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?

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Paint Scheme Leaderboard Part 1-Ford

By David G. Firestone

I started ranking all the teams last week, with the Paint Schemie Awards, and I figured I would continue this week with the Paint Scheme Leaderboard. The concept is that over the next 4 weeks, I will rank all the drivers by team. The rules are the same as the Paint Schemies, and I will rank the teams, first by Manufacturer, and then by all the teams running the Sprint Cup Series. A random drawing has Ford going first, followed by Chevy next week, and then Toyota the following week. The last week, will be all 50 teams that ran in the Sprint Cup Series this year.

So, without further ado, let’s look at how Ford’s NASCAR teams fared in the paint scheme world this year:

#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-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.

#3 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.

#4 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.

#5 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.

#6 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, pinkwashing, and Patriotic schemes need some work.

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

#8 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.

#9 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.

#10 Front Row Motorsports #35, See above

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

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

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

#14 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.

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

#16 Levine Family Racing #95 Worst template in NASCAR.

#17 Xxxtreme Motorsports #44 Yuck.

Next Week, the Chevy Leaderboard!

Pit Boards…Unique and Under-Appreciated.

By David Firestone

Today, I thought we should discuss an item that everyone sees, but not everyone understands…the mighty pit board. Pit Boards are an item that most average collector wouldn’t think that would come up for sale, but they do. I am a proud owner of one myself:mccumbee-pit-1

This beauty of an item is from MRD Motorsports, and was used between 2007 and 2009 for Chad McCumbee and Blake Bjorklund, amongst others. Made from a thick plastic inside, with the color design made with a plastic similar to many campaign signs, it shows very nice use, with scratches and scuff marks. There are two types of pit boards. One type hangs above the pit lane, to help indicate to the driver where his pit is. This board almost always has the car number and holes cut into it to cut down on wind resistance. This is an example of one used by MRD.

The other type, like the one shown above, is to indicate to the car where to stop in the pit. In years past, a crew member would stand behind the board and the car would drive up to him, as shown at 6:49 at the video here…

Since this was as dangerous as one thinks it is, in the 1990’s, pit crews switched to the “lollipop” form still used today.  The board is held on a long pole and held where the driver can see and hit it to stop at their stall, as seen below:

Boards are often customized to driver preference.  Kevin Harvick is known for his “Happy Face” pit board.  Some drivers use sponsor names, other use car numbers.  It all looks confusing on pit road sometimes.  In this example, the MRD Motorsports board has the car number design on it.  This board shows where the pole was attached to the board.mccumbee-pit-2 mccumbee-pit-3

And it also shows numerous scratches and scuff marks from race use.mccumbee-pit-3 mccumbee-pit-4

 

The back of this board is plain black.  That is due to MRD being a low budget team, with limited resources.mccumbee-pit-5

 

A quick search on ebay and other sites shows that these items frequently sold as collectors items after a race.  These are unique items, and for NASCAR fans are conversation pieces.

And now on to Paint Schemes…

Brian Vickers #11 FedEx Delivery Manager Toyota Camry  Good simple scheme with great colors and design, gets an A

Sam Hornish Jr. #12 SKF Ford Fusion  Good color scheme, but it looks like a cross between Joey Logano’s scheme and Aric Almirola’s schemes.  I give it a B+

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shop Chevy SS The color scheme is good, but the overall design isn’t as good as the regular scheme. Too much going on. The best grade it can earn is a C

Clint Bowyer #15 Toyota Toyota Camry Not much to complain about here, good color scheme and simple design and an A grade

Clint Bowyer #15 KFC I Ate The Bones Toyota Camry KFC has great lettering and a great shade of red, and both are not represented here very well.  That said, I don’t hate this scheme, colors are good, but what is with the hood design?  The KFC logo is too small, and the hood has some creepy guy with a bowl cut as the most promising feature.  All things considered, it earns a C-

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s M’ Prove America Toyota Camry Good scheme with a great color scheme and good design. Nothing wrong with this solid A scheme.

