Paint Scheme Grades-June 15, 2019

By David G. Firestone

Austin Dillon #3 DOW Salutes Veterans Chevy Camaro-Dale’s Olympic scheme was a great scheme. This somewhat faithful replica looks really good, and I can’t really say anything bad. A

Ryan Newman #6 Coca Cola Ford Mustang-Another great patriotic look. This is a good design, it isn’t over designed, and the car looks great. A

Daniel Hemric #8 Chevy Accessories Chevy Camaro-Changing the angles to curves is a good look. The car looked great last year, and it looks great this year. A

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield/Meijer Ford Mustang-Another example of a scheme that has two good elements that combine to be a mediocre design. The blue Meijer would work, as does Smithfield. Together, this isn’t a great look, I’ll give it a C.

Ryan Blaney #12 Menards/Wrangler Riggs Ford Mustang-Red as a base color is a good look, and the 2018 Menard’s template works very well. This gets a well-earned A.

Ty Dillon #13 Twisted Tea Patriotic Chevy Camaro-The bottom motif works well, it’s simple yet well done. A

Clint Bowyer #14 Haas Automation/IT Savvy Ford Mustang-This is a decent scheme, but this would work so much better with a black-to-orange fade. Still, it’s decet, so I’ll give it a B.

Garrett Smithley #15 Victory Lane Quick Oil Change/Kendall Oil Chevy Camaro-The red and white curves look really good on the black background. The car as a whole looks great. A

Erik Jones #20 Craftsman/SportsClips Toyota Camry-Same scheme as Craftsman, same A grade.

Paul Menard #21 Menard’s/Nibco Ford Mustang-This works well, I’m beginning to come around on the new template. This is a good look. A

Corey LaJoie #32 Harvest Investments Ford Mustang-I don’t know for sure if Big Bird has his own shade of yellow. I hope he does, because this is a great shade of yellow. Add in that the car has a smooth look, and you have an A.

Michael McDowell #34 Melling Engine Parts/Dockside Logistics Ford Mustang-Same scheme as Dockside Logistics, same B+ grade.

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Air Force Chevy Camaro-I love everything about this design! The A-10 is one of my favorite Air Force planes. This look is a great look. A

Josh Bilicki #52 Mariott Companies Chevy Camaro-It’s a smooth look, with a great color scheme, and that will always earn an A

Alex Bowman #88 Axalta Throwback Chevy Camaro-The Tim Richmond Folgers scheme was a great scheme, and it’s nice that Axalta is doing a faithful throwback. This is a great look. A

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Paint Scheme Grades-April 13, 2019

By David G. Firestone

Landon Cassill #00 Jacob White Construction Chevy Camaro-I like the StarCom color scheme, but I think that the design is over done.

Landon Cassill #00 Superior Essex Chevy Camaro-If the color scheme were reversed, I would like it more. I think the white should be the primary color, and black should be the inner. This still looks good, so I’ll give it a B+.

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Throwback Chevy Camaro-Black and gold works well, especially on a throwback. This is a great scheme, with a great color scheme, and I can’t give this less than an A.

Daniel Hemric #8 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevy Camaro-If the primary color was either black or orange, I would like it more. This scheme, however, isn’t great. In fact, this is awful. Darker colors work better sometimes and this is one of those times. I do like the color scheme, so I’ll give it a D.

Daniel Hemric #8 Caterpillar Throwback Chevy Camaro-This is a great scheme, not just because it looks awesome, but because I like how throwbacks are evolving in NASCAR. It used to be that throwbacks were either old schemes, or based on old schemes. Nowadays, everything from cans to trucks are being used. This example is based on an old Caterpillar tractor from the 1920’s. This looks amazing! A

Clint Bowyer #14 Haas Automation Ford Mustang-It’s a smooth look, with a great color scheme, and that earns an A.

Erik Jones #20 Craftsman “Racing for a Miracle” Toyota Camry-Yes, it is designed by sick children, but it works very well. It’s not over designed, there is a balance of design and color, and it works very well. A

Paul Menard #21 Menard’s/Sylvania Ford Mustang– The new Menard’s template is more finicky than the 2018 version. That said, black works very well with it, and the car looks great as a direct result. It looks great, so I’ll give it an A.

