Paint Scheme Grades-November 14, 2015

We have a 2016 paint scheme…

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Chevy SS-This is a good look, I like the large X behind the door numbers, and the color scheme is really good too. A+

Casey Mears #13 Geico Chevy SS-Much improved design from 2015, much smoother and simpler look. I give it an A+.

Casey Mears #13 Geico Millitary Chevy SS-While I support the troops, I grade tribute schemes on the same scale as any other scheme. In this case, this does not look good. It’s the Geico design, but with a black and camo motif. It looks forced, and awkward. F

Now on to the 2015 schemes…

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Plastic Additives Chevy SS-I like the design here. The plastic particle design does look good, and combined with a great color scheme earns an A+.

Austin Dillon #3 Bad Boy Buggies Chevy SS– Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Tribute Chevy SS-It’s a decent tribute, but a tribute based on an F scheme.

Greg Biffle #16 Jardiance Ford Fusion-Yellow, white, and teal doesn’t work, and the design is over done. As a result, it earns an F.

JJ Yeley #23 Overture Toyota Camry-I HATE ORANGE AND BLUE! I will scream that from the mountains! The design might work if it were a fade, then I could give it a C, but the zigzag design is horrible, and I can’t give it better than an F.

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta/Service King Chevy SS-Same as Axalta, same A+ grade.

Ryan Newman #31 CAT Command Chevy SS-This is one of the few designs that works perfectly. I love the look, it’s unique, and the circular design on the rear wheel is great. I give it an A+.

Kyle Fowler #32 Corvette Parts Pink Ford Fusion-Pinkwashing is an automatic F. Thank God October is over!

Joey Gase #32 Zak Ford Fusion-Great color and design schemes will always earn an A.+

Joey Gase #32 R Factor 2 Ford Fusion-Not even a great color scheme can save this over designed mess of a paint scheme from a passing grade. F

Brett Moffitt #34 Visit Dallas Ford Fusion-Great color and design schemes will always earn an A.

Cole Whitt #35 Moen Ford Fusion-One of the few schemes where it has a great color scheme and a great design scheme, but for some reason, they don’t work together. Still, I will give it a B+.

Landon Cassill #40 Fiberlock Chevy SS-Too many contrasting shades of green, the shamrock motif is awful, and the whole car is overdone. I can’t give this scheme anything but an F.

Landon Cassill #40 Chevy SS-The color scheme is good, but the side design is a bit overdone. I’ll give it a B+.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Fry’s Chevy SS-Same scheme as Kroger, same A+ grade.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Patriotic Chevy SS-A tad overdone, but a really good patriotic scheme. B+

Justin Allgaier #51 Texas Lottery Chevy SS-This was a bit of a bold attempt, and it worked quite well. I like the stripe design on the sides, it’s bold, and the color scheme works well too. I give it an A+

Michael McDowell #95 TWD Ford FusionThe design is bit overdone, nothing really bad, and the color scheme works well too. I give it a B+.

Ryan Preece #98 Xyience Energy Ford Fusion-Green, silver, and orange don’t work as a color scheme, and the car is so over designed, it is just hideous. F

Ryan Preece #98 Vydrox Plus Ford Fusion-Same scheme as #62, same A grade.z

Paint Scheme Grades-October 31, 2015

By David G. Firestone

First we have 2016 paint scheme…

Chase Elliott #24 NAPA Chevy SS-It’s a smooth look, very good color scheme, and it looks great! It earns an. A+

Now on to 2015 paint schemes…

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Bad Boy Buggies Pink Chevy SS-Pinkwashing is an automatic F

Greg Biffle #16 Ford Performance Ford Fusion-It’s a simple design with a great color scheme, and I love the spray design on the door numbers. A+

Carl Edwards #19 Xfinifty Toyota Camry-Let’s be honest, it’s a slightly better redesign of the Great Clips scheme, and even then, it’s only B- level. Too many dark-on-dark designs.

JJ Yeley #26 Adirondack Tree Surgeons Toyota Camry-The mediocre color scheme and insanely overdone design scheme combine to earn an F. There is no part of this scheme I can defend.

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Tarkett Chevy SS-With the Menard’s template, or any template for that matter, some color schemes work, other color schemes don’t. The purple isn’t great, but it isn’t awful. I’ll give it a B+.

Bobby Labonte #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion-Pinkwashing is an automatic F.

Ryan Ellis #33 Science Logic Chevy SS-A great color scheme and an awful design scheme combine for a D+ grade.

Travis Kvapil #33 Chevy SS-A timeless look with a great color scheme will earn an A+ ever single time.

David Gilliland #38 Jerry Cook Tribute Ford Fusion-Great looking throwbacks will ALWAYS deserve an A+.

Kyle Larson #42 Target Plaid Chevy SS-If you paint your car with a houndstooth design and it ends up looking like a picnic table cover, you deserve to get a D-.

