A short-lived company called Sports Coverup made NASCAR replica helmets in the late 1990’s, and here are five examples.
A short-lived company called Sports Coverup made NASCAR replica helmets in the late 1990’s, and here are five examples.
Last November, I discussed replica helmets. Between then and now, I came across a line of replica helmets that were released in the 1990’s. I sincerely don’t know how I missed these growing up. These look like the kinds of things that were marketed in the NASCAR catalog, and Winston Cup Illustrated.
The company that made them was called Sports Cover Up. They are long out of business, and this is the only product I was ever able to find them making. Helmet marketing was interesting back then because Simpson was marketing mini helmets of the drivers who they made helmets for, Bell made some too, but from what I’ve seen, these were done on a team by team basis.
There are two kinds. The first ones were made in 1997, and made of a softer plastic. It almost has a rubbery feel to it. The visor is stuck in place, and can’t be moved up, and they have a thick plastic bottom permanently attached to the helmet. There are 5 holes, one large and four tiny. As for the design, I was able to find three examples, Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, and Mark Martin. Bobby Labonte was sponsored by Interstate Batteries, and the motif looks good. Previously, Labonte had worn NFL helmet designs, but that went away, and was replaced with Interstate Batteries motifs, and this example looks really good.
Bill Elliott was sponsored by McDonald’s and the motif looks like a real McDonald’s helmet. McDonald’s has a really good shade of red, and it is frequently used on the helmets of the drivers they sponsor. This example really does look like a race helmet, though I don’t know who Serengeti, the visor stripe sponsor is though.
The Mark Martin helmet is great because it really looks like what Martin used to wear in the 1990’s when he was sponsored by Valvoline. The details are good, and the visor stripe is accurate too. One thing I noticed is that on the bottom, it states that Roush Racing was, at the time this helmet was made, located in Livonia Michigan. I never knew that. Apparently, the team was originally a small piece of Roush Enterprises, but has since grown into a racing powerhouse.
By David G. Firestone
The 36th Sprint Unlimited starts tonight at 8:15 ET on Fox. This marks the beginning of the Daytona 500 and the beginning of the NASCAR season. I will be looking forward to it, and I will enjoy it as always.
The field will feature pole award winners and past winners of the event. These include:
· Denny Hamlin (4 poles)
· Kyle Busch (3 poles)
· Joey Logano (2 poles)
· Jimmie Johnson (2 poles)
· Matt Kenseth (2 poles)
· Ryan Newman (2 poles)
· Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2 poles)
· Jeff Gordon (2 poles)
· Carl Edwards (2 poles)
· Marcos Ambrose (1 pole)
· Kurt Busch (1 pole)
· Kevin Harvick (1 pole)
· Brad Keselowski (1 pole)
· Mark Martin (1 pole)
· Jamie McMurray (1 pole)
· Danica Patrick (1 pole)
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1 pole)
· Terry Labonte (past winner: 1985)
· Tony Stewart (past winner: 2001, 2002 and 2007)
The event will feature a number of segments which were voted on by NASCAR fans including myself, and many of you. The first segment will feature laps followed by a second segment of laps, and then a third segment of laps. Many special paint schemes will be run for this race, as is traditional. My personal favorite is the Miller Lite Throwback scheme being run by Brad Keselowski.
Now some factoids about the race.
*There are, in total, Chevy drivers, Ford drivers and Toyota drivers.
*Chevy has 20 wins, Ford has 7 wins, and Toyota has 1 win.
*Mark Martin has competed in 20 consecutive events from 1989-2008.
*Dale Earnhardt Sr. has won 6 events, more than anyone else in 1980, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995 and went on to win the Sprint Cup Championship 4 times in 1980, 1986, 1991, and 1993, he is one of 7 drives to do so.
*From 1979-2011 the event was sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, first called the Busch Clash which was the brainchild of Monty Roberts, brand manager of Busch Beer, who sponsored the Pole Award. It remained the Busch Clash until 1998, when Budweiser took over the Pole Award, and it was renamed the Budweiser Shootout. In 2012, Sprint, the series sponsor took over the sponsorship after Budweiser announced they would drop the sponsorship in favor of sponsoring the Duel Races that determine the starting order of the Daytona 500.
