Paint Scheme Grades-June 29, 2019

By David G. Firestone

Landon Cassill #00 Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Chevy Camaro-Black and pink is a bold color choice, and the overall look is really good. I can’t say anything bad about this scheme, so I won’t. A

Chase Elliott #9 NAPA Throwback Chevy Camaro-You could put all of Bill Elliott’s pre-1999 schemes in a hat, pick one out at random, and be guaranteed to pick a great scheme. 1981 was a great scheme, and this faithful throwback is an amazing representation. I love this scheme! A

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Throwback Toyota Camry-Darrell’s 1990’s Parts America scheme was a great scheme. It looked amazing, and still holds up today! This is a great throwback scheme, and I can’t give this less than an A!

Ricky Stenhouse #17 Fastenal Throwback Ford MustangDarrell’s 1990’s Parts America scheme was a great scheme. It looked amazing, and still holds up today! This is a great throwback scheme, and I can’t give this less than an A!

Corey LaJoie #32 Morton Group/GMN Ford Mustang-Matte black with sponsor logos is always a good look, and I can’t say anything bad about this scheme. A

Matt Tifft #36 Acquire Investments/Bounce Innovation Hub/Unshackled Ventures Ford Mustang-Good color scheme, but way too over designed. If toned down, this scheme would be better. C

Chris Buescher #37 Hellmann’s Chevy Camaro-Good color scheme, but way too over designed. If toned down, this scheme would be better. D

David Ragan #38 Thanks DW Ford Mustang-Darrell’s chrome scheme was a bold look that would look just as awesome today. While I think that metallic silver isn’t chrome, I do love this look, and I think this scheme is great. A

David Ragan #38 Compressor World Mustang-Great color scheme, but the car is a tad over designed. I think that the designs on the side are a bit too much. It’s still a good scheme, so I’ll give it a B.

Kyle Larson #42 Clover Chevy Camaro-It’s a simple look, and a good one. Black and green are an underrated color combination, and the design works very well. A

J.J. Yeley #51 Jacob Companies Chevy Camaro-This toned down Jacob Companies scheme works very well, and the car looks great. A

Cody Ware #52 SBC Contractors Chevy Camaro-The American flag motif works very well, and the car as a whole looks amazing. I also like that they took a picture of a real flag and used that. This is a great looking scheme. A

Joey Gase #66 Cocopah Speedway/IMCA Winter Nationals Toyota Camry-Metallic silver is a great color for race cars, and this is no exception. I also love the mountain and flag motifs as well. This is a great scheme. A

Justin Haley, #77 Formula One Imports Chevy Camaro-Matte black with sponsor logos is always a good look, and I can’t say anything bad about this scheme. A

Alex Bowman #88 Valvoline Patriotic Chevy Camaro-It’s a minimalist design, white as the base color, and patriotic materials have been added. This is a great look, and I can’t complain about this! A

Matt DiBenedetto #95 Procore Thanks DW Throwback Toyota Camry-Faithful 1970’s schemes always look awesome, and this is no exception. This is an amazing look, and I love everything about this scheme! A


Paint Scheme Grades-June 8, 2019

By David G. Firestone

Landon Cassill #00 Madison Group Chevy Camaro-The gray on white designs could be toned down.  That would be a great improvement.  It’s not a terrible design, but it has room for improvement. B

Brad Keselowski #2 Wabash National/Supreme Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Fathers Day Ford Mustang-The cluttered rear quarter panel is a downgrade, and the car as a whole suffers as a result.  It’s still great, but the new design does take the scheme from an A to an A-

Ryan Newman #6 Oscar Meyer/Velveeta Throwback Ford Mustang-Full disclosure, I loved the old Mark Martin Valvoline design.  This new version with Oscar Meyer and Velveeta colors is not as great.  The red, white, and blue design works well.  Red, green and white doesn’t work as well.  It’s still decent, so I’ll give it a B+.

Daniel Hemric #8 Kalahari Resorts Chevy Camaro-This is getting a higher grade, because it’s a better scheme…by comparison.  It’s over designed, and I don’t like the shade of blue.  But compared to last year’s scheme, it’s an improvement.B+

Aric Almirola #10 Valley Tech Academy Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2019, white front, fades to dark blue rear, red stripe on sides. B-

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield Throwback Ford Mustang-For Tony Stewart’s Hall of Fame election, Stewart-Haas Racing’s cars are being painted in the colors of Tony’s Cup Championship schemes.  The first from 2002, is based on Tony’s Home Depot.  It’s a faithful replica, so that’s good, and I do like the Home Depot’s shade of orange.  All things considered, this gets an A.