Kyle Larson #42 Target Plaid Chevy SS-Plaid doesn’t look good on clothes, and it looks even worse on race cars. The only thing saving this scheme is a good color scheme. D-

Michael Annett #46 Flying J/PJ Fresh Chevy SS-Good color scheme, and I LOVE the tomato sauce and pepperoni motif! It looks great and earns an A+.

Timmy Hill #62 Royal Teak Ford Fusion-Royal Teak has had a lot of great color schemes this year, and this is another one. Great color scheme, great design, no complaints. A+

Michael Waltrip #98 Maxwell House Toyota Camry-Same as Clint Bowyer’s Maxwell House Toyota, same A+ grade.

Paint Scheme Leaderboard-Week 4, The Grand Finale

By David G. Firestone

The Paint Scheme Ranking Executive Committee meetings have been long, but not too contentious, I can’t stay mad at Alejandro when he shows me his belly, so now we present all 55 NASCAR Sprint Cup teams ranked from first to last on how their paint schemes looked. NR has a different meaning this week. NR now specifically referrs to teams that didn’t exist in 2013. Teams that ran different manufacturers in 2013 will be ranked when it came to last year. So, without further ado,

1-Wood Brothers #21 Rank Last Year:1st of 50 -The Wood Brothers always design great cars, and the Quick Lane scheme uses the blue very well. It all looks good!

2-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Rank Last Year:2nd of 50-Classic, smooth looks with no needless clutter. Jimmie always runs great schemes

3-Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Rank Last Year:3rd of 50-The color schemes are good, and the design schemes work very well.

4-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Rank Last Year:5th of 50-The zebra stripe Interstate Battery scheme wrecks a perfect score for Kyle this year

5-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.

6-Team Penske #2 Rank Last Year:18th of 50-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.

7-Richard Childress Racing #31 Rank Last Year:35th of 50-A lot of great schemes this year, but Wix is overdone, and the Cat/Quicken Loans hybrid looks awful

8-BK Racing #23 Rank Last Year:NR-The Dip Your Car scheme is awful, but the rest of the schemes are very good, and are very attractive.

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

10-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.

11-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Rank Last Year:6th of 50-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.

12-Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Rank Last Year:24th of 50-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

13-Levine Family Racing #95 Rank Last Year:45th of 50-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.

14-Furniture Row Racing #78 Rank Last Year:4th of 50-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.

15-BK Racing #26 Rank Last Year:50th of 50-Bully Hill Vinyards is an over-designed joke with an awful color scheme. The yellow numbers on the Burger King scheme are awful, but the rest of the schemes are good, and defendable.

16-RAB Racing #29 Rank Last Year:NR-Good color scheme, mediocre design scheme.

17-Hendrick Motorsports #88 Rank Last Year:22nd of 50-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.

18-Chip Ganassi Racing #42 Rank Last Year:11th of 50-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.

19-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.

20-Front Row Motorsports #34 Rank Last Year:28th of 50-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!

21-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Rank Last Year:15th of 50-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.

22-Hendrick Motorsports #24 Rank Last Year: 36th of 50-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.

23-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.

24-Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Rank Last Year:31st of 50-The Autisim Speaks scheme works well. The zipper scheme is decent, but odd. Sport Clips is over-designed, but with a good color scheme. The FedEx schemes have decent color schemes, but are over-designed on the front.

25-BK Racing #83 Rank Last Year:7th of 50-Voo Doo Barbecue is an over-designed mess. Dip your car is terrible, as is Zak. Burger King and Borla work well though.

26-Team Penske #12 Rank Last Year:9th of 50-The SKF scheme works very well. The Penske Truck Rental scheme uses a horrible shade of orange, and just looks hideous.

27-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.

28-Front Row Motorsports #35 Rank Last Year:27th of 50-The Hefty scheme is a little unorthodox, silver and orange isn’t a great combo, but the design looks good. MDS looks good

29-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.

30-HScott Motorsports #51 Rank Last Year:13th of 50-If the car is running a Brandt scheme it looks good, anything else looks terrible.

31-Phil Parsons Racing #98 Rank Last Year: 44th of 50-While I like the Dogecoin,Trench Shoring,iRacing, black Curb Records, and unsponsored black schemes, anything else looks horrendous.

32-Front Row Motorsports #38 Rank Last Year:26th of 50-Most of the schemes are good, but the Love’s Truck Stops, and Love’s Truck Stops Camo schemes are horrific.

33-Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Rank Last Year:23rd of 50-Can all be summed up with medicore color schemes and mediocre design schemes

34-Swan Racing #30 Rank Last Year:50th of 50-The only time the car looked good was when it was unsponsored, but compared to last year’s design it looks amazing!

35-Roush Fenway Racing #17 Rank Last Year:16th of 50-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.