*Petty Enterprises was not eligible to run the Shootout because of a rule stating that only drivers that ran the Busch/Budweiser pole award decal were eligible to enter the shootout. Richard Petty and his family did not support alcohol sponsorship or decals on race cars. So John Andretti, Bobby Hamilton, Jeff Green, and Aric Almirola who all had a number of poles with Petty Enterprises were not eligible to participate. I find it interesting that Petty has reversed course on the alcohol sponsorship rule, since Kasey Kahne was sponsored by Budweiser, and Marcos Ambrose will run at least one race sponsored by Twisted Tea.
*Buddy Baker won the inaugural Sprint Unlimited in 1979, which was a 20 lap sprint.
*Since many top drivers were excluded from the race due to not winning a pole award, they moved to the TV booth as color commentators. These included Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1981, Richard Petty and AJ Foyt in 1982 and 1983, Neil Bonnett in 1993, Darrell Waltrip in 1994, 1995, 1997, and 1999, and Kenny Wallace in 1998.
*There has never been a driver who has won the Sprint Unlimited, Budweiser Duel and Daytona 500 in the same year. Drivers have won 2 of 3 in a season, but never scored the hat trick.
*One of the first instances of a special paint scheme being used specifically for the Sprint Unlimited was the Chroma Premier scheme run by Jeff Gordon in 1997. He followed it up the next year with the legendary Chroma-lusion scheme, which feature a paint that changed color. Since then, special schemes have become commonplace.
*Richard Childress Racing has 8 Sprint Unlimited wins, most of any team. Hendrick Motorsports has 6 wins, and Joe Gibbs Racing has 5 wins.
The Unlimited starts tonight at 8 PM ET on Fox Sports 1, and I look forward to watching the event as I hope the rest of you do too.
Though I have had a VERY busy week, I still have time for…
Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SS It is a good color scheme, but the design on the side needs a little tweaking. Get rid of the needless zig-zag pattern and it works a whole lot better. It is still a decent scheme, so I will give it a C
Michael Annett #7 Pilot/Flying J Chevy SS Good color scheme, but the awful template is back for Tommy Baldwin. It is really sad, because this could be a great scheme, but the template takes it from an A to a C-
Marcos Ambrose #9 Mac Tools Ford Fusion Good color scheme here, and decent design, worth a B
Clint Bowyer #15 AAA Insurance Toyota Camry Great color scheme, good design, worth a B+
Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Peanut Toyota Camry I like this, it has a great shade of yellow, hard to find in NASCAR these days, and the peanut motif works very well. It is an original design, and I’ll give it an A
Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion This is why The Wood Brothers won the Paint Schemies and took the top spot in the Paint Scheme Leaderboard. A++
Joey Logano #22 Autotrader.com Ford Fusion Sometimes orange works, sometimes it doesn’t. This is an example of an orange scheme that just doesn’t work. If the white was taken out completely it might work, but this is just horrid, and I give it an F
Cole Whitt #26 Speed Stick Gear Toyota Camry This is one of the few schemes that has both a classic and modern look at the same time, and paired with a great color scheme, it earns an A
Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Peak Chevy SS Good design, awful color scheme, D+
Terry Labonte #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion I’ll give it a C+ until I can see a picture WITHOUT an Instagram filter!
David Ragan #34 CSX Ford Fusion What in the hell is going on here? Why is the hood decal upside down? Why in the world would they do that? Were they drunk when they decaled the car? The only thing that I can guess is that it is designed for an in-car camera…but that makes no sense either! F-
David Gilliland #38 Loves Truck Stops Ford Fusion Good color scheme, decent design, plus unlike David Ragan, the hood decal is in the correct position, A-
Bobby Labonte #52 Phoenix Racing/HScott Motorsports Chevy SS Great color scheme, very simple yet attractive design, can’t say anything bad about it, A+
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Kelley Blue Book Chevy SS During my Daytona Preseason Thunder article, I said I wanted to see the #88 they used on a real car. I got my wish, and I like this design overall. The metallic gold is a bold choice, it doesn’t always work well. I give it an A+
As many of you know, I don’t just research and collect driver suits and racing items, I collect and research many other things. I recently had a column run in Uni-Watch concerning some lettering from the 1958 Washington Senators, and you can read my column here.
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:
#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?
#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.
#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.
#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
#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.
#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
#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.
#32-Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.
#35-Richard Childress Racing #31 A few good schemes but most of them are mediocre at best.
#36-Hendrick Motorsports #24 See Above
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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?