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang-This second Tony Stewart Throwback is based on his 2011 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy.  Like the #10, it’s a faithful replica, with correct colors.  I liked the design back then, and I like this now, so this gets an A.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. #17 NOS Ford Mustang-NOS has had some schemes over the years that would not get a passing grade.  This isn’t one of them.  This is a good scheme.  The colors work well, the car is not over designed, and it has a smooth look.  All things considered, this gets an A.

Corey LaJoie #32 Visone RV/Wildcat Adventures Ford Mustang-It’s a smooth look, with a great color scheme, and that will always earn an A.

Matt Tift #36 Surface Sunscreen Ford Mustang-It’s a smooth look, with a great color scheme, and that will always earn an A.

David Ragan #38 Exploria Resorts Ford Mustang-Gray isn’t always the best base color for a race car.  Add in a pointlessly over designed mess of a scheme, and you get an F grade.

Daniel Suarez #41 Haas Throwback Ford Mustang-The third Tony Stewart Championship throwback scheme is based on his 2005 Home Depot scheme, which is the best of the three.  It’s faithful, and it has a great look, and that will always earn an A.

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Victory Junction Ford Mustang-My only complaint here is that the designs on the front are over designed.  Other than that, this is a good scheme. A-

J.J. Yeley #52 Steakhouse Elite/Weis Markets Chevy Camaro-It’s a smooth look, with a great color scheme, and that will always earn an A.

Paint Scheme Grades-August 20, 2016


By David G. Firestone

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Mac Tonight Throwback Chevy SS-This is the worst McDonald’s scheme EVER! This scheme came around in 1997. The blue and white color scheme looks out of place, and it clashes with the yellow door numbers, and stripe. McDonald’s has always been known for a good shade of red and a good shade of yellow. The red isn’t used, except in the door number drop shadow, and the bottom stripe. It’s just not a good look at all. F

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Beer Hunting Chevy SS-The orange motif with a landscape design isn’t good, because the design scheme clashes with the design scheme. Changing either would work. The amazing thing is that both the design, and color schemes on their own aren’t bad, they just don’t work together. I’ll give it a C.

Kasey Kahne #5 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS-It’s a simple design, with a very bold look, and a really great color scheme. I give it an A.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Brian Clauson Tribute Ford Fusion-Fastenal has had a lot of good schemes, and this tribute to the late Brian Clauson is no exception. It’s a great look, with good color and design schemes. A

Matt Kenseth #20 Tide Pods Toyota Camry-There is nothing bad I could every say about this paint scheme. A

Ryan Blaney #21 Virginia Tech Ford Fusion-If the stripe was straight across the whole car, I could give it a higher grade, but with the awkward look, it goes down to a B+.

Landon Cassill #38 MDS Transportation Ford Fusion– Orange can be iffy on the side of race car, but this shade works well, and the rest of the car works with it. I can’t give this scheme less than an A.

Kyle Larson #42 Huggies Chevy SS-The design scheme is mediocre at best, and the color scheme is dreadful. Put them together and you have a D+ scheme.

Brian Scott #44 Jacob Construction/Medallion Ford Fusion-Same scheme as Medallion Bank, same A grade.

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Throwback Toyota Camry– It’s a modern-looking throwback, which is odd looking, but has a great color scheme. I’ll give it a C+.

Paint Scheme Grades, Some F1 News and Clarification of a Term

By David G. Firestone

I have been neglecting the Paint Scheme grades for the last few weeks, so after this brief post, we will focus on those this week.  I want to clarify a term that I use regularly.  I use the word “overdesigned” and what it basically means is that the paint scheme has design for design sake.  The scheme has design that serves no real purpose, and was just added needlessly.  Most things we own are, to a certain extent, over designed, mainly to prevent damage from regular use.  But when a car uses needless design in a paint scheme, more often than not, it looks awful.

