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-Wood Brothers Racing #21 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:4 of 45
The Wood Brothers have had a great look in recent years. The throwback inspired scheme works very well. While the orange OmniCraft scheme was the low point, the A- it earned should show how solid a year The Wood Brothers had. That A- kept The Wood Brothers from a solid 4 GPA and a tie for the top spot.
#3-Stewart-Haas Racing #41 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:8 of 45
A great showing for the #41, with 4 A’s and a B+. The schemes were all great, and the overall grade is very respectable.
#4-Stewart-Haas Racing #14 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:12 of 45
Cars 3 and 5 Star Urgent Care were the low grades, and when the lowest grade you get in a season is a B, you know you are doing very well. Aside from the two B grades, all of their grades were solid A’s, but the law of averages keeps the #14 from a higher spot.
#5-Hendrick Motorsports #5 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:11 of 45
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.
#6-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.
#7-Stewart-Haas Racing #4 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:15 of 45
The new Busch and Busch Light schemes as well as the new Mobil 1 schemes were great, and the Jimmy John’s scheme were all great in 2017. The Busch Bucks, Busch Outdoor,Busch Light Outdoor, and Busch NA schemes took the grade down from a solid A scheme to a much lower GPA.
#8-Richard Childress Racing #27 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:36 of 45
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.
#9-Team Penske #2 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:9 of 45
The Penske Template can work well with the right color combination. Auto Trader, Detroit Genuine Parts, and Fitzgerald Glider Kits aren’t the right color combinations. Miller Lite had a great scheme, and the other schemes that used the Penske Template worked very well.
#10-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.
#11-Premium Motorsports #55 Chevy SS/Toyota Camry Rank Last Year:3 of 45
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.
#12-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota Camry Rank Last Year:18 of 45
The Interstate Batteries scheme, as well as both of Snicker’s schemes took a solid A season for the #18, and given it a solid rating, but nowhere near the top.
#13-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:5 of 45
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.
#14-Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:41 of 45
The #1 had a varied 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.
#15-Joe Gibbs Racing #19 Toyota Camry Rank Last Year:22 of 45
Comcast Business was awful. Stanley remains mediocre. Subway was great, and the rest of the 2017 schemes were great! It’s the Comcast Business scheme that is keeping the #19 from having a better season. Still, they did have a solid season.
#16-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.
#17-Richard Childress Racing #31 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:21 of 45
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.
#18-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.
#19-Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Toyota Camry Rank Last Year:28 of 45
The FedEx schemes took a dive this year. The paintbrush motif doesn’t work. The SportClips scheme needed a work as well. The Throwback was great, as was FedEx Cares and FedEx/Walgreens. The average score is lower than it could have been though.
#20-Hendrick Motorsports #24 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:35 of 45
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.
#20-Leavine Family Racing #95 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:29 of 45
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.
#21-Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:27 of 45
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.
#22-Germain Racing #13 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:42 of 45
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.
#23-Hendrick Motorsports #88 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:17 of 45
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.
#24-Front Row Motorsports #38 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:14 of 45
Jacob Companies had some bad schemes this year, and 1000 Bulbs isn’t that great either. Those are the only bad schemes, as the rest are A grades. The average of grades is a harsh mistress, and the total average of the grades is mediocre.
#25-Roush Fenway Racing #6 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:30 of 45
The range of grades was all over the place, with some amazing and some awful grades. The throwback was great, but many of the schemes needed work.
#26-Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:31 of 45
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.
#27-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:39 of 45
Smithfield and STP were blah. The throwback was amazing. The less said about Fresh From Florida, the better. The grade averages were average, and the #43 gains a bit this year, but has a lot of work to do. Hopefully a new sponsor set will bring the grades up.
#28-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.
#29-Front Row Motorsports #34 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year: 20 of 45
Fr8 Auctions is the same disaster it was. The camouflage scheme has somehow gotten worse from last year. Jacob Companies has to smear their designs on the sides of the car. These three are the only downs for the year, but their low grades had an impact, taking a car that usually has a great look has a lower grade.
#30-Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Toyota Camry Rank Last Year:6 of 45
Tide Pods, Toyota, Toyota Care, and Red Cross were horrible, to say the least. Aside from the Sirius/XM scheme, which was graded a B+, all of the other schemes the #20 ran were A’s. Sadly, averaging out the grades places the #20 down the list.
#31-Team Penske #22 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:45 of 45
Of 9 grades, 4 of them are D’s, and 5 of them are A’s. This can be attributed to the pickiness of the Penske Template. Some color schemes work well, others don’t work at all. The throwback and Duralast schemes work very well, as do the Red Cross and the Indy 500 scheme, and the Pennzoil scheme. The rest of the schemes are just awful. The of average of all of these is a mediocre grades.
#32-Roush Fenway Racing #17 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:23 of 45
Go Bowling, NESN, and the new Fifth-Third Bank were meh. Sunny D and a Pinkwashing scheme earned F’s. Eco-Boost was awful. The rest of the schemes including two great throwbacks were all solid this year. Sadly, the average of all of these is a lower score than what could have been.
#33-Furniture Row Racing #78 Toyota Camry Rank Last Year:38 of 45
The #78 had a decent start, with Furniture Row and Auto Owner’s Insurance having solid A schemes. Then came Bass Pro Shops, 5-Hour Energy, Wix Filters, Ducks Unlimited, and Tracker Boats. Any good looks left once they came on board. The average is low, and the final rank is low.
#34-Stewart-Haas Racing #10 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year: 25 of 45
Aspen Dental and Warriors in Pink were the bottom of the barrel. Colorado State and Warrior by Danica were bad. The rest of the schemes were great. Averaging all the grades out leaves the #10 near the bottom of the list.
#35-Gaunt Bros Racing #96 Chevy SS Rank Last Year: NA
A 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.
#36-Chip Ganassi Racing #42 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:24 of 45
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.
#37-BK Racing #23 Toyota Camry Rank Last Year:34 of 45
JAS Trucking, the throwback, Freshbeards, My Freedom Smokes, and Beardfresh/Earthwater were all solid A schemes. These were the 5 jewels in a series of mediocre to awful schemes the #23 ran in 2017. BK racing loves to over design their cars, and this set is another example of that.
#38-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.
#39-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.
#40-BK Racing #83 Toyota Camry Rank Last Year:40 of 45
BK racing loves to over design their cars. This is evident since many of their cars that they raced in 2017 had some form of pointless design. There were a few bright spots, but the cars just didn’t look good in 2017.
#41-Furniture Row Racing #77 Toyota Camry Rank Last Year: NA
The Game Stop and Cars 3 schemes were the only bright spots in a series of awful schemes that plagued the #77 in 2017. The grades ranged from C- to F and the whole set is ugly, and over designed. Even the two A graded Game Stop and Cars 3 schemes couldn’t save the #77 from a low rating.
#42-Go FAS Racing #32 Ford Fusion Rank Last Year:32 of 45
The #32 grades were all over the place, with numerous F’s, numerous A’s, and many in between. Go FAS is a team that gets many one or two race sponsors, and so the team is changing schemes all the time, some great, and some awful. The final report places Go FAS at the bottom of the list.
#43-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Chevy SS Rank Last Year:37 of 45
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.
That does it for 2017. Over the last year we’ve had fun, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve been divided, and we’ve been in agreement. 2018 is just around the corner, and I look forward to seeing you here again. I’ve got a lot of great things planned, and we’re going to have fun.