2017 Paint Scheme Leaderboard Part 1-Chevy

By David G. Firestone

The racing season is over, holiday music is playing in stores, we’ve all had our fill of turkey, and the Driver Suit Blog Paint Scheme Review Committee has met again. This time, I’ve added a third member, Lucy the beagle, in addition to Alejandro the cat. After extensive meetings, we have come to our conclusions for the Leaderboard ranking for Chevy’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series paint schemes. So, without further ado, here we go!

#1-Beard Motorsports #75 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: NA

Beard Motorsports has had a great year, in terms of paint schemes. They have run two races, had two A schemes, and earned a perfect 4 for the year.

#2-Hendrick Motorsports #5 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 11 of 24

While the Farmer’s Insurance and Great Clips schemes are meh at best, Kasey ran a series of A schemes for most of the year. He finishes the year with a respectable average in terms of grades.

#3-Circle Sport/TMG #33 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: NA

Cirlce Sport/TMG had a slew of great schemes for almost all of the year. They all had great A looks…except for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles scheme which earned a solid F. This not only knocked out of the first place spot, but down surprisingly lower than what they should have been.

#4-Richard Childress Racing #27 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: of 24

The 2017 Menard’s template has worked very well, with the exception of Knauf, Sylvania, and Jack Links Beef Jerkey. This is another instance of 3 schemes derailing what could have been a perfect season for 2017.

#5-JTG Daugherty Racing #37 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: NA

While the #37 team had a lot of A’s and no really bad schemes, the lower graded schemes took the whole grade from a great position to a dull position. Still, they didn’t get lower than a C, and their GPA was decent enough.

#6-Premium Motorsports #55 Chevy SS/Toyota Camry Rank Last Year: 2 of 24

Aside from Low T, Star Com Fiber, Wind River, the #55 has had a very solid showing in 2017, with a lot of A schemes.

#7-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 3 of 24

The #47 had a solid B+ year, and with an A graded throwback, they had a good solid showing in 2017. The Kroger looks were all great in 2017, and the throwback is amazing.

#8-Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 22 of 24

The #1 had a varried season in 2017. They had a decent amount of A’s, but with the number of B and C level grades, it took what could have been a perfect year down to a decent year.

#9-Rick Ware Racing #51 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: NA

Rick Ware Racing has a lot of one and two race sponsors, and, as is prone to happening, the grades for these schemes are varied. However, overall, there are a lot of A’s, and only one really bad grade. But with all the grades averaged, the final rank is much lower than it could have been.

#10-Richard Childress Racing #31 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 12 of 24

The #31 has a lot of different schemes, which have been everything from bad to amazing. While no single scheme has received an F, the Okuma scheme did get a D grade, and the rest of the grades were all over the map in between. The final average is much lower than it could have been.

#11-Premium Motorsports #15 Chevy SS/Toyota Camry Rank Last Year: NA

Low T is a bad scheme, and Michael Waltrip’s D- Aaron’s scheme completely derailed an almost perfect season for paint schemes. The #15 had many one and two race sponsors, but they were almost all great. The #15 could have been higher, if not for the two low scores.

#12-Hendrick Motorsports #24 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 19 of 24

NAPA has a much better look, the Kelly Blue Book and Mountain Dew schemes work very well. The Hooters scheme left a lot of room for improvement, and the Sun Energy scheme is still a disaster. It’s sad the Hooters, and Sun Energy derailed what could have been a great season for the #24.

#13-Leavine Family Racing #95 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 17 of 24

WRL Contractors was awful. Race Wipes, and Devour Frozen Meals were mediocre at best. The rest of the schemes were great. Adding up and averaging the grades from all of the schemes takes what could have been a great season down to a mediocre season.

#14-Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 16 of 24

The grades for the #3 were all over the place, with a number of Dow schemes working well, to other Dow schemes not working as well. #3 cars tended to be over designed in 2017, and the lower ranking is evidence of this.

#15-Germain Racing #13 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 23 of 24

Geico Military was the only blemish on the #13’s season. They had 3 A grades, Geico, Twisted Tea, and the Smokey Yunick Throwback. The branded camouflage scheme doesn’t work very well at all. It took a solid A down to a solid C.