36-Richard Childress Racing #27 Rank Last Year: 20th of 50-Neon yellow looks terrible, when they use the stripes on the sides it looks even worse. The Pittsburgh Paints scheme looks really good though.

37-BK Racing #93 Rank Last Year:8th of 50-The Support Millitary scheme is the worst, and although Burger King, Dr. Pepper, and Iowa City Chop House do make up for it, it just isn’t enough.

38-CircleSport/Richard Childress Racing #33 Rank Last Year: 47th of 50-

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

40-Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 Rank Last Year:29th of 50-Another example of a team where when the car is unsponsored, it looks better.

41-Richard Petty Motorsports #9 Rank Last Year:12th of 50-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.

42-Team Penske #22 Rank Last Year:41st of 50-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.

43-Identity Ventures Racing #87 Rank Last Year:NR-300 is a mess, and Morris,Hardick and Schinder/SmartBen looks too dull.

44-Michael Waltrip Racing #15 Rank Last Year:38th of 50-The Peak scheme is defendable, the color scheme is good, but the rest of the schemes are just awful.

45-Roush Fenway Racing #99 Rank Last Year:34th of 50-Fastenal looks good, but anything else looks terrible.

46-Go FAS Racing #32 Rank Last Year:25th of 50-The Terry Labonte throwback scheme was amazing, but most of their other schemes are over-designed messes.

47-Stewart Haas Racing #14 Rank Last Year:21st of 50-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.

48-Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Rank Last Year:43rd of 50-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.

49-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.

50-Germain Racing #13 Rank Last Year:40th of 50-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.

51-Hendrick Motorsports #5 Rank Last Year:46th of 50-The only half decent scheme is Pepsi. Everything else is an over designed mess.

52-Stewart Haas Racing #10 Rank Last Year:37th of 50-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.

53-Xxxtreme Motorsports #44 Rank Last Year: 49th of 50-Every single one of their cars is an ugly, over-designed mess that doesn’t look good at all.

54-Roush Fenway Racing #16 Rank Last Year:19th of 50-Every scheme is terrible.

55-Michael Waltrip Racing #66 Rank Last Year:NR-Nothing about any of these schemes is good.

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!

Paint Scheme Grades, Some F1 News and Clarification of a Term

By David G. Firestone

I have been neglecting the Paint Scheme grades for the last few weeks, so after this brief post, we will focus on those this week.  I want to clarify a term that I use regularly.  I use the word “overdesigned” and what it basically means is that the paint scheme has design for design sake.  The scheme has design that serves no real purpose, and was just added needlessly.  Most things we own are, to a certain extent, over designed, mainly to prevent damage from regular use.  But when a car uses needless design in a paint scheme, more often than not, it looks awful.

The other news items I wanted to get to are from Formula 1.  I’m not an F1 fan per se, but I felt that these deserved some time on the DSB.  First there was a major shift in how cars are numbered in F1.  It used to be that were ever the driver finished in the previous season is what his car number was.  Now the change has been made and instead it is that the drivers pick a number and then use that for their entire careers.  Sky Sports covered the driver’s number choices in full, and I’m now a Daniel Ricardo fan!  The 2014 F1 helmet designs have been released and the designs speak for themselves.  This last item is about the man who is in charge of painting Lewis Hamilton’s Silver Arrow for the German-based Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team, my favorite team appearance wise in F1.  Now we move on to…

Paint Scheme Reviews

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SS For many years, green was considered an unlucky color in auto racing. That said, this is a decent scheme. The green used is very good, and the overall design is good. The green around the vent on the side is needless, but this scheme still works. A-

Austin Dillon #3 Bad Boy Buggies/Realtree Chevy SS I’m seriously considering giving any camo paint scheme an automatic F because not one that I have seen in the last 5 years looks good at all. This scheme is just awful. The white/camo scheme is hideous and I’m embarrassed to have to grade it. F

Greg Biffle #16 Red Cross Give Blood/3M Ford Fusion One of Greg’s best schemes he has ever run. I can’t say anything bad. It has a simple yet attractive design, and a great color scheme. A+

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Zest Ford Fusion Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same B Grade

Jeff Gordon #24 Texas A&M Engineering Chevy SS Decent color scheme, but the side design is odd. It has a little too much design. The crooked Texas A&M logo looks odd here too. Still it is a decent design and earns a C+

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Quaker State Chevy SS Quaker State has a great shade of green, and it should be the dominant color of the car. The yellow base with green accents looks awkward. I’ll give it a C

Parker Kligerman #30 Swan Racing Toyota Camry Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Parker Kligerman #30 Swan Racing Toyota Camry Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Travis Kvapil #32 Ask More Get More Ford Fusion Yellow, white and black is a great color scheme. Overall design is great and the car has a great look to it. A+

Travis Kvapil #32 Ask More Get More Ford Fusion Two different schemes in two weeks is unusual and for whatever reason, the new car was a bit over designed. It still has a decent look and earns a B+

