By David G. Firestone
The Executive Paint Scheme Ranking Committee has had our final meeting. While I made the decisions, Alejandro slept on my lap and occasionally woke up and purred. All 49 teams are having their paint schemes ranked this week, so here we go:
1-FURNITURE ROW RACING #78 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:4th of 55-Black matte with orange numbers works. The ovarian cancer theme is very justifiable, as Truex’s wife is dealing with ovarian cancer. The #78 has earned the top spot.
2-FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #35 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:28th of 55-Front Row’s new team started their existence with a slew of great schemes. All of them are smooth, simple and great.
3-RAB RACING #29 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:16th of 55-Only one scheme, and it was a great one!
4-WOOD BROTHERS RACING #21 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:1st of 55 I thought that the Snap On memories scheme wasn’t as good as it could be,but other than that, The Wood Brothers had a great season.
5-JTG DAUGHTERY RACING #47 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year: 15th of 55-A lot of great looks, but Bush’s kept them out of the top five in The Leaderboard.
6-HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year: 36th of 55-Jeff’s last season in NASCAR was one of his best looking. The Penn State Scheme kept Jeff from taking the top spot, but a solid season nonetheless.
7-STEWART-HAAS RACING #4 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:5th of 55-Kevin had a great season, though the disaster that is Hunt Brothers Pizza dragged his ranking from 2nd, possibly first to Fourth in the Chevy Leaderboard.
8-JOE GIBBS RACING #11 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:24th of 55-Four brand new, amazing FedEx schemes, a mediocre SportClips scheme, and one mediocre SportClips throwback scheme.
9-JOE GIBBS RACING #20 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:33rd of 55-SportClips didn’t do the really good set of schemes any favors.
10-PHIL PARSONS RACING/PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #98-Rank Last Year:31st of 55-Due to the midseason switch, the #98 will be ranked in Chevy, Ford AND Toyota. Ran a lot of good schemes, except the Xyience scheme, and the modified scheme with sponsors.
11-TEAM PENSKE #2 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:6th of 55 Detroit Gasket drags down what could easily have been the top pick for 2015. Other than that, no complaints.
12-MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING #15 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:44th of 55-I was much too harsh on the 15 last year, and looking at the schemes this year, they are all defendable. I did give extra credit for the hand-painted Buddy Baker scheme.
13-PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #62-Rank Last Year:N/A-Due to the midseason switch, the #98 will be ranked in Chevy, and Ford-A lot of solid schemes, though Vydrox and Low T Central were a bit too much.
14-FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #38 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:32nd of 55 While there weren’t a lot of new schemes, the new ones, as well as the camo schemes were not great.
15-LEVINE FAMILY RACING #95 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:13th of 55-Another top contender ruined by one scheme, this one Larry the Lobster. Other than Larry, the schemes are great.
16-FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #34 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:20th of 55-Front Row uses a template that usually works well, but modifying for Bully Hill didn’t work, and no escape was a disaster.
17-MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING #55 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:3rd of 55-New Aaron’s scheme isn’t that great. The Throwback is amazing!
18-HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #25 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:N/A-Chase Elliott, who is taking over for Jeff Gordon in 2016, used the #25 to get some Cup experience. The NAPA scheme by itself is not bad, but the fauxback Bill Elliott scheme is a disaster.
19-CIRCLE SPORT RACING #33 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:38th of 55-Science Logic and Pinkwashing derailed what was otherwise a great looking year for Circle Sport.
20-RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #43 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:11th of 55-The Nathan’s color scheme does not work well with the Petty color scheme, and the Fresh From Florida scheme is awful. The majority of schemes are good though.
21-TMG RACING #30 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:N/A-Smokey Mountain Snuff is awful, plain car with no sponsor is great.
22-JOE GIBBS RACING #19 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:N/A-Nothing really horrible here, though there are many mediocre schemes here.
23-HSCOTT MOTORSPORTS #51 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:30th of 55-If the car is running a Brandt scheme it looks good, anything else looks terrible.