#16-Hendrick Motorsports #88 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 10 of 24

Axalta had a series of really bad schemes this year. Mountain Dew-S-A was meh, and the rest of the schemes were great. Every other scheme was great, but the law of averages strike again. A great season derailed by a few bad apples.

#17-Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 18 of 24

Tommy Baldwin had 4 A schemes, but the other 4 schemes were either C or D schemes. Averaged out, they had a very low score this year.

#18-TriStar Motorsports #72 Chevy SS/Ford Fusion Rank Last Year: NA

I still hate the door numbers, but TriStar made it work. Many of the schemes range from decent to awful. They had many one and two race sponsors, but unlike Premium, weren’t able to make their schemes work as well, and the overall rankings took a major hit.

#19-Gaunt Bros Racing #96 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: NAA B+ and a C- for their two schemes do not add up to a great average. It was a meh year for a part-time team.

#20-Chip Ganassi Racing #42 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 13 of 24

The phrase “all over the map” accuratly describes the year that the #42 had. They had everything from high graded beauty, to low level messes. The grades were averaged, and the final grade is a meh grade, to say the least.

#21-MBM Motorsports #66 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: NA

Three bad schemes, a meh scheme, and a great scheme add up to a low ranking. Carl Long’s return to the Cup Series had a really blah season, both aesthetically, and on track.

#22-Star Com Racing #00 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: NA

A single C rated scheme for this late season entry by Derrike Cope. I don’t hate the scheme, but I don’t love it either. It’s a very forgettable scheme, that could have been a lot better.

#23-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: 21 of 24

The #48 was either feast or famine. The schemes earned either F’s or A’s, but more F’s than A’s average out to a D grade average, the worst of 2017, both for Chevy’s teams and the Cup Series as a whole.

So that is Chevy’s rankings for 2017. Next Week, the Driver Suit Blog Paint Scheme Review Committee will release their rankings for Ford.


Throwback Thursday-Paul Smith-1984

Paul Smith burns out his Custom Body Enterprises funny car in 1984

I LOVE a good fade, and this isn’t a good fade…it’s a GREAT fade! The yellow-to-orange-to-red fade across the car is an amazing look. Sadly, rather than just fade to black, there has to be red, white, and blue stripes, and then black. It derails what could have been the greatest fade ever, and takes it down quite a few notches. The silver lettering works with the fade, and all things considered, I give it an A-

The 2017 Paint Schemie Awards Are Here!

By David G. Firestone

With the month of November, and the 2017 racing season behind us, I’m happy to present the 4th Annual Driver Suit Blog Paint Schemie Awards! Regular readers know about this, but I’ll discuss this again. Every year, I pick the best and worst paint schemes and award them the Paint Schemie. This was done using the Driver Suit Blog executive committee for paint scheme analysis and consists of me and Driver Suit Blog assistant, my cat Alejandro, 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.First, the Paint Schemie Award for Worst Regular Season Single Paint Scheme .

The nominees are:

Ty Dillon13 Geico Military Chevy SS

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Sunny D Ford Fusion

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry

Matt Kenseth #20 Tide Pods Toyota Camry

Chase Elliott #24 Sun Energy Chevy SS

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Can Am/Kappa Ford Fusion

The 2017 Paint Schemie Award for Worst Regular Season Single Paint Scheme goes to:

Chase Elliott #24 Sun Energy Chevy SS

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

Starcom Racing #00 Chevy SS

Stewart-Haas Racing #10 Ford Fusion

Go Fas Racing #32 Ford Fusion

Hendrick Motorsports #48 Chevy SS

Furniture Row Racing #77 Toyota Camry

BK Racing #83 Toyota Camry

The The winner of the Award For Worst Scheme Set of 2017 goes to…

Hendrick Motorsports #48 Chevy SS

The next Paint Schemie Award is for Exhibition or Throwback Paint Schemes. This category is a little different, as the Schemies will go to the best and worst throwback. For this category, all exhibition race and throwback paint schemes qualify automatically.

The 2017 Paint Schemie Award for Worst Exhibition or Throwback Paint Schemes goes to…

Gray Gaulding #23 Bubba Burger Toyota Camry

Now 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.