Timmy Hill #33 Circle Sport Chevy SS Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

David Ragan #34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion Overall design and color schemes are good, and the only complaint is that the Taco Bell logo should be in color as opposed to black and white.  A+

David Ragan #34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion  The car looks great, with a great color scheme and great design scheme…A+

David Ragan #34 Farm Rich Ford Fusion  Good color scheme and I love the rolling hills effect…A+

Reed Sorenson #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy SS Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

David Gilliland #38 Long John Silvers Ford Fusion Great design, great color scheme, great look, A+

Landon Cassill #40 Nabi Tablet Chevy SS Good color scheme, but the the car, like the Nabi Tablet is overdesigned, and earns a C

Landon Cassill #40 CRC Industries / K&W FiberLock Chevy SS A very simple design, though the yellowish-green is unattractive. If the green was darker it would work better. C+

Kyle Larson #42 Clorox Chevy SS AJ Allemdinger has a good Clorox scheme, this is an awful scheme . Why did they choose that shade of yellow instead of white? I can’t give this a passing grade. F

Aric Almirola #43 Farmland Ford Fusion Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

JJ Yeley #44 Phoenix Warehouse Chevy SS My first thought when I saw this scheme was it looked like the color scheme from the 1994-1995 NBA All-Star Game jerseys which is a decent color scheme. But to say the car is overdesigned is an understatement. This scheme is awful. Not even a great color scheme can help this car pass. F

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Grilling Beans Chevy SS  Great color scheme and a simple design earns an A+

Justin Allgaier #51 SEM Chevy SS Simple design, great color scheme, looks great, A+

Brian Vickers #55 Xarelto Toytoa Camry Good simple design with a great color scheme earns an A.

Jeff Burton #66 Toyota Toyota Camry The stripe down the side is much too big, and the hood design looks odd. The color scheme is good, but the overall design is a D+

Joe Nemechek #87 SmartBen Toyota Camry Simple design, great color scheme, looks great, A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevy SS The black and green color scheme is good, and the side is a bit overdeisgned. If the green stripes were scaled back, it would work better. It is work a B- grade.

Michael McDowell #95 WRL Contractors Ford Fusion Levine Family Racing continues to get back into my good graces with another A scheme with great design and a great color scheme.

Carl Edwards #99 Kelloggs/Cheez Its Ford Fusion Too many colors, and the car is overdesigned. F

Paint Scheme Leaderboard Part 4-The Grand Finale

By David G. Firestone

The focus group of one has had its meetings, and has made its decisions.  Here are all 50 teams that ran the Sprint Cup this year ranked first to last on their paint schemes:

#1-Wood Brothers #21-A classic design scheme that just seems to get better with age. The Henry Ford design combines classic and modern elements for an amazing look.

#2-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Jimmie Johnson went with a very classic look, with a day scheme and a night scheme, which worked very well. Johnson did not have a bad look all year.

#3-Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Simple traditional designs. That is the secret to their success on the leaderboard. Color schemes are great as well. Nothing wrong with these schemes.

#4-Furniture Row Racing #78 When it came down to picking a number 1 for Chevy, for both the Paint Schemie and the Leaderboard, I had to flip a coin to pick a number 1, and Johnson won. Kurt Busch ran a series of very solid schemes, not a lot to comment on and it always looks good.

#5-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Like Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch on the Chevy side, the Toyota winner for both the Paint Schemie and Leaderboard was decided by a coin flip. More modern than the 55, all these schemes are good, with amazing paint schemes and really good design.

#6-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 This team combines classic and modern looks, and uses Petty Blue very effectively. The Transportation Impact scheme was not good at all, and kept the 43 team out of the top spot.  Extra Credit for the Maurice Petty Tribute Scheme.

#7-BK Racing #83 Great designs all around, but the hood needs work. Why is it black when the rest of the car is red?

#8-BK Racing #93 See Above, but the Old Dominion scheme drags it down.

#9-Penske Racing #12-Though only raced for one race, the SKF design worked very well. A great color and great design scheme. If this had been raced for multiple races, I would have ranked it higher, but it is still a solid scheme.

#10-Richard Childress Racing #29 The Bad Boy Buggies scheme is bad, and the Rheem/Budweiser combo scheme is awful, but aside from those, Kevin Harvick has had a very good season, paint scheme wise

#11-Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #42 Get rid of the Axe Apollo scheme and the Camouflage scheme, and Juan Pablo Montoya would have the top spot.

#12-Richard Petty Motorsports #9 This set earned a place in the top 5 because it improved by a lot over the course of the season. It has a great color scheme, but the early schemes were not great, but since Stanley redesigned their logo, and made some changes to the car, it is a very nice set.