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?
#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.
#10 Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.
#12 Humphrey Smith Racing #19 Another car that just looks better without a primary sponsor.
#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!
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:
#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.
#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.
#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.
#13 Richard Childress Racing #31 A few good schemes but most of them are mediocre at best.
#14-Hendrick Motorsports #24 See Above
#15 Stewart Haas Racing #39 I have to give them credit, their schemes are mostly awful, but at least they are creative.
#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.
For the end of the 2013 Season, I will reveal the best and worst paint schemes and driver suits of 2013. This was done using a focus group of one, namely myself, and uses the following standards:
Color Scheme:How the colors look, and how they work with each other.
Overall Design:How good the design itself looks, is there too much, or not enough.
Primary Sponsor Logos: How the primary sponsor logos look on the car
Let’s get the bad paint scheme awards out of the way.
First, the Paint Schemie Award for Worst Single Paint Scheme.
The nominees are:
And the Paint Schemie Award for worst single paint scheme goes to…
The next Paint Schemie Award is for Exhibition Race Paint Schemes. This category is a little different, as the Schemies will go to the best and worst special scheme that was run in either the Sprint Unlimited, the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint All-Star Race.
The Paint Schemie Award for Worst Exhibition Race Paint Scheme Goes To:
The Paint Schemie Worst Dressed Driver Award goes to Joey Logano
Our next category is the Award For Worst Scheme Set of 2013, which is given to the team that consistently runs bad paint schemes throughout the season.
The Nominees Are:
The Winner for Worst Scheme Set of 2013 goes to:
Now the nominees for Best Single Paint Scheme are:
The Paint Schemie Award for Best Single Paint Scheme Goes to
The next two Paint Schemie Awards are for Best Exhibition Race Paint Scheme, and Worst Exhibition . These are a little different, as they will go to the best and worst special scheme that was run in either the Sprint Unlimited, the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint All-Star Race.
And taking these schemes into consideration, the Paint Scheme Goes To:
The Paint Schemie Award for Most Improved Paint Scheme goes to:
The Paint Schemie Best Dressed Award goes to:
Now, our final Paint Schemie Award, The Best Scheme Set of 2013:
Now for this, I will take a look at the best Chevy Schemes, followed by Ford, and then Toyota, and then finally I will reveal the winners of the Paint Schemie Awards.
And now, the 5 best Chevy teams that have consistently run great schemes:
#1 Jimmie Johnson The classic design that is paired with different color schemes every once in a while works very well. The design gives the car a very clean look, and is a very timeless look.
#2 Kurt Busch Furniture Row Racing’s “less is more” approach works very well here, with a matte black, white lettering and red letters. They always look good, thought I wish their results on the track were as good as they look.
#3 Kevin Harvick Kevin has had, for the most part, done quite well. All of the schemes have great color schemes, and most have great sponsor logos, and are decently original. Originality works well here, but some of the overall designs, namely the Bad Boy Buggies and Rheem/Budweiser combination schemes need a lot of work, but otherwise Kevin Harvick has had a great season paint scheme wise.
#4 Juan Pablo Montoya The Target scheme is very solid, with great colors, great overall design, and great sponsor logos. Not original, but solid. The most original scheme is the Axe Apollo scheme, but that was just brutal. It had a decent color scheme, and a decent sponsor logo, but the whole outer-space motif just did not work. If Axe Apollo was not on the car this year, Juan would be at the top of the standings.
#5 Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott Motorsports A team that has a very consistent track record when it comes to good color schemes, originality, as well as primary sponsor logos, the team can sometimes have serious issues with overall design. The Hendrick Cars scheme, and the Guy Roofing scheme are just brutal in that category.
Moving on to Ford.
#1 Trevor Bayne The Wood Brothers haven’t run a full schedule this year, but when they have shown up, they have always looked good. The schemes are original, since the Wood Brothers used these schemes for many years, and the colors, overall design, and sponsor schemes are always great.
#2 Aric Almirola The Transportation Impact scheme is keeping Almirola from the top spot, because it does not fit the team at all, and it just looks brutal. Other than that scheme, which while original, has awful colors, and overall design, every scheme they ran is solid, with the STP/Farmland scheme almost making up for Transportation Impact.