The nominees for the 2017 Paint Schemie Award for for Best Regular Season Single Paint Scheme are:

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SS

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry

Matt Kenseth #20 PEAK Antifreeze Toyota Camry

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Chase Elliott #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy SS

The 2017 Paint Schemie Award for for Best Regular Season Single Paint Scheme goes to…

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

The next category is Paint Schemie Award is for Best Exhibition or Throwback Paint Schemes, and it should come as no surprise that the competition was strong this year.

The 2017 Paint Schemie Award for Best Throwback Scheme of 2017 goes to…

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Throwback Chevy SS

The final award of 2017 is the Paint Schemie for Best Paint Scheme Set of 2017. The nominees are:

Hendrick Motorsports #5 Chevy SS

Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota Camry

Wood Brothers Racing #21 Ford Fusion

Stewart-Haas Racing #41

Premium Motorsports #55 Toyota Camry/Chevy SS

Beard Racing #75 Chevy SS

The 2017 Paint Schemie Award for for Best Paint Scheme Set goes to…

Beard Racing #75 Chevy SS

That’s it for the Schemies, next week, the Paint Scheme Leaderboard begins with Chevy!

My Thoughts on 2017

By David G. Firestone

The 2017 racing season is behind us. We’ve all watched racing and we enjoyed it. We had highs, we had lows. We laughed, we cried, we yelled in anger, and we yelled in joy. We are racing fans, and we love watching racing.

Some of the observations I’ve made I’ve discussed here on The Driver Suit Blog, but some things I haven’t. So before I take my December sabbatical, I have a few things to discuss. I’ve been waiting for the season to end to discuss some things.

First off, I’m a fan of the NASCAR Playoff system, I know many people aren’t. But the bracket system keeps the pressure on the drivers to perform. The final race of the season has 4 different drivers who can win the championship. That final race is pressure packed, and the best driver won. Martin Truex Jr. won 8 races, including the final race and the Championship.

I was wondering who would win the Xfinity Series Championship, and it was William Byron. This does not bode well for his Cup career. Historically, drivers who perform well in the Xfinity Series will come to the Cup Series and flame out. This list includes David Green, Steve Grissom, Joe Nemechek, Randy LaJoie, and Johnny Benson. Martin Truex Jr. is the second driver to win the Cup championship after winning the Xfinity Series championship before he was an established Cup star.

Ford pulling out of the NHRA to focus on other racing series was a really dumb move, especially since Chevy won all three Mello Yello Drag Racing Series four-wheeled championships. They also came up short in NASCAR and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. Ford made a really bad decision in this respect, and I hope their racing division is proud of themselves.

If you aren’t familiar with Bill Burr, that’s a shame. He’s a Boston-based comic who watches Formula 1. He did a podcast where he discusses his Formula 1 feelings. He is hilarious, and his observations are great. Even if you aren’t a racing fan, his podcast is great. Bill Burr’s Malaysian GP rant is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while.

Starting next year, Formula 1 will move from NBC to ESPN. I’m going to guess that Fox didn’t offer a contract. ESPN has made it clear in recent years that they have no respect for auto racing fans. ESPN had to bring some kind of auto racing back, to boost their sagging ratings. NASCAR and the NHRA weren’t on the table, Formula 1 was on the table. Good luck ESPN, good luck Formula 1, you are going to need it.

Finally, there have been some shake ups in schedules for 2018. NASCAR has moved the Daytona 500 up a week. As a direct result, the next nine races have also moved up a week. The first Dover race has moved from June 4 to May 4. Chicagoland has moved from September to the first week in July, and the summer Daytona race has moved from the first week of July to the second week. Kentucky and New Hampshire have moved up one week. Charlotte’s second race has been moved up, and will use the road course instead of the oval course.

In Formula 1, France and Germany will both host new Grand Prix races. The Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix have switched places on the new schedule. The Malaysian Grand Prix has been dropped from the schedule all together. IndyCar has decided to replace Watkins Glen with Portland. In the NHRA, the Route 66 Nationals and the New England Nationals have switched places, due to NASCAR’s schedule change.

