheme Grades-November 8, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

auto racing

Replica Helmets and Why We Need Them In Racing Part Quatre

hight4By David G. Firestone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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