24-HILLMAN-SMITH MOTORSPORTS #40 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:27th of 55-The schemes were all over the place this year, but this team has had a lot of good looks.
25-CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #42 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:18th of 55-The plaid, Energizer, camo and Clorox sank them this season, otherwise they looked really good.
26-RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #27 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:36th of 55-Part of the problem of using a template is that it can backfire on you, and that is exactly what has happened here. The Menard’s template works well with some color schemes, but terribly with others. The Pittsburgh Paints scheme is horrible by itself.
27-RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #33 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:38th of 55-White Tail Lodge, Spongebob, and Kraft dragged down an otherwise great season.
28-HSCOTT MOTORSPORTS #46 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:N/A-A lot of good schemes and a lot of bad schemes is the story of the #46 season.
29-BK RACING #83 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:25th of 55-Many new schemes and sponsors, and they were all over the place. When taking everything into account, I can say that they aren’t horrible.
30-BK RACING #23 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:8th of 55-VooDoo, Overture, and Pinkwashing take a decent grade down to a mediocre grade. Otherwise there is a lot of decent schemes here.
31-RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:49th of 55-Some great schemes, but the bad schemes dragged down the final grade.
32-ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #16 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:54th of 55-3M leaving was the best thing that happened to Greg Biffle, especially on this list, though Pinkwashing, Safety Kleen, and Jardiance do drag it down.
33-ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:35th of 55-Zest and EcoBoost are awful, and dragged Ricky out of a top spot.
34-ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #6 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:10th of 55-Camo and Pinkwashing kill a great rank, including one of my favorite throwbacks outside of Jeff Gordon’s.
35-JOE GIBBS RACING #18 TOYOTA CAMRY-Rank last year:4th of 55-A lot of changes in paint schemes, some good, some awful, many mediocre.
36-CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #1 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:12th of 55-McDonalds was either great or awful. Add a pinkwashing scheme, Bass Pro Shops, and Bad Boy Buggies, and they are ranked much lower than they should be.
37-HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #5 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:51st of 55-When Kasey has a good scheme, it is still mediocre, and he didn’t have a great scheme all year.
38-HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #48 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:2nd of 55-Completely changing their look dragged down Jimmie’s grade. On a separate note, I do think the yellow tribute numbers should stay, since they look better than the white numbers.
39-GO GREEN RACING #32 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:46th of 55-The most different paint schemes of any team in 2015, they ranged from amazing, a great throwback, to vomit inducing.
40-RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #9 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:41st of 55-Like Go Green, the #9 ran a lot of paint schemes, some were great, but many were awful. I really hope whoever drives the #9 next year helps tone it down.
41-HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:17th of 55-With the exception of Dewshine, everything that Mountain Dew ran was average to awful. Nationwide is decent, but Halo was awful.
42-STEWART-HAAS RACING #14 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:47th of 55-Not much change in terms of sponsors. In terms of car design, there were a lot of changes this year. But with the exception of Rush’s, they were all mediocre to awful.
43-TOMMY BALDWIN RACING #7 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year: 48th of 55-The car looks so much better without a sponsor on average, it isn’t even funny.
44-TEAM XTREME RACING #44 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:53rd of 55-Not even the addition of Golden Corral could save Team Xtreme Racing. I’m glad I don’t have to see that Phoenix Warehouse scheme anymore!
45-TEAM PENSKE #22 FORD FUSION-Rank Last Year:42nd of 55-The Mario Andretti throwback, and the Helio Castroneves mockup were great, but sadly, those were the only highlights of the season for the 22 crew.
46-STEWART-HAAS RACING #10 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year: 52nd of 55-Hideous design, awful color choices, and pinkwashing…need I say more?
47-PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #66-Rank Last Year:N/A-Another example of when a car looks so much better without a sponsor on average, it isn’t even funny.
48-GERMAIN RACING #13 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:50th of 55-No redeeming schemes at all here.
49-STEWART-HAAS RACING #41 CHEVY SS-Rank Last Year:9th of 55-Due to the driver’s actions toward his then girlfriend at Dover, the #41 has earned the bottom ranking.