#3 Sam Hornish Jr. His one and only appearance in the Sprint Cup came at Kansas this year, and this one scheme, with great colors, great overall design, and great sponsor logos worked very well. I gave him 3rd, since everyone else on the list ran full schedules, and he only ran one race.
#4 Marcos Ambrose The Mac Tools scheme looks odd, with a great color scheme, but iffy overall design. The Stanley logo redesign could have worked well, but the black covering the front and headlights does not enhance the look at all. I was not a fan of this scheme at the beginning of the year, but some slight adjustments to the color scheme worked well.
#5 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. A “pinkwashing” scheme makes an appearance, which takes away from the overall grade. That said, this team has great color schemes all year, but some of the overall designs have a bit too much noise. Sponsor logos work well, and Ricky has had a great year.
Last, but certainly not least is Toyota.
#1 Michael Waltrip/Mark Martin/Brian Vickers Every scheme they have run has been a hit, with great color scheme, great overall design, great sponsor logos, and decent originality. No bad schemes here!
#2 Kyle Busch Overall great design, color schemes, and primary sponsor logos, Kyle also has the most original schemes of the top contenders for the Paint Schemie awards. That said, the Mprove America needs a different shade of blue, while the white Interstate Batteries scheme could use a different color besides white.
#3BK Racing Great color schemes, sponsor logos, and overall design. These designs work well, except for the Old Dominion scheme, which is just awful. Everything that the other schemes are, Old Dominion is not, and it is keeping BK Racing out of the top spot.
#4 Martin Truex Jr. Overall, this team works well when it comes to colors, overall design, originality, and primary sponsor logos, except for the camouflage scheme. The camouflage scheme was awful, and it knocked Martin out of the top spot.
#5 JTG Daugherty Racing 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. If these schemes were fixed, there is no reason why JTG Daugherty could be in the top spot.
Now I will take these top contenders, and rank them in order from worst to best. These top contenders should feel very proud that they have earned a spot on the countdown.
#13 Martin Truex Jr.
#11 Marcos Ambrose
#5 Kyle Busch
#4 Kurt Busch
And Finally The Paint Scheme Award for Best Paint Scheme Set of 2013 goes to:
Congratulations to everyone who won a First award, and to everyone who won a Worst award…paint your cars better!
To conclude the Paint Schemie Awards, I will finish with a top 10 list I have been wanting to do for quite a while. These are the
TOP 10 SPONSORS I MISS IN NASCAR
10 Skoal Bandit The shade of green they used was one of the best, and the car has a classic look that always looks good.
9 Kodiak A simple look, with my all-time favorite shade of green ever used on a race car. I have a lot of Kodiak race-used items, and they all look good.
8 Miller Genuine Draft Rusty’s MGD scheme had a much simpler design than the Miller Lite scheme, and it had a much better color scheme. I really hope they throwback to this scheme at some point.
7 Tide Are there any orange schemes that could ever live up to Tide? No, this is the best orange scheme in the history of auto racing.
6 Smokin’ Joe’s It had a great color scheme, and it had a very 1990’s design, that oddly enough still looks attractive.
5 Western Auto/Parts America The chrome numbers, the layered fading, the color scheme, it just comes together very well.
4 The Family Channel The logo is awesome, the colors can’t be any better, the lettering is great, and it just comes together very well.
3 Kodak If there is or was a better shade of yellow in NASCAR, I haven’t seen it yet!
2 Texaco/Havoline Great simple design, with an amazing hood logo, and great color scheme.
1 GM Goodwrench This scheme is, in a word, perfect. It doesn’t evolve, it doesn’t have to. It is simply perfect.
There is one last piece of business that I need to address. I like to keep it light on the Driver Suit Blog, but sometimes I have to address a news story that is heavy, like this story that was released on Thursday. Dario Franchiti, who has won 3 Indy 500’s, 4 Indycar Championships, and 21 races announced on Thursday, that due to injuries sustained at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on October 6. During that race, he was involved in a scary wreck, and suffered spinal and knee injuries that doctors have told him are too serious to resume his career. 13 fans, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time were injured in the wreck as well. I’m saddened that a talented driver had his career end like that, and I really wish it didn’t have to. But what I really hope is that IndyCar learns what lessons need to be learned, and make changes to safety so that the chances of this scenario repeating are lowered. I know that there will always be the risk of injury or death in auto racing, that adds to the mystique of the race car driver, but every wreck has a story to tell. These stories should be looked over, and changes made so that another talented in the prime of his career does not have to go through what Dario had to this week. Fans should also be able to go to a race, and not have to worry about getting hurt during a wreck. If the investigation in this incident results in changes that keep fans and drivers from serious injury in the future, than the lessons have been learned. My thoughts and prayers are with Dario and his Family right now.
