1997 Bobby Hamilton #51 Southern Pride Trucking Chevrolet C1500
When he was hired as a stunt driver for Days of Thunder, Nashville, Tennessee’s Bobby Hamilton grabbed the opportunity, and proved competitive at the 1989 Autoworks 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. This impressed quite a few people, and eventually, Hamilton would get signed to a full-time racing deal. He made the most of that deal, winning 4 races in the Cup Series, 1 race in the Xfinity Series, and 10 races in the Truck Series. In 1997, Hamilton race two races in the Truck Series, finishing 5th at Topeka, and 6th at Martinsville. That season he raced a Chevy C-1500 sponsored by Southern Pride Trucking for his own team. The car has a great look, with a great color scheme, and that will always earn an A.
1997 Tony Raines #19 Pennzoil Dodge Ram
Glasgow, Montana isn’t a place closely associated with auto racing, but it is home to Tony Raines. Tony Raines is just one in a series of drivers who had success in the Truck Series, but couldn’t succeed in the Xfinity or Cup Series. Raines had a win in 1997, and three in 1998, but his attempts in the Xfinity and the Cup series weren’t great. In 1997, he raced for Roehrig Motorsports, and won the Western Auto/Parts America 200 at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Missouri, driving the #19 Pennzoil Ram. The Pennzoil color scheme is great, but I think the stripes are too much. I get what they were trying to do, but it doesn’t look good. Still, it’s not terrible, so I’ll give it a B+
1996 Jack Sprague #24 Quaker State Chevrolet C1500
With 28 wins and three championships in the Truck Series, Spring Lake, Michigan’s Jack Sprague is tied for third on the all-time win list with Mike Skinner. Sprague’s best years came while driving for Rick Hendrick, where he won his three championships, in 1997, 1999, and 2001. In 1996, he got his first win at Phoenix, driving the #24 Quaker State C-1500. I’m not a fan of the older, lighter green that Quaker State was using around this time. It doesn’t translate well to the side of a race car or truck. The design scheme is good, but the color is off. I’ll give it a C+
1996 Rusty Wallace #22 Miller Ford F-150
Considered one of the greatest drivers never to win a Daytona 500, Arnold, Missouri’s Rusty Wallace has 55 wins in the Cup Series, and the 1989 Championship. He also raced in IROC, winning 4 races, and the 1991 IROC Championship. While he has many stars in many different series, he only has one start in the Truck Series, the 1996 DeVilbiss Superfinish 200 at Nazareth Speedway, driving the #22 Miller Beer F-150. The Miller Beer scheme was universal to all of Miller’s sponsored teams in 1996. Miller was moving away from Miller Genuine Draft, and by 1997 would switch to Miller Lite. It’s not a bad scheme, but the red and blue designs were never really explained, and are visually distracting. They take an A scheme down to a B+
1996 Bill Sedgewick #17 Craftsman Chevrolet C1500
Bill Sedgwick is a member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame from Acton, California. Sedgwick won two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Championships, one in 1991, and 1992. His transition to the Truck Series didn’t work out, failing to score a win. In 1996, he raced a full season for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, with 6 top 5’s and 13 top 10’s. He raced this Craftsman C-1500. This works much better than the Darrell Waltrip version. The black with orange is a great look. A
1996 Darrell Waltrip #5 Craftsman Chevrolet C1500
Owensboro, Kentucky is home to NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip. Calling DW a legend is as appropriate as anything. 84 wins, and three championships in the Cup Series, as well as the career grand slam. He also has 13 wins in the Xfinity Series. In addition to being a driver, he was also a team owner in the Truck Series. He raced Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, which had 4 race victories. In 1996, Waltrip fielded two teams, Bill Sedgewick and Himself, both driving Craftsman sponsored Chevrolet C-1500s. The orange with black doesn’t work as well as the black with orange of Sedgewick’s truck. Still it’s not an awful scheme, so I’ll give it a B+
1995 John Nemechek #87 Burger King Chevrolet C1500
Lakeland, Florida is home to the Nemechek family, Joe, John, and John Hunter Nemechek. John was the younger brother to Joe. John raced his whole national career in the Truck Series from 1995 to 1997. Sadly, his career, and life came to an end at Homestead, where he was killed in a wreck, during the Florida Dodge Dealers 400K. He was the first of two drivers to die in that series. Joe would name his son John Hunter in honor of John. In 1995, he raced in 16 races, 8 of them for his brother Joe, in a copy of Joe’s #87 Burger King Monte Carlo. This was one of the more underrated looks of 1995, and it has a great color scheme, and the flame motif looks amazing. I can’t give this car less than an A.
1995 Ernie Irvan #28 NAPA United Ford F-150
Salinas, California’s Ernie Irvan is the classic story of a great driver who had his career derailed by injury. He won two Daytona 500’s in 1991 and 1993, and won 15 Cup Series races, and 3 Xfinity Series wins. He could have won championships, had he not had an accident in Michigan in 1994, which caused a serious head injury. While recovering from that injury, Irvan raced some races in the Truck Series, driving a NAPA United Ford F-150. I haven’t mentioned this, but I like the boxy look of the trucks back then, and the yellow/blue half-and-half look is interesting, but it looks good. It’s a unique and great scheme that earns an A.
1995 Roger Mears #25 Budweiser Chevrolet C1500
Wichita, Kansas is home to off-roading legend Roger Mears, father of Casey Mears. While he has many accomplishments in off-road racing, his attempts at NASCAR weren’t as successful. In 1995, he raced four races in the Budweiser Chevrolet C-1500 for Hendrick Motorsports. Budweiser has always had a great shade of red, so it comes a shock that 75% of this car is white. This isn’t a bad look, but I think that the whole truck should be red. The lightning bolt is a nice touch, but it should be white on red. All things considered, I am giving this car a C-.
1995 Scott Lagasse #24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet C1500
Scott Lagasse Jr. began his life in St. Augustine, Florida. He has raced across many different series, with varying results. He won the 1994 Greater Des Moines Ruan Grand Prix, and the 2003 Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. In 1995, he ran his only full season in the Truck Series, driving a version of Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevy Monte Carlo, which is an amazing scheme that earns an A.