#13-Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott #51 Guy Roofing and Hendrick Cars are hideous, but apart from that, they have run a great set of paint schemes. Bonus points given for the Neil Bonnett throwback scheme.

#14-Michael Waltrip Racing #56 The Get Back and Give Back scheme is horrid, but the rest of the schemes are really good.

#15-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Most of what they ran this year was great, but the Bushes Baked Beans car has an odd overall design, and a weird color scheme. The Clorox scheme has a bad color scheme, as does the Charter scheme, as does the Wounded Warrior Project scheme.

#16-Roush Fenway Racing #17 A pinkwashing scheme as well as the Valvoline NexGen scheme kick Ricky Stenhouse Jr. out of the top spot. Sad thing too, as Ricky had a very solid year when it comes to paint schemes

#17-Joe Gibbs Racing #81 Alert Energy is awful. Double Mint is awesome.

#18-Penske Racing #2 While I miss the beer colored wheels from last year, Keselowski has had a decent year, the color scheme is great, though there is too much white on the car. The Redd’s Apple Ale scheme was great, but the Fan Mosaic and Patriotic schemes need some work.

#19-Roush Fenway Racing #16 Greg Biffle had a lot of great schemes, but he had a number of awful ones , including a pinkwashing scheme as well. Get rid of the pinkwashing scheme, the Scotchguard, give blood, and Megulars schemes, and he would be in the top 5.

#20-Richard Childress Racing #27 The yellow is too bright, but other than that, the schemes are really good.

#21-Stewart Haas Racing #14 Some of these schemes are good, others not so much.

#22Hendrick Motorsports #88 Dale Jr. runs good schemes most of the time, but Soldiers of Steel, Orange Amp Energy, and Camouflage are just brutal. Additional points lost for a pinkwashing scheme.

#23-Joe Gibbs Racing #20 If the Dollar General was more plain, and did not have the orange back, I would love to give Matt Kenseth a higher spot, and a pinkwashing scheme does not help.

#24-Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #1 Bad Boy Buggies is even worse here, and the Bass Pro Shop schemes are awful. A number of good schemes here as well.

#25-FAS Lane Racing #32 The Oxy Water scheme, and the gray scale C&J Energy Services schemes do not work, but the rest of the schemes they ran do

#26-Front Row Motorsports #38 The template they run works very well when the color scheme matches that of the sponsor. When it doesn’t match, it looks awful.

#27-Front Row Motorsports #35, See above

#28-Front Row Motorsports #34, See above, aside from the CSX scheme, which looks great, and the Peanut Patch scheme which looks awful.

#29-Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 This team looks better without a primary sponsor than they do with one.

#30-Max Q Motorsports #37 Simple, yet attractive. Would be higher if they ran more races.

#31-Joe Gibbs Racing #11 The Jason Leffler tribute scheme and the FedEx delivery manager schemes are great, but the rest are just awful. I miss the Gen 5 schemes

#32-Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.

#33-Circle Team Sport #40 Interstate Moving is really good. Moon Shine Attitude Attire is really awful, and their pinkwashing scheme is even worse.

#34-Roush Fenway Racing #99 Geek Squad and Fastenal work well, the rest…not so much.

#35-Richard Childress Racing #31 A few good schemes but most of them are mediocre at best.

#36-Hendrick Motorsports #24 See Above

#37-Stewart Haas Racing #10 Worst shades of yellow in NASCAR, and the pinkwashing scheme is so much worse.

#38-Michael Waltrip Racing #15 Clint has consistently run cars with great color schemes, but awful designs. Except for Duck Dynasty, and pinkwashing, which are just hideous.

#39-Humphrey Smith Racing #19 Another car that just looks better without a primary sponsor.

#40-Germain Racing #13 Nothing really wrong, but nothing really right with these schemes.

#41-Penske Racing #22 Red and yellow is a really great color scheme, but the design is all wrong. This design gets even worse with the AAA scheme, which has an even better color scheme. The Pennzoil scheme is good, but not good enough to save the set.

#42-Stewart Haas Racing #39 I have to give them credit, their schemes are mostly awful, but at least they are creative.

#43-Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Worst. Door. Number. Ever. The rest of the car isn’t good either, and a pinkwashing scheme doesn’t help.

#44-Phil Parsons Racing# 98 The schemes come in one of two food groups, bland or awful. Great colors, but the designs are horrid.

#45-Levine Family Racing #95 Worst template in NASCAR.

#46-Hendrick Motorsports #5 Innovation can be a bad thing. This, for example is what happens when you let Karl Benjamin design your cars.

#47-Circle Sport/RCR #33 It amazes me how two different teams can use the same car number, and both can put awful designs on their cars. Special credit for the Honey Nut Cheerios scheme, which is just horrific.

#48-Xxxtreme Motorsports #44 Yuck.

#49-Hamilton-Means Racing #52 Paulie Harraka had a great scheme, but Brian Keselowski…not so much.