The other news items I wanted to get to are from Formula 1.  I’m not an F1 fan per se, but I felt that these deserved some time on the DSB.  First there was a major shift in how cars are numbered in F1.  It used to be that were ever the driver finished in the previous season is what his car number was.  Now the change has been made and instead it is that the drivers pick a number and then use that for their entire careers.  Sky Sports covered the driver’s number choices in full, and I’m now a Daniel Ricardo fan!  The 2014 F1 helmet designs have been released and the designs speak for themselves.  This last item is about the man who is in charge of painting Lewis Hamilton’s Silver Arrow for the German-based Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team, my favorite team appearance wise in F1.  Now we move on to…

Paint Scheme Reviews

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SS For many years, green was considered an unlucky color in auto racing. That said, this is a decent scheme. The green used is very good, and the overall design is good. The green around the vent on the side is needless, but this scheme still works. A-

Austin Dillon #3 Bad Boy Buggies/Realtree Chevy SS I’m seriously considering giving any camo paint scheme an automatic F because not one that I have seen in the last 5 years looks good at all. This scheme is just awful. The white/camo scheme is hideous and I’m embarrassed to have to grade it. F

Greg Biffle #16 Red Cross Give Blood/3M Ford Fusion One of Greg’s best schemes he has ever run. I can’t say anything bad. It has a simple yet attractive design, and a great color scheme. A+

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Zest Ford Fusion Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same B Grade

Jeff Gordon #24 Texas A&M Engineering Chevy SS Decent color scheme, but the side design is odd. It has a little too much design. The crooked Texas A&M logo looks odd here too. Still it is a decent design and earns a C+

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Quaker State Chevy SS Quaker State has a great shade of green, and it should be the dominant color of the car. The yellow base with green accents looks awkward. I’ll give it a C

Parker Kligerman #30 Swan Racing Toyota Camry Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Parker Kligerman #30 Swan Racing Toyota Camry Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Travis Kvapil #32 Ask More Get More Ford Fusion Yellow, white and black is a great color scheme. Overall design is great and the car has a great look to it. A+

Travis Kvapil #32 Ask More Get More Ford Fusion Two different schemes in two weeks is unusual and for whatever reason, the new car was a bit over designed. It still has a decent look and earns a B+

Timmy Hill #33 Circle Sport Chevy SS Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

David Ragan #34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion Overall design and color schemes are good, and the only complaint is that the Taco Bell logo should be in color as opposed to black and white.  A+

David Ragan #34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion  The car looks great, with a great color scheme and great design scheme…A+

David Ragan #34 Farm Rich Ford Fusion  Good color scheme and I love the rolling hills effect…A+

Reed Sorenson #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy SS Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

David Gilliland #38 Long John Silvers Ford Fusion Great design, great color scheme, great look, A+

Landon Cassill #40 Nabi Tablet Chevy SS Good color scheme, but the the car, like the Nabi Tablet is overdesigned, and earns a C

Landon Cassill #40 CRC Industries / K&W FiberLock Chevy SS A very simple design, though the yellowish-green is unattractive. If the green was darker it would work better. C+

Kyle Larson #42 Clorox Chevy SS AJ Allemdinger has a good Clorox scheme, this is an awful scheme . Why did they choose that shade of yellow instead of white? I can’t give this a passing grade. F

Aric Almirola #43 Farmland Ford Fusion Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

JJ Yeley #44 Phoenix Warehouse Chevy SS My first thought when I saw this scheme was it looked like the color scheme from the 1994-1995 NBA All-Star Game jerseys which is a decent color scheme. But to say the car is overdesigned is an understatement. This scheme is awful. Not even a great color scheme can help this car pass. F

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Grilling Beans Chevy SS  Great color scheme and a simple design earns an A+

Justin Allgaier #51 SEM Chevy SS Simple design, great color scheme, looks great, A+

Brian Vickers #55 Xarelto Toytoa Camry Good simple design with a great color scheme earns an A.

Jeff Burton #66 Toyota Toyota Camry The stripe down the side is much too big, and the hood design looks odd. The color scheme is good, but the overall design is a D+

Joe Nemechek #87 SmartBen Toyota Camry Simple design, great color scheme, looks great, A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevy SS The black and green color scheme is good, and the side is a bit overdeisgned. If the green stripes were scaled back, it would work better. It is work a B- grade.

Michael McDowell #95 WRL Contractors Ford Fusion Levine Family Racing continues to get back into my good graces with another A scheme with great design and a great color scheme.

Carl Edwards #99 Kelloggs/Cheez Its Ford Fusion Too many colors, and the car is overdesigned. F

The Sprint Unlimited Preview

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…

Paint Scheme Reviews!

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-

Michael Annett #7 Accell Construction Chevy SS See Above

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 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+

Michael Waltrip #66 Blue Def Toyota Camry While I like the field motif, it looks too much like the Windows XP Bliss background for me to take it seriously. I’ll give it a B-

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.