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 3- Toyota

By David G. Firestone

The Paint Scheme Leaderboard continues with Toyota today. This has been a stressful series, and it will be even more so next week, when I rank all 50 teams in order from best to worst. Enough complaining, on to the schemes.

#1 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.

#2 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.

#3 BK Racing #83 Great designs all around, but the hood needs work. Why is it black when the rest of the car is red?

#4 BK Racing #93 See Above, but the Old Dominion scheme drags it down.

#5 Michael Waltrip Racing #56 The Get Back and Give Back scheme is horrid, but the rest of the schemes are really good.

#6 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.

#7 Joe Gibbs Racing #81 Alert Energy is awful. Double Mint is awesome.

#8 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.

#9 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

#10 Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.

#11 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.

#12 Humphrey Smith Racing #19 Another car that just looks better without a primary sponsor.

#13 Hamilton-Means Racing #52 Paulie Harraka had a great scheme, but Brian Keselowski…not so much.

#14 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?

Next Week, The big finale, all 49 teams ranked from best to worst!

Replica Helmets…and Why We Need Them in Racing

replica helmetsBy David Firestone

When I started this blog, I wanted to appeal to two different groups, racing enthusiasts and collectors. I think that this post should appeal to both groups. The MLB, NFL, and NHL have a product that is very useful, for autographs, and for fans alike…the replica helmet. Replica helmets have been made for the NFL for over 15 years now, and baseball replica helmets date back further than that. NHL minis, although more recent, are becoming a fan favorite…so why not racing replica helmets?

16-musgrave-replica4 16-musgrave-replica2 16-musgrave-replica3 16-musgrave-replica1 16-musgrave-replica5 16-musgrave-replica6 16-musgrave-replica7

This has been tried before. In the late 1990’s Simpson released a series of ¼ scale mini-helmets. These helmets were reasonably accurate replicas of the real thing, but only 3 inches long. Although the design was good, the product was costly for the time, and very small, which made it very impractical for autographs.replica helmets - Copy

The autograph issue is important because something that mini-helmets in baseball, and football are frequently used for autographs from players. These helmets are half-scale, and are very accurate to the helmets worn by the players. Similar to the football mini-helmet, this half-scale mini-helmet would fit the bill very well.38-sadler-small1 38-sadler-small-2 38-sadler-small-3 38-sadler-small-4 38-sadler-small5 38-sadler-small6 38-sadler-small7

It is a replica of Elliot Sadler’s M&M’s Bell helmet from 2003-2006. It measures 5 inches in length and is very easy for drivers to sign. A search on ebay reveals that there are minis, but not on a cohesive levels. I think that fans would love to own a mini-helmet of their favorite driver, and buy new ones each season.

To answer the next question, yes there are full-size helmets, but they come in two different food groups. The first are helmets that are clearly replicas, such as this Derrike Cope Friendly’s replica from 2003. This example is clearly a motorcycle helmet, that has Friendly’s decals attached to the. Derrike has autographed the helmet on the right side. It looks good, but it is still clearly a replica.cope-helmet-1 cope-helmet-2 cope-helmet-3 cope-helmet-4 cope-helmet-5 cope-helmet-6 cope-helmet-7 cope-helmet-8

The other food group in full-size replica helmet is the helmet designed to be as accurate as possible. This example, again an Elliot Sadler M&M’s replica is clearly marked as being a replica and for display. It is actually very accurate, including a ventilation hose attachment on the right side. This type of helmet was common for a while, until the HANS restrictions forced the ventilation attachment to the top. This not only works very well for autographs, but looks really nice on itself. 38-sadler-large4 38-sadler-large2 38-sadler-large3 38-sadler-large1 38-sadler-large5 38-sadler-large6 38-sadler-large7 38-sadler-large8 I think that the helmet companies that make driver helmets would be willing to make these helmets for the racing fan base, and I think that the racing fan base would love them as collectables!100_2501

Paint Scheme Time!

Clint Boywer #15 Gander Mtn. Toyota Camry Color scheme…good. Car design…ugh. But the thing that really irritates me is that with the gun debate in this country the hood reads “With rights comes responsibility.” Seriously? I thought Michael Waltrip’s Newton scheme at the Daytona 500 was bad, but this is just beyond bad. KEEP POLITICS AND RACING SEPARATE! F– grade!

Jeff Burton #31 Childress Institute Chevy SS The only bad thing I can say about this scheme is that the door numbers are orange. If they were white with orange borders, I would love this scheme. Even so, it earns a C grade.