#50-Swan Racing #30/26 Please tell me this is an experiment on how to make the worst paint scheme in history? Is Swan Racing competing with Travis Pastrana for the most obnoxious paint scheme in NASCAR?

Paint Scheme Leaderboard Part 2- Chevy

By David G. Firestone

Last week, I ranked the Ford teams based on their paint schemes, and this week I will do the Chevy teams and next week I’ll rank the Toyota teams, so without further ado all the Chevy teams ranked from best to worst:

#1 Hendrick Motorsports #48 Jimmie Johnson went with a very classic look, with a day scheme and a night scheme, which worked very well. Johnson did not have a bad look all year.

#2 Furniture Row Racing #78 When it came down to picking a number 1 for Chevy, for both the Paint Schemie and the Leaderboard, I had to flip a coin to pick a number 1, and Johnson won. Kurt Busch ran a series of very solid schemes, not a lot to comment on and it always looks good.

#3 Richard Childress Racing #29 The Bad Boy Buggies scheme is bad, and the Rheem/Budweiser combo scheme is awful, but aside from those, Kevin Harvick has had a very good season, paint scheme wise

#4 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #42 Get rid of the Axe Apollo scheme and the Camouflage scheme, and Juan Pablo Montoya would have the top spot.

#5 Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott #51 Guy Roofing and Hendrick Cars are hideous, but apart from that, they have run a great set of paint schemes. Bonus points given for the Neil Bonnett throwback scheme.

#6 Richard Childress Racing #27 The yellow is too bright, but other than that, the schemes are really good.

#7 Stewart Haas Racing #14 Some of these schemes are good, others not so much.

#8 Hendrick Motorsports #88 Dale Jr. runs good schemes most of the time, but Soldiers of Steel, Orange Amp Energy, and Camouflage are just brutal. Additional points lost for a pinkwashing scheme.

#9 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #1 Bad Boy Buggies is even worse here, and the Bass Pro Shop schemes are awful. A number of good schemes here as well.

#10 Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 This team looks better without a primary sponsor than they do with one.

#11 Max Q Motorsports #37 Simple, yet attractive. Would be higher if they ran more races.

#12 Circle Team Sport #40 Interstate Moving is really good. Moon Shine Attitude Attire is really awful, and their pinkwashing scheme is even worse.

#13 Richard Childress Racing #31 A few good schemes but most of them are mediocre at best.

#14-Hendrick Motorsports #24 See Above

#14 Stewart Haas Racing #10 Worst shades of yellow in NASCAR, and the pinkwashing scheme is so much worse.

#15 Stewart Haas Racing #39 I have to give them credit, their schemes are mostly awful, but at least they are creative.

#16 Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Worst. Door. Number. Ever. The rest of the car isn’t good either, and a pinkwashing scheme doesn’t help.

#17 Hendrick Motorsports #5 Innovation can be a bad thing. This, for example is what happens when you let Karl Benjamin design your cars.

#19 Circle Sport/RCR #33 It amazes me how two different teams can use the same car number, and both can put awful designs on their cars. Special credit for the Honey Nut Cheerios scheme, which is just horrific.

A Great Series Needs a Great Logo!

By David G. Firestone10-labonte-rchestThe NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has a unique tradition that stretches back to the 1970’s, the Series Logo. Series Logos are now commonplace in most forms of racing, excluding Formula 1, which does not need a series logo. The evolution of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series logo over the years in interesting.

1972-1981imagesThis logo is designed in classic 1970’s design, and can be seen on driver suits, as this Dale Earnhardt Sr. example from 1980 clearly shows.

1982-1988WCSnewThe “1 Car” logo was a major redesign, and features a logo, with NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL SERIES embroidered, and a 1980’s car. Very visible on driver suits from the era.

1989-199220-hillin-rchestA simple Winston logo, which, while underwhelming is very visible on this Bobby Hillin Jr. Suit, and this photo of Dale Earnhardt Sr. from 1992…and look who is next to him!

1993-199616-musgrave-rchestAgain an underwhelming yet attractive series logo. The interesting thing about logos from 1993-2001 is that there are two designs, red with white lettering that displayed better on light driver suits, and white with red lettering that displayed better on dark colored driver suits. Though the rule was rather ambiguous for a while.

1997-19999-speed-chestThis design went through some changes when Winston changed the design of their packaging. Starting in 1998, Winston went from a rounder typeface to a narrower and straighter typeface, as a young Tony Stewart is modeling.

1998:15-musgrave-lsleeve1Every team and driver ran the NASCAR 50th Anniversary logo on their cars and driver suits. Not bad at all.

2000-200190-stricklin-rchestA square design with an oval logo was used from 2000-2001, with the color-flipping returning. At this point, the discussion of who would replace Winston started, as due to legislation, cigarettes would not be allowed to sponsor auto racing within the next few years.