Joey Logano #22 Auto Trader Ford Mustang-This new design still looks awful, but in a different way. It’s not great, so I’ll give it a D+.

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Corey LaJoie #32 Dude Wipes Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Chris Buescher #37 Bush’s Best Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Blue-Emu Chevy Camaro-It’s a great look. The color scheme works. It’s a bold look, that isn’t over designed, and it looks great. A

Bayley Currey #52 Belmont Classic Cars Chevy Camaro-Another great look that works very well. I can’t say anything bad about this, so I can’t. A

Timmy Hill #66 Toyota Camry-It’s a great shade of blue, and there isn’t anything else that needs to be said. A

Quin Houff #77 FALCI Adaptive Motorsports Chevy Camaro-Another great look that works very well. I can’t say anything bad about this, so I can’t. A

Matt DiBenedetto #95 NASCAR Pro Heat/LFR Pro League Toyota Camry-The sunburst design works very well, and the black helps accentuate it. It’s a great look, it looks awesome so it gets an A.

Paint Scheme Grades-August 6, 2016

By David G. Firestone

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Olympics Chevy SS-Reversing colors on a paint scheme can work, but this one just missed. I think that it would be better with the Olympics and a Patriotic theme. It’s not horrific though, and looks decent so I’ll give it a B-.

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Mycogen Seeds Chevy SS-The color scheme works well, but the design doesn’t work with the color scheme. If I was doing a field motif, green and brown would work, but this just looks odd. Again, like the Olympic scheme, it isn’t awful, and I’ll give it a B-.

Regan Smith #7 Mario Fiore Teddy Bear Pools Chevy SS-I’m a sucker for a great throwback, and this is a great throwback. It’s an obscure one, but it works well. I don’t understand naming a business “Teddy Bear Pools” but I’ll ignore it. A.

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Chevy SS-The team allowed Denny to design his own car for the Coke Zero 400, and it’s obvious he had some help. This scheme is bad for a number of reasons. First, the hood logo should match the red, not the white. Second, it looks like the team used SportClips for the basis. Third, it might not be the greatest idea to drive an all black car, with an all-black firesuit in Florida in July. It’s an overused look, that just didn’t work. The color scheme is decent, so I will give it a D-.

Tony Stewart #14 Haas Automation Chevy SS-The fade could be a bit more pronounced, but it’s still a great scheme. A-.

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Chevy Summer Selldown Chevy SS-Same as Mobil 1, same A grade.

Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy/Knoxville Nationals Chevy SS-Same scheme as 5-Hour Energy, same A grade.

Greg Biffle #16 KFC Ford Fusion-I think the names on a race car trope is getting a bit out of hand, but that is my only complaint about this otherwise great KFC scheme. A-.

Greg Biffe #16 NESN Fuel Ford Fusion-NESN’s color scheme is great, but the designs are overused, and need some simplifying. It could work, better with a smoother design, but it’s not horrific. I give it a B-.

Carl Edwards #19 Arris Tony Stewart Throwback Toyota Camry-The Tony Stewart tribute is a great idea on paper, and in practice it works perfectly. It’s a great throwback, and since the color scheme is identical, it works very well. A.

Carl Edwards #19 SportClips Toyota Camry-Same as Denny Hamlin’s #11, same C grade.

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt/Flexvolt Toyota Camry-Get rid of DeWalt, and it would be an A scheme, but with the two different color and design schemes clashing, it takes an A grade down to a C-. The two different schemes by themselves work, but the combo doesn’t.

Ryan Blaney #21 Quicklane/Trading One Uniform For Another Ford Fusion-Replacing the traditional Wood Brothers red roof with a light blue one was a bold move, but I have to say that it looks really good. It doesn’t look like it would work, but it works perfectly. A

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft Throwback Ford Fusion-Even for The Wood Brothers, this is an amazing scheme! I love a great throwback, and I think this might be the best throwback of the year. I can’t give it anything but an A.