Here are my thoughts on the Generation 6 car after the Sprint Unlimited
Here is a video showing the new cars in action…
Why did the roof logos come to NASCAR? I stated during Winter Testing that I thought that the logos would show up on roof cameras…but they can’t. The logos on the roof are all but invisible to the in-cars, and are next to impossible to see at speed on the regular cameras circling the track. The whole point of sponsorship is for the logos to be seen, but the roof logos defy that, so really, they are useless
Fox debuted several new cameras, including a revamped zipline camera called the CAMCAT that flies over the track, and a gyroscopic camera that stays level even when the car is on a banking. The new zip line camera is really good, and the gyroscopic camera gives the fan a really good idea of how banked the track really is.
The new cars in general look really good, and I was wrong about the names on the windshields. They do look good, and they are easy to see with the in-cars. I don’t approve of the manufacturer logos on windshield on either side of the name though. In addition to the larger roof flaps, the cowl flaps are visibly bigger, and have been moved to the hood.
The orange Home Depot back bumper on the Dollar General Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth looks really weird. As does the door design on the Target Chevy.
Man! Kevin Harvick’s car looks really good, as does Dale Jr’s! Martin Truex in the Napa Toyota is the most improved paint scheme of the whole field.
The cars seem to be sparking more than they did last year. They also look “cleaner” than they did last year. They have cleaner lines and cleaner windshields.
Speaking of windshields and windows the side windows need to be attached better. During the wreck, one car lost a side window, and Carl Edwards lost a side window in the final laps of the race. NASCAR needs to look into that.
The fan picks format worked really well, and I hope this shows up again during the All-Star Race
Now on to photo matching.
One of the best ways to authenticate a driver suit as having been worn by the driver is to find a photo of the driver wearing the suit. In many instances, this is not possible. In other instances the driver wears several different suits throughout the season, and finding the exact suit can be difficult. Let’s take a look at a Ricky Craven suit from 1996.
This suit was difficult to photo match but I thought I had in this photo from Fuller Motorsports and Collectibles.
The location of the yellow RACING embroidery is in a different location, the leg stripes in the photo are white whereas the suit I own has green leg stripes…but modifications are not uncommon, and the name and GOODYEAR logos are in different places as well.
The RACING, GOODYEAR, and name are all in the correct place. The only difference is that the ALARM SOUTH and MANHEIM AUCTIONS logos are not seen in the card, but on the suit they were clearly added later. They are patches on the suit whereas everything else is embroidered on the suit.
Now on to paint schemes…a lot of ground to cover
We start with the Truck Series
Dusty Davis #1 Accell Chevy Silverado Good Color scheme, simple yet attracive design, final grade: A
Jeb Burton #4 Arrowhead Chevy Silverado Color scheme is great, but the door design is a little overdone. The Arrowhead sponsorship could be used better with an arrowhead design on the door. Still it is a decent design that earns a B-
Justin Lofton #6 MADVAPES Chevy Silverado The early 1990’s called, they want their design back. All joking aside, this is actually a good scheme. The color scheme is great, and the design, while loud, is attractive. Final Grade A
John Wes Townley #7 Zaxby’s Toyota Tundra There is nothing right with this design. Everything here is just awful, and earns the F grade it deserves.
Max Gresham #8 AMWINS Chevy Silverado The side stripes are good, the color scheme is good, and it gets an A grade
Ron Horniday #9 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevy Silverado First off, I thought snuff was banned as a sponsor from NASCAR…oh well…anyway, the design is good, and the color scheme is good, thought the gold could be a little bolder. Final Grade A-
Jennifer Jo Cobb #10 Driven2Honor.org Chevy Silverado No redeeming factors at all…F-
Brad Keselowski #19 DrawTite/National Watermelon Association/Reese Racing Ford F-Series The Reese and DrawTite schemes are A grades, but the National Watermelon Association scheme gets an A+ for the graphics on the bed of the truck that make it look filled with watermelons..that is just awesome!