2002-200344-Fittipaldi-lchest The transitional oval logo. The Busch Grand National series had adopted an oval logo in 1995, and since the series would change sponsorships in 2004, this new logo would be the bridge between the old and the new.

2004-20079-kahne-rchestNew sponsor, new colors, new shape. Nextell Communications took over in 2004 and it became the Nextell Cup Series. This logo would remain constant until Sprint and Nextell merged, which led to:

2008-Present:10-labonte-rchestSame color scheme, same shape, same basic design.

The logo has become a marketing point for NASCAR teams and NASCAR itself. Die casts, driver uniform coats, t-shirts, pit crew shirts, and many other items carry these logos.

Now on to the Nationwide Series

1982-1994busch-beer-mountains RacingbgnlogoThese two logos were used for the Busch Grand National series. The plain Busch logo worked better and was used more often than the Busch Beer Series logo.

1995-2004NbgnsAn oval logo with the sponsor name, and GRAND NATIONAL SERIES added below. It was very marketable and worked quite well as a logo.

2004-2007NbsGrand National Series has been removed, and some minor redesigns to BUSCH and the NASCAR logo as well. 2006 featured the 25th Anniversary logo.

2007-PresentNnsComplete redesign for the NASCAR Nationwide Series which began when Nationwide took over the titular sponsorship of the series. Uneven oval with a Nationwide logo, and a NASCAR logo, with a new overall design and color scheme.

Last but certainly not least the Truck Series

1995:NstsFor the first season, the Truck Series was referred to as the “Super Truck Series by Craftsman.” It featured a decidedly early 1990’s logo. It lasted for only one season.

1996-2002NctsThe Craftsman Truck Series is a better name and the logo, while still bearing a 1990’s style design, is more refined and professional.

2003-2008Ncts2The entire logo is inside the oval, some minor color and typeface changes are present as well. 2005 featured the 10th anniversary logo.12-miller-rshoulder - Copy2009-PresentNcwtsThe same off-center oval design as the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup logos, with a sponsor redesign for Camping World, who took over for Craftsman after 2009.

Paint Scheme Reviews!

Jamie McMurray #1 Bad Boy Buggies Chevy SS Not a bad scheme, colors work well, and the ovarall design is simple yet attractive, I give it an A+

Greg Biffle #16 Bondo/3M Ford Fusion The color scheme is good, but the red designs on a red background just look odd. If it was a white design, it would work well, but this just looks odd. Still, it’s odd, but not awful, so I will give it a C

Ricky Stenhouse #17 Nationwide Insurance Ford Fusion Um…This has a great color scheme and a great simple design, but this just does not work. Too much black, and not enough silver and blue. It would work well if the blue and silver were the predominant colors, and black was the where the silver is. I can give this a C

Austin Dillon #33 Advocare Chevy SS It works very well, great color scheme and great desgin…except for the black outline around the numbers. Why? The stripes don’t interfere with it at all. If it was just a small black outline around the edge of the numbers it would work, but the black negative space area is just distracting. Without the black, it would be an A, but this scheme earns a B-

David Ragan #34 Peanut Patch Hot Boiled Peanuts/Race Trac Ford Fusion While the color scheme brings back memories of the Houston Astros Tequila Sunrise jerseys, the overall design is good. I like the mountain-esque design, but the random peanuts scattered over the hood and quarter panels are just awful. I really want to give this a better grade, but a C- is the best I can do for this scheme.

Josh Wise #35 Carson-Newman University Ford Fusion Great color scheme, and great design…except for the eagle. Why is the eagle facing the back of the car? If the eagle was facing the front, I would give this scheme an A, but this just looks bad, and takes the grade down to a C

Landon Cassill #40 Moonshine Attitude Attire Chevy SS Ok, let me make this clear…hunting camouflage is not, has never been, and never will be an acceptable background color for a race car. It didn’t work for Duck Dynasty, and it doesn’t work for this car, and it gets an F

Aric Almirola #43 Rain Eater Wiper Blades/Charter Communications Ford Fusion This color scheme works very well, except for the hood logo, where the green logo is next to invisible on the Petty blue of the hood. But even so, the scheme as a whole works very well, so I’ll give it an A.

Ryan Truex #51 Seawatch Chevy SS Having never heard of Seawatch, I thought it was an activist group at first, but Seawatch is actually a very well established clam company based in Maryland. The overall design is really good, though the wave next to the rear wheel well is a bit out of place. Still it looked very good on the track, and I give it an A.