David Ragan #23 Dr. Pepper Throwback Toyota Camry-Granted it’s more of a cop out of a throwback scheme, but it’s not terrible. I wish that Dr. Pepper and BK Racing would work a little harder with the scheme. Still it’s not a bad scheme, and it’s worth a B+.

David Ragan #23 Flaming Leprechaun Toyota Camry-Black with dark red flames could be hit or miss, and this is a hit. It works well, and looks good. Nothing wrong here. A

David Ragan #23 Brandies Machinery Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

David Ragan #23 Dr. Pepper/USA Network Toyota Camry-Same basic scheme as Dr. Pepper, same A grade.

Chase Eliott #24 NAPA Patriotic Chevy SS-It could work as a patriotic scheme, but it’s overdone, and it needs work. If the white roof was eliminated, and the patriotic elements condensed, it would work better, but as of right now, it earns a C+.

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Sylvania Chevy SSI’ve had a lot of good things to say about the Menard’s Template, but that ends with this scheme. The orange does not work with the yellow, and the whole car just looks awful. I can’t pass this scheme, so I’ll give it an F.

Paul Menard #27 Valvoline Throwback Chevy SS-While I like throwback schemes for the most part, this scheme just doesn’t work. Based on Al Unser’s 1993 Daytona 500 scheme, this is one of those instances where the color scheme is mediocre, that silver is just not good, and a design that just doesn’t work. As much as I get what was trying to be done, it was based on a terrible scheme in its first incarnation, and I have to give it an F.

Bobby Labonte #32 One Orlando Ford FusonSame scheme as last year, same F grade.

Eddie McDonald #32 Bentley’s Saloon Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2016, orange, red, silver, and black with a series of modern designs up sides. F

Jeb Burton #32 Erie Insurance Ford Fusion-My only complaint is that the wave form is a bit overdone, which messes up the whole look. Other than that, its not a bad scheme at all, if not for being a tad overdone. B+

Kyle Larson #42 Energizer Chevy SS-It’s a decent scheme, but if the white were replaced by black, I would like it more. The design looks forced, and it doesn’t work as well. I’ll give it a C-.

Brian Scott #44 Shaw’s/Heinz Ford Fusion-Same scheme as Alberston’s, same A grade.

Michael Annett #46 St Jude’s Hospital Chevy SS-The silver background doesn’t work, but changing it to white would work very well. Other than that, it’s a really good scheme. B+

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger/Outshine/Drumstick Chevy SS-Same scheme as Kroger, same A grade.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger/Clorox/Scott Chevy SS-Same scheme as Kroger, same A grade.

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

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s/Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevy SS-The black with stars works very well, but why in the world would you go with that door design? That design is just awful. Above and beyond that, why would you have nearly invisible stars on the sides and hood? It just looks awful! I give it an F.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevy SS-Rather than replacing the blue elements with red, as in 2015, there was a whole new design for 2016, which is overdone, and just looks odd. I’m not sure what they were going for, but they missed. It’s ugly and confusing, and has earned an F.

Matt DiBenedetto #83 Anest Iwata Toyota Camry-Its a simple design, with a great color scheme, and it has a smooth look. I give it an A.

Matt DiBenedetto #83 Orange Crush Throwback Toyota Camry-Orange and blue can be hit or miss, depending on what shades are used, but this design, and this color scheme works very well, and earns an A

Matt DiBenedetto #83 Science Logic Toyota Camry-It’s never a good sign when I can compare a paint scheme to cheap hotel carpeting, but for this scheme, its spot on. The only thing giving this scheme a D+ is a good color scheme.

Ty Dillon #95 Chevy Summer Selldown Chevy SS-It could be better when it comes to the design, sunburst is finicky on race cars. The color scheme is great, so I’ll give it an B-.

Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Richard Childress Throwback Chevy SS-It’s a great throwback, and it is very faithful to the original. It can’t get any grade less than an A.

Cole Whitt #98 Speed Stick Reversed Chevy SS-As shown with the Olympic Dow scheme above, reversing the colors doesn’t always work. But this scheme shows that it can. Silver looks good as a background, and the blue works well. It earns an A.

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.