Ryan Blaney #29 Cooper Standard Ford F-Series Another great color and design scheme, and I love the yellow wheels…A+
James Buescher #31 Rheem Chevy Silverado The Same as Kevin Harvick, and it is a good scheme…A
Devin Jones #35 Veristor Chevy Silverado Good colors bad design…C
Ryan Sieg #39 Pull-A-Part Chevy Silverado Good color scheme, but mediocre side design…C-
Kyle Busch #51 Toyota Care Toyota Tundra. Normally I would give this a bad grade, but give the fact that it is Kyle’s truck, the design and color schemes just scream Kyle Busch, so it is rather appropriate. I also love the Days of Thunder numbers and ROWDY above the door…A-
Darrell Wallace Jr. #54 Toyota Care Toyota Tundra I’ll forgive this one as well…A-
Dakoda Armstrong #60 Winfield Chevy Silverado This I will not forgive for one simple reason…THE SPONSOR LETTING IS NEXT TO INVISIBLE ON THE WHITE BACKGROUND! The point of sponsorship is to make your logo and lettering as visible as possible! As such, this scheme gets an F
David Starr #81 BYF/Chasco Toyota Tundra Good color scheme and simple yet attractive design work well here. I like the Lone Star logo on David Starr’s truck as well…A+
Moving on to Nationwide Schemes
Brad Sweet #5/Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Great Clips Chevy Camaro This looks like a paint scheme that was thrown together at the last minute by an art student. The color scheme is odd, and the design is just weird. What does this has to do with a barber shop? Final Grade D+
Paul Menard #33 Menards Chevy Camaro Pretty much the same scheme as his Sprint Cup Scheme…Same grade too C-
Parker Kligerman #77 Toyota Toyota Camry You can never go wrong with a plain black car with white lettering…A+
Now on to the Sprint Cup
Jamie McMurray #1 Race With Insulin Chevy SS A good design based on Charlie Kimball’s IndyCar race car that has a simple yet good design, and a great color scheme. My only complaint here is that the stripe doesn’t go far enough back. Final Grade: B+
Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SS Huh? What does this design have to do with a barber shop? This design looks like the team didn’t have enough of one single color and went with a patchwork design to make it work…but it doesn’t work, and it gets a D+ grade
Dave Blaney #7 Sany Chevy SS Great color scheme ruined by bad door design and generic racing number design. The design is just disgusting to look at, and it gets a D- The paint scheme saved it.
Kyle Busch #18 Interstate All Battery Center Toyota Camry This is a design that has elemets from the Dale Jarret and Bobby Labonte eras. I love this design! Great color scheme, simple nostalgic design, and it gets an A!
Mike Bliss #19 G Oil Toyota Camry This is a very weird design…the weed design doesn’t do the car any favors, and the doors and quarter panels are worse. Green, black and white is usually a good scheme, but here is just falls flat. I love how the nose makes it look like the car has a piece of cilantro stuck in its teeth and that boost the grade to a C-
Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Quick Lane Ford Fusion This is based on the 1963 Daytona 500 winning car Tiny Lund drove and it looks really good! I can’t give this scheme any lower than an A so I won’t.
Michael Waltrip #26 Sandy Hook Support Fund Toyota Camry Are you serious? I think it is really disgusting that a support fund for a school shooting is sponsoring a car for the Daytona 500! I don’t know who thought this was a good idea, but it is just awful. I’m so sickened by the sponsor, I will just give the scheme an F-
Terry Labonte #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion Is Terry trying to pull a Grey Ghost? If it wasn’t for the yellow decals, I would be convinced that this photo is in black and white. If the flames were red, or yellow, or even blue I could give it a higher grade, but I can’t give this scheme anything but a D
David Ragan #34 Peanut Patch Ford Fusion Good Color scheme, good overall general design, good scheme, Final Grade: A
Regan Smith #51 Guy Roofing Chevy SS Decent color scheme, the number change is not good from last year, and the basic design is decent, so I give it a C
Brian Keselowski #52 Wreaths Across America Toyota Camry Not bad, not bad at all. Great color scheme and decent design. The hood design needs a little work, the left side looks odd with a white box, while the right side has no box at all, but that is a minor complaint for an A grade
Mark Martin Aarons Toyota Camry Great design, great colors and simple designs that look good, it gets an A
David Reutimann #83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry. Great classic design with a great color scheme that gets an A+
Travis Kvapil #93 Burger King/ Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry See Above, A+