Justin Allgaier #51 Brandt Chevy SS A timeless design, with a great color scheme and a great design that earns an A

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Race 2 Achieve/National Guard Chevy SS Race 2 Achieve is a program that teaches advanced math through the eyes of Hendrick Motorsports engineers. It shows how the engineers use Algebra II and trigonometry to solve problems on the race car. This is a great old-school scheme, with a great color scheme, and great overall simple design. A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard/Breast Cancer Awareness Chevy SS Oh God! October is coming therefore, the pinkwashing must start. For those who don’t know the term, “Pinkwashing” is the process of using pink ribbons and/or the pink color to sell products, many of which are inherently unhealthy, with a “portion of the proceeds going to support the fight against breast cancer.” Sadly, most of these funds do not go to serious research, but rather to “feel good” causes such as the Susan G. Komen foundation. Because it is used as a marketing gimmick, and I, as well as my mom who is a breast cancer survivor are opposed to pinkwashing, any and every pink paint scheme, regardless of how good it looks, will earn an automatic F- grade.

Michael McDowell #98 Victory Junction Ford Fusion Unlike Komen, Victory Junction is a cause most people can support. Founded by the Petty Family, after the death of Adam Petty, Victory Junction is a camp for children with terminal and chronic illnesses, so while they are there, they can forget about the troubles of life, and have fun. That said, this is a great scheme, with a very simple yet attractive design, and great colors. The only bad thing I can say about this scheme is that I would love the logo on the quarter panels. That one thing can’t take away from an A+ scheme.

Every Great Outfit Needs Gloves and Shoes to Match!

10-riggsshoes - CopyBy David G. Firestone

Since the fire risk in racing is as high as it is, it makes sense that driver uniform includes fire retardant shoes and gloves to go along with it. Although they are frequently overlooked by many fans, they are just as critical to driver safety and comfort as the suit and helmet. Gloves and shoes have, like the suit and helmet, become fashion forward in recent years.

Let’s look at the gloves first. Gloves in racing are typically made of multiple layers of Nomex, and feature a textured layer on the palm, which is designed to help the driver grip the steering wheel. Gloves may be waterproofed for open cockpit racing, where rain and other inclement weather may not impede the race. The gloves give the same amount of protection that the suit does, roughly 30 seconds, and are certified by FIA and SFI. This example, worn by Hut Stricklin in 2000 shows the basics..90-stricklingloves

 

The textured palm…90-stricklingloves-rglovb 90-stricklingloves-gloveb

 

The thickness…90-stricklingloves-rsize 90-stricklingloves-lsize

 

as well as the liability tag and the safety certification…90-stricklingloves-ltag 90-stricklingloves-rtag

As I mentioned above, gloves have evolved to be more visible on in-car cameras. These examples, worn by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson show how these new customizations can take a simple safety equipment item, and add some visual appeal to it. A search on eBay reveals that these items do wind up for sale after they are used.

Next, let’s discuss the shoes.

Shoes are as important as gloves in terms of fire protection. Those 30 seconds of fire protection are critical for the driver to get out of a burning car. The basic design of the shoes are meant to help the driver, well, drive. Some drivers in years past have opted for nontraditional racing shoes, such as Dave Marcus who was well-known for wearing wingtips while racing.

Typical racing shoes consist of a rubber, fire retardant sole, with triple-layer Nomex material covering the foot. The tongue, and shoe laces are fire retardant as well. Velcro straps are frequently employed to secure the shoe as extra protection. Let’s look at a race-worn pair, this pair worn by Scott Riggs in the early 2000’s.10-riggsshoes

These shoes show the sole design,10-riggsshoes-bottom

Main design, with the reflective layer adding some extra protection…10-riggsshoes-rshoe2 10-riggsshoes-rshoe1 10-riggsshoes-lshoe2 10-riggsshoes-lsig

and thickness…10-riggsshoes-ltop

 

While the design of the gloves are fashion forward, the shoes are more utilitarian than anything else. But they do wind up on eBay sometimes…

Jamie McMurray #1 Bell Helicopters Chevy SS Love the simplicity in the design and color scheme, as well as Bell’s great logo! It is simple, yet elegant, and earns an A grade

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmer’s Insurance 85th Anniversary Chevy SS It’s amazing how a color change can affect a scheme. I graded the standard scheme at a D+ earlier this year, and with the black red and tan color change it takes it from a D+ to an A-. Notice that there is no real difference between the two schemes except the colors and the new one is so much better!

Kevin Harvick #29 Bad Boy Buggies Chevy SS I like this scheme for the same reasons as the Jamie McMurray Bell scheme, and it gets the same A grade!

David Stremme #30 Window Wax Toyota Camry  The best way I can describe this scheme is that there is nothing good about it.  Anything they could have messed up with this scheme, they did.  It gets an F-

David Stremme #30 Lean 1 Toyota Camry See Above

Landon Cassill #33 Justin Workboots Chevy SS I like the design scheme except for the primary sponsor logo is a completly different color than the rest of the car.  The thing is that the two color schemes work very well by themselves, but the combo of the two just makes no sense.  It takes an A scheme and brings it down to a C…PICK A COLOR SCHEME!