Paint Scheme Leaderboard-Week 4, The Grand Finale

By David G. Firestone

The Paint Scheme Ranking Executive Committee meetings have been long, but not too contentious, I can’t stay mad at Alejandro when he shows me his belly, so now we present all 55 NASCAR Sprint Cup teams ranked from first to last on how their paint schemes looked. NR has a different meaning this week. NR now specifically referrs to teams that didn’t exist in 2013. Teams that ran different manufacturers in 2013 will be ranked when it came to last year. So, without further ado,

1-Wood Brothers #21 Rank Last Year:1st of 50 -The Wood Brothers always design great cars, and the Quick Lane scheme uses the blue very well. It all looks good!

2-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Rank Last Year:2nd of 50-Classic, smooth looks with no needless clutter. Jimmie always runs great schemes

3-Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Rank Last Year:3rd of 50-The color schemes are good, and the design schemes work very well.

4-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Rank Last Year:5th of 50-The zebra stripe Interstate Battery scheme wrecks a perfect score for Kyle this year

5-Stewart Haas Racing #4 Rank Last Year:NR-With the exception of Hunt Brothers Pizza, which uses an awful shade of green, Kevin has consistently run a series of great schemes.

6-Team Penske #2 Rank Last Year:18th of 50-The Wurth and Redd’s Apple Ale schemes are a bit over designed, but the white Miller Lite schemes, Alliance Truck Parts, and Detroit Genuine Parts schemes make up for it.

7-Richard Childress Racing #31 Rank Last Year:35th of 50-A lot of great schemes this year, but Wix is overdone, and the Cat/Quicken Loans hybrid looks awful

8-BK Racing #23 Rank Last Year:NR-The Dip Your Car scheme is awful, but the rest of the schemes are very good, and are very attractive.

9-Stewart Haas Racing #41 Rank Last Year: NR-The Slate scheme does not work, but all the other schemes work very well.

10-Roush Fenway Racing #6 Rank Last Year:NR-This would be ranked higher, as it has a somewhat vintage look, but the candy cane on the nose looks odd. It’s still a good scheme.

11-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Rank Last Year:6th of 50-The Ekcrich camouflage scheme doesn’t work, camouflage schemes rarely do. The Charter green is horrible, but the rest of the schemes look really good.

12-Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Rank Last Year:24th of 50-A pink-washing scheme and a terrible shade of green on the WEMO scheme cost this team the 2nd place spot,knocking them down to 5th. They have run a lot of great schemes this season

13-Levine Family Racing #95 Rank Last Year:45th of 50-The TWD schemes look medicore, but could be worse. The template Levine Family Racing switched too this year looks great and the cars look very good too.

14-Furniture Row Racing #78 Rank Last Year:4th of 50-The World Vision scheme needs work, as the color does not support a fade, but the Furniture Row, and Colorado Freedom Memorial work very well.

15-BK Racing #26 Rank Last Year:50th of 50-Bully Hill Vinyards is an over-designed joke with an awful color scheme. The yellow numbers on the Burger King scheme are awful, but the rest of the schemes are good, and defendable.

16-RAB Racing #29 Rank Last Year:NR-Good color scheme, mediocre design scheme.

17-Hendrick Motorsports #88 Rank Last Year:22nd of 50-National Guard, Mountain Dew, Kickstart, and Superman look good, and work well with the new number design, but Michael Baker, Kelly Blue Book, and Nationwide don’t at all.

18-Chip Ganassi Racing #42 Rank Last Year:11th of 50-While Cottonelle, the Silver Scheme, and Energizer work very well, but the rest of their schemes are mediocre at best. The white on the back doesn’t work.

19-Beard Oil Racing #75 Rank Last Year:NR-If the sides had a sponsor, and the stripe at the bottom was eliminated, it would work a lot better.

20-Front Row Motorsports #34 Rank Last Year:28th of 50-The majority of the schemes look great, but the upside down lettering on the hood of the CSX scheme looks odd. The Wendell Scott scheme is amazing!

21-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Rank Last Year:15th of 50-While Bush’s, Clorox, Scott’s, Sullivan/Palatek, Kingsford, and Bush’s Grilling Beans work well,Kroger/USO is overdone, Charter Communications uses a horrid shade of green, and Hungry Jack just looks terrible.

22-Hendrick Motorsports #24 Rank Last Year: 36th of 50-Drive to end Hunger is too overdone, and the upside down D on the hood looks terrible. Their orange scheme is even worse. Panasonic is mediocre at best. Pepsi looks good, and all of the Axalta schemes are really good.