Joe Nemechek #87 Maddie’s Place Rocks! Toyota Camry  They took a good scheme, with good colors and just made it look so much worse!  The design is just awful, and the color scheme doesn’t help.  It went from a B to a D in one week.

That’s it for this week, except for some April Fools Fun…

Richard Lasater and His Helmet

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By David G. Firestone

Spent the last week just being insanely busy, with Passover and the Chicago Sun Times Collectables Convention, but now back to work. I’ve discussed the safety aspects of race gear, but today, I’m going in a bit of a different direction. Even in today’s safety-conscious racing environment, injuries are always a possibility. Denny Hamlin suffered a fractured vertebrae, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has suffered a concussion in the last few years. Wrecks can be hell on drivers, but what about the uniform protecting them? What would a helmet from a wreck like this look like?

Well the helmet looks like this:lasater-1 lasater-2 lasater-3 lasater-4 lasater-5 lasater-6 lasater-7

For a helmet that went through a scary-looking wreck, it is in good shape…and that is not by accident. It was worn by Richard Lasater throughout the 1993 season. At the 1993 Fram Filter 500K, Lasater was involved in that scary wreck, and wasn’t seriously hurt. As for overall damage, it is mainly scratches, scrapes and dings, no cracks or serious damage.

The helmet kept Lasater safe and suffered minor damage because that is what it was designed to do. After the race, he autographed the helmet and it wound up in my collection. This helmet shows better than any other helmet I have the reasons why proper equipment is needed in racing.

On to Paint Schemes…

Jamie McMurray #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS White? Seriously? Did the designers not realize that the white looks awful? The black and orange color scheme works, but white? I don’t get this scheme at all, and it gets an F grade

Marcos Ambrose #9 MAC Tools Ford Fusion Good color choices here. The basic design is solid. I can do without the quarter panel design, but it is still a good scheme with a B grade-

Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy St. Patrick’s Day Chevy SS I would like to thank the 1978 Cincinnati Reds for being one of the first teams to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day for encouraging this awful F grade scheme.-

Denny Hamlin #11 Fedex March of Dimes Toyota Camry There are two schemes that fans voted for. With Hamlin on the shelf for a while, Mark Martin and Brian Vickers will share the 11 ride. That said, scheme #1 I don’t hate, but it has something odd going on with the hood and nose design…I swear it looks like the two parts were designed by different people who never interacted with each other, and that earns it a C grade Scheme #2, the better of the two schemes, not only looks more like a FedEx scheme, it is simpler and much cleaner as well, and earns an A grade.

Tony Stewart #14 Rush Truck Centers Chevy SS Good color and design schemes here. A Grade

Kyle Bush #18 Snickers Bites Toyota Camry A paint scheme that has a great color scheme, and illustrates the theory that less is more. Nothing bad about this Scheme-A+

Jeff Gordon #24 Imron Elite Real Truck Paint Chevy SS Based off the classic Jeff Gordon Scheme, it looks really good, and it works as a paint scheme. Great color scheme used here…A+

Jeff Gordon Cromax Pro Chevy SS Another good DuPont inspired scheme with a great color scheme and great design-A+

Ken Schrader #32 Federated Auto Parts Ford Fusion Federated Auto Parts always has great looking cars, and they do not disappoint here. Great color scheme and great design earn a great grade of A+

Timmy Hill #32 U.S. Chrome Ford Fusion NASCAR rules prevent using chrome in most NASCAR paint scheme aspects, which is kind of disappointing since this scheme should have a bit of chrome in it. Even so, it is still a solid A scheme, with great colors and simple, yet elegant design

Josh Wise #35 MDS Ford Fusion The color scheme of the car, and the color scheme of the logos match! As a direct result, the car looks so much better! This scheme earns a B grade because the deisgn on the quarter panel needs some work.

Ryan Newman #39 HAAS Automation Chevy SS Great color scheme, good basic design, I love the diagonal hood logo, A+ Scheme

Brian Vickers #55 RK Motors Toyota Camry Basic design with an uninspired color scheme. The car is just blah. I can’t give this scheme anything except a C-

Brian Vickers #55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry A better color scheme takes the grade from C to B

Joe Nemecheck #87 Maddies Place Rocks Toyota Camry Simple design, decent color scheme, good hood logo, Final grade B

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Amp Energy Chevy SS Orange? Amp’s main can color is green. It’s not a bad design, but using a color that isn’t really used on the packaging earns this scheme a C-