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.

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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!

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+

Commemorative Patches…and Why I HATE Them!

301650thanniversarylogoBy David G. Firestone

Derek Jeter has had his  number retired. Several teams this year have various anniversaries they are celebrating.  All of them are wearing commemorative patches on their uniforms.  Why is this important to The Driver Suit Blog? Because too much salt will ruin the soup.  What does that mean, well, I saw that Jeter was wearing a patch to commemorate his upcoming retirement, and, well it got me thinking, and I’d like to talk about this issue, which has been getting on my nerves for a while. Sports uniforms in 2014 are designed to move merchandise, and this is the case in racing. I can’t begin to put the blame for this on NASCAR, so I won’t. But I do think that what happened in 1998 is a perfect example of why it doesn’t really work.

In 1998, NASCAR turned 50. In 1948, Bill France Sr. saw the potential for a unified stock car racing series, so at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, a series of meetings took place. France was in charge of the National Championship Stock Car Circuit or NCSSC, which was founded in 1947, but when the AAA refused to fund the series, France had to make do. Fonty Flock would win the 1947 NCSSC Championship. In December, the meetings took place at the Streamline, and the Series was supposed to be renamed the National Stock Car Racing Association, or NSCRA, but that name was used by a rival organization, so on December 14, 1947, the name NASCAR or National Association of Stock Car Racing Association. NASCAR itself was founded on February 21, 1948.

On February 15, 1998, almost 50 years to that day, the 1998 racing season began in great style with Dale Earnhardt Sr. winning the Daytona 500. NASCAR as a whole celebrated the anniversary in grand style, with NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers being named, and the sports history was celebrated. For an event like this, you need a good logo for it, so this design was utilized to commemorate the 1998 season.301650thanniversarylogoI vividly remember seeing this patch in Winston Cup Illustrated before the season start, and I can remember thinking “I am going to get so sick of seeing this patch by season’s end.” Well I was sick of it, and that was long before the end of the season. NASCAR smeared this patch on everything. Every NASCAR telecast had this logo. Anything and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, sold by NASCAR in 1998 had this logo. Not even the iconic Barbie doll was immune from this plague. You couldn’t turn around in 1998 without seeing this logo. NASCAR wanted it that way. They used this logo to sell merchandise. That was the whole line of reasoning. This logo will sell merchandise, yes we are thrilled to be 50, but really they just want to move merch.

Every driver suit had this patch somewhere, as this Ted Musgrave example from that season shows.15-musgrave-lsleeve1 Decals would up on helmets as well. grissom-1NASCAR used this to move merchandise, but it was so overused in telecasts and car designs, that I intentionally didn’t buy that much NASCAR stuff during that time. I could not wait for the season to end, and I didn’t have to look at that logo again.  Sports uniforms as a whole are using more of these patches to sell merchandise, and frankly it’s now completely out of control.  Sports jerseys retail about $100 on the low end, and these patches are used to sell more of them.   Is a logo like that really worth shelling out $100 for a new jersey, or shirt, or jacket?  I’m gonna say no.

After the 1998 season, the logo did go away, but not before another major issue with these types of logos come up. When these logos are being used, merchandise sells. When the season ends, and a new season begins, the logos aren’t selling as much, and the retailers who sell merchandise have a lot of this stuff that they have to put on sale to move it. This is not a small issue for retailers, as many of them are mom and pop stores whose profit margins are razor thin enough. In many instances, these items will be sold at a loss to make room for new merchandise.  People will say that these are “collector’s items” but prices on eBay would lead me to believe that this is not the case.  They make money for a short time, and lose money in the long term.  This has become the case in general with commemorative logos on merchandise.

If this logo had been used on merchandise, but hadn’t been used in the telecasts as much as it was, I would be willing to work with it a bit more, but even in 2014, 16 years after the fact, my hatred for this logo is still with me. Words can’t say how much I hate seeing this logo again.  What I’m about to say next might seem odd, but it is the truth…I don’t think it’s a bad logo. In fact, I think it’s a good logo, but I was so sick of seeing it, that I hate it.  When you as a fan would watch a 3 hour long race, and had to see this logo in the corner while the race was on, and at every commercial break, it got really old, really fast.

It’s a problem with sports uniforms that’s endemic. It started with anniversaries, and moved on to number retirements, old stadiums closing, new stadiums opening, announcers retiring, players about to retire, and even anniversaries of tragic events. It has gotten out of hand. It moves merchandise in the short term, which is good, but too much salt will ruin the soup every time. Commemorative patches need to be toned down…way down.

Editor’s Note, we are now in October, and now starts the Pinktober, Pinkwashing, call it whatever you want, but for the next month, sports teams across the country will be using pink on uniforms and equipment to raise money for in support of breast cancer. Much of this does not go to serious research, but to more “feel good” charities that don’t really help. Toward that end, all pinkwashing schemes will earn an automatic F. If someone is bold enough to try pinkwashing and camo, it will earn them a one rank loss on the Paint Scheme Leaderboard, and automatic disqualification for the best paint scheme set in the Schemies.

First, we have some 2015 Schemes…

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SS It has a good color scheme, and while it’s overdesigned, it still looks better than the current scheme. I’ll give it a C+

Ty Dillon #33 Yuengling Brewery Chevy SS I love the faded glory design, I think it works well, and I’ll give it an A+

Now onto the 2014 schemes…

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Monopoly Chevy SS Overall design is good, I like the color scheme, and it is a great looking car, A+

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

Clint Bowyer #15 Five Hour Energy Pink Lemonade Toyota Camry Pinkwashing earns an automatic F.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Cargill Beef Ford Fusion I like the black flames on the blue background, but the orange and white stripes take away from it. It kills a great look with a great color scheme, and takes it from an A to a B-

Timmy Hill #32 US Chrome Ford Fusion Great simple design with a great color scheme earns an A+

Josh Wise #98 Vapor Station Ford Fusion Good design, good color scheme, A+