23-Humphery Racing #77 Rank Last Year:NR-Plinker Arms doesn’t look great but it could be worse. That applies to Essex Homes as well. The rest of the schemes look good.

24-Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Rank Last Year:31st of 50-The Autisim Speaks scheme works well. The zipper scheme is decent, but odd. Sport Clips is over-designed, but with a good color scheme. The FedEx schemes have decent color schemes, but are over-designed on the front.

25-BK Racing #83 Rank Last Year:7th of 50-Voo Doo Barbecue is an over-designed mess. Dip your car is terrible, as is Zak. Burger King and Borla work well though.

26-Team Penske #12 Rank Last Year:9th of 50-The SKF scheme works very well. The Penske Truck Rental scheme uses a horrible shade of orange, and just looks hideous.

27-Hillman Racing #40 Rank Last Year: NR-When the car doesn’t have a scheme, it looks very good. When it has a sponsor it looks awful.

28-Front Row Motorsports #35 Rank Last Year:27th of 50-The Hefty scheme is a little unorthodox, silver and orange isn’t a great combo, but the design looks good. MDS looks good

29-HScott Motorsports #52 Rank Last Year: NR-The black scheme is good, but the orange Florida Lottery scheme is a trainwreck. Less is more on a paint scheme.

30-HScott Motorsports #51 Rank Last Year:13th of 50-If the car is running a Brandt scheme it looks good, anything else looks terrible.

31-Phil Parsons Racing #98 Rank Last Year: 44th of 50-While I like the Dogecoin,Trench Shoring,iRacing, black Curb Records, and unsponsored black schemes, anything else looks horrendous.

32-Front Row Motorsports #38 Rank Last Year:26th of 50-Most of the schemes are good, but the Love’s Truck Stops, and Love’s Truck Stops Camo schemes are horrific.

33-Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Rank Last Year:23rd of 50-Can all be summed up with medicore color schemes and mediocre design schemes

34-Swan Racing #30 Rank Last Year:50th of 50-The only time the car looked good was when it was unsponsored, but compared to last year’s design it looks amazing!

35-Roush Fenway Racing #17 Rank Last Year:16th of 50-Eco-Power has awful shades of green. Pit for a pair is awful even for a pink-washing scheme. Zest has a good color scheme, but awful design scheme,as does Fifth-Third Bank. Their all-star scheme was terrible. Ford Eco-Boost, NOS, and Nationwide work very well.

36-Richard Childress Racing #27 Rank Last Year: 20th of 50-Neon yellow looks terrible, when they use the stripes on the sides it looks even worse. The Pittsburgh Paints scheme looks really good though.

37-BK Racing #93 Rank Last Year:8th of 50-The Support Millitary scheme is the worst, and although Burger King, Dr. Pepper, and Iowa City Chop House do make up for it, it just isn’t enough.

38-CircleSport/Richard Childress Racing #33 Rank Last Year: 47th of 50-

39-Tommy Baldwin Racing #37 Rank Last Year: NR-Accell Construction has a great color scheme, but the design scheme ruins it.

40-Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 Rank Last Year:29th of 50-Another example of a team where when the car is unsponsored, it looks better.

41-Richard Petty Motorsports #9 Rank Last Year:12th of 50-Can all be summed up with Great color schemes but mediocre design schemes. The camo scheme looks bad, but the upside is that the camo is subtle.

42-Team Penske #22 Rank Last Year:41st of 50-The Shell/Pennzoil scheme has a decent color scheme but a bad design scheme. Anything Pennzoil Platnum is awful, as is Auto Trader. The Auto Club scheme has a great color scheme but a bad design scheme.

43-Identity Ventures Racing #87 Rank Last Year:NR-300 is a mess, and Morris,Hardick and Schinder/SmartBen looks too dull.

44-Michael Waltrip Racing #15 Rank Last Year:38th of 50-The Peak scheme is defendable, the color scheme is good, but the rest of the schemes are just awful.

45-Roush Fenway Racing #99 Rank Last Year:34th of 50-Fastenal looks good, but anything else looks terrible.

46-Go FAS Racing #32 Rank Last Year:25th of 50-The Terry Labonte throwback scheme was amazing, but most of their other schemes are over-designed messes.