Kyle Busch #18 Doublemint Gum Toyota Camry Just like Kyle’s scheme on the 18, I love the color scheme, love the simple design, love the fact that the 81 is the 18 backwards, love this scheme, A+

David Ragan #34 Detail Doctor Ford Fusion  Decent color scheme and decent design.  C-

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Clorox 100th Anniversary Chevy SS  Surprise!  Happy Birthday!  The blue and white is good but the rest looks too goofy to be good.  It looks like a birthday party for a 4 year old.  Lose the confetti and streamers and I would like it much more, this scheme earns a D+

Aric Almirola #43 Enrich/Smithfield/Farmland Ford Fusion Lose the design on the doors and it would be perfect. Other than that these three schemes, different only by the hood and quarter panel sponsors are perfect and earn solid A schemes

Aric Almirola #43 Transportation Impact Ford Fusion Black white and lime green? Seriously? And the black front makes it look like the car was in a wreck and had the nose replaced. Not a good look at all. The door design is awful and the quarter panel is even worse! I can’t give this scheme a passing grade and it gets an F!

Aric Almirola #43 Jani-King/STP Gas Booster Ford Fusion This scheme makes up for the Transportation Impact scheme with simple perfection, and an A grade

Aric Almirola #43 STP/Farmland Ford Fusion OK, last Almirola scheme…I promise! A good throwback scheme is ruined with the door number design. Get rid of the oval design and it would get an A, whereas this scheme earns a B-

Scott Riggs #44 No Label Watches Ford Fusion An awful scheme made much worse by a horrible color scheme that earns an F- grade.

Scott Riggs #44 JPO Absorbents Ford Fusion Why do many racing teams have wave designs?  It is not a good design, and in this case it takes a good color scheme and ruins it earning a D grade.

Bobby Labonte #47 Clorox 100th Anniversary Toyota Camry Did anyone look at the main color of the car before it was painted?  This looks awful!  Montoya’s version looks better, but not by much.  D-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes “Reverse” Chevy SS  Looks really good, and really stands out in nighttime racing.  Color scheme is good, as Lowe’s often is.  A+

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s “Emerald” Chevy SS  Decent color scheme, though if if were reversed it would look even better.  Even still it is good enough to earn an A-

Martin Truex Jr. #56 NAPA Brakes Toyota Camry Simple design, good color scheme, but the Twitter handle on the back of the roof is distracting and it looks awful.  It takes an A scheme to a B-

Kurt Busch #78 Furniture Row Military Appreciation Night Chevy SS I love the matte black that Furniture Row usually uses, so this is kind of disappointing. That said, the color are good, but the hood design needs work. The MILITARY APPRECIATION banner is much to small and it is hard to see at speed. A good scheme that has been ruined and earns a D-

Elliot Sadler #81 Double-Mint Gum Toyota Camry Just like Kyle’s scheme on the 18, I love the color scheme, love the simple design, love the fact that the 81 is the 18 backwards, love this scheme, A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Chevy SS What the hell?  The blue and white scheme works well with this design, but camo and black?  It just looks awful.  I love Dale Jr. but I can’t defend this scheme at all. F-

Scott Speed #95 Tracking Point/JTS Truck Sales Ford Fusion Good color scheme, but awful design. The diamond plate decals does nothing to help, and it earns a D-

Michael McDowell #98 Curb Record/ The Bobby Bones Show Ford Fusion Love the color schemes and design. Bonus points for the diagonal hood logo. Not many people can make the diagonal logo work, but it works here, A+

Carl Edwards #99 Geek Squad Ford Fusion.  Not much to say here, really simple design and it looks alright…C+

Carl Edwards #99 Cheez Its/Frosted Flakes Ford Fusion.  These two schemes are awful.  Too much going on, too many colors, no consistency, not a good pair of schemes at all, F