That about does it for 2017. I will spend December working on projects, and will come back in January, ready to go. I look forward to seeing you then.

The Final Paint Scheme Grades Of 2017-November 25, 2017

By David G. Firestone

First a 2018 Scheme…

Daniel Suarez #19 Stanley Toyota Camry-It’s an over designed mess with too many different design elements to really look good.  The only thing keeping this scheme above water is a great color scheme. D-

Now on to 2017 schemes…

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt Final Race Toyota Camry-I like the idea of a driver racing their final race with the scheme they started racing in.  I especially like it when the scheme is a smooth scheme with a great look.  This is a great scheme. A

David Ragan #38 The Weather Channel Ford Fusion-The Front Row template works very well with sky blue and white. It’s a great look, and has a great color scheme, so it naturally gets an A.

Kyle Larson #42 Credit One/DC Solar Chevy SS-It’s a bit over done, though it’s not terrible.  I think this could work better if it was a fade as opposed to cutting edge designs.  It is a decent scheme, so I’ll give it a B-.

Kyle Weatherman #51 P2 Patrick Peterson Chevy SS-There is nothing bad I can say about this scheme.  It has a great look, and a great design. A

David Starr #66 Eureka Chevy SS-The design has been revamped, the car has a better look as a result.  Throw in a great color scheme, and you have a scheme worth an A.

Joey Gase #83 Premier Millwright Toyota Camry-BK Racing seems to take joy in over designing their cars.  This is one such example.  While it does have a mediocre color scheme, the side design is beyond overdone, and has a horrible look.  I hate this look, and it earns an F.

Ray Lipper and Center Line Wheels Part 2

By David G. Firestone

Our last Friday Feature for Minor League Month is a continuation of what I started last week. Last week, I examined a driver suit worn by Center Line Wheels founder Ray Lipper. While the suit was an interesting find, it was only part of a larger uniform set. This week, I will examine the rest of the contents of the uniform set. This has to be the most comprehensive uniform set I have ever seen.

There is a black restraint harness included, which shows some light wear. There is also a set of orange Simpson gloves, both of which show heavy wear on the palms. Ray also wore these white Simpson racing shows, both of which show heavy wear. The right show has a tear in it, and the left shoe has some damage. The soles have dirt caked in them. This white balaclava was also worn, though there is no indication of who made it. This Linea Sport Nomex undershirt, which is thick and shows a lot of use is included in the lot. I’ve been trying to find out information about Linea Sport, but I’ve had no luck. This Italian-made pair of long-johns shows decent wear, as per the shirt, but are not as heavy as the shirt. This is a pair of black Nomex socks. They have no manufacturer indicated, and one is deformed from them being in a ball for some time. Moving on from the uniform elements, the lot also comes with a number of miscellaneous items.Race cars tend to be very loud, so Ray wore this par of earplugs, complete with original box. Cadillac Shoe Products has no affiliation with the Cadillac automobile company. This pair of black Cadillac shoe laces came with the set. This set of (presumably) car keys was used by Lipper at some point.A small, orange Snell Sport Vynl folder is included, and the contents of which are very interesting. This is a paper race result from the 1980 SCCA Formula Super Vee USA Robert Bosch/Valvoline Championship. One of the Gold Cup race took place at Watkins Glen on July 5, 1980. Lipper finished 16th, driving a Super Vee. He won $250 for his efforts.In preparation for a race at what is now Sonoma Raceway, Lipper hand drew this map of the track, and added notes as to what he should do in the car while driving in that area.This is a map of Watkins Glen, both the track, and the way to the track. It shows a lot of wear. In addition to racing in the United States, Lipper also raced in New Zealand. This is Lipper’s Motorsports Association of New Zealand(MANZ) license. The Manawatu Car Club is New Zealand’s oldest car club. Lipper was a part of it in 1982, and this is his member ticket. While Center Line Wheels may not be an independent company anymore, their lineage lives on. Ray Lipper has retired, both from Center Line and Racing. He’s been inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame, and is another example of what makes racing great. He’s a businessman who races to help promote his company.

It’s that time of year again…next week…THE PAINT SCHEMIES!