47-Stewart Haas Racing #14 Rank Last Year:21st of 50-The over designing of the Bass Pro Shops schemes, as well as the use of orange and camo just look horrible. Mobil 1, Rush Truck Centers, and Code 3 look decent, but to some extent have issues. Mobil 1 is over designed, Rush uses too dark a yellow, Code 3 uses too bright a yellow.

48-Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Rank Last Year:43rd of 50-Allstate Peterbuilt, and Pilot-St Jude Children’s Network work well, as both have good color schemes and design schemes. Anything else just looks awful.

49-Richard Childress Racing #3 Rank Last Year:NR-Cheerios is very good, and has a classic look. Dow schemes have a great color scheme, but have mediocre design. Anything else looks terrible on this car.

50-Germain Racing #13 Rank Last Year:40th of 50-The blue is too bright, as is the yellow. The car is overdesigned, and the whole car looks like a mess. The camo scheme is much worse.

51-Hendrick Motorsports #5 Rank Last Year:46th of 50-The only half decent scheme is Pepsi. Everything else is an over designed mess.

52-Stewart Haas Racing #10 Rank Last Year:37th of 50-The only scheme that doesn’t make my eyes hurt here is Aspen Dental. Terrible shades of orange and green, with ugly design. The pink-washing scheme is terrible.

53-Xxxtreme Motorsports #44 Rank Last Year: 49th of 50-Every single one of their cars is an ugly, over-designed mess that doesn’t look good at all.

54-Roush Fenway Racing #16 Rank Last Year:19th of 50-Every scheme is terrible.

55-Michael Waltrip Racing #66 Rank Last Year:NR-Nothing about any of these schemes is good.

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Paint Scheme Leaderboard-Week #2-Ford

Ford

By David G. Firestone

Last Week, Chevy teams were ranked. This week, the Paint Scheme Ranking Executive Committee, made up of myself, and Alejandro my black cat have determined how Ford’s teams will be ranked. Alejandro was slightly more useful this week, keeping my leg warm while he slept. As with last week, teams that did not exist or did not run Fords last year will be marked with NR for Not Ranked.

1-Wood Brothers #21 Rank Last Year:1st of 17-The Wood Brothers always design great cars, and the Quick Lane scheme uses the blue very well. It all looks good!

2-Team Penske #2 Rank Last Year:6th of 17-The Wurth and Redd’s Apple Ale schemes are a bit over designed, but the white Miller Lite schemes, Alliance Truck Parts, and Detroit Genuine Parts schemes make up for it.

3-Roush Fenway Racing #6 Rank Last Year:NR-This would be ranked higher, as it has a somewhat vintage look, but the candy cane on the nose looks odd. It’s still a good scheme.

4-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Rank Last Year:2nd of 17-The Ekcrich camouflage scheme doesn’t work, camouflage schemes rarely do. The Charter green is horrible, but the rest of the schemes look really good.

5-Levine Family Racing #95 Rank Last Year:16th of 17-The TWD schemes look medicore, but could be worse. The template Levine Family Racing switched too this year looks great and the cars look very good too.

6-Front Row Motorsports #34 Rank Last Year:11th of 17-The majority of the schemes look great, but the upside down lettering on the hood of the CSX scheme looks odd. The Wendell Scott scheme is amazing!

7-Humphery Racing #77 Rank Last Year:NR-Plinker Arms doesn’t look great but it could be worse. That applies to Essex Homes as well. The rest of the schemes look good.

8-Front Row Motorsports #35 Rank Last Year:10th of 17-The Hefty scheme is a little unorthodox, silver and orange isn’t a great combo, but the design looks good. MDS looks good.

9-Team Penske #12 Rank Last Year:3rd of 17-The SKF scheme works very well. The Penske Truck Rental scheme uses a horrible shade of orange, and just looks hideous.

10-Phil Parsons Racing #98 Rank Last Year: 15th of 17-While I like the Dogecoin,Trench Shoring,iRacing, black Curb Records, and unsponsored black schemes, anything else looks horrendous.

11-Front Row Motorsports #38 Rank Last Year:9th of 17-Most of the schemes are good, but the Love’s Truck Stops, and Love’s Truck Stops Camo schemes are horrific.

12-Roush Fenway Racing #17 Rank Last Year:5th of 17-Eco-Power has awful shades of green. Pit for a pair is awful even for a pink-washing scheme. Zest has a good color scheme, but awful design scheme,as does Fifth-Third Bank. Their all-star scheme was terrible. Ford Eco-Boost, NOS, and Nationwide work very well.

13-Richard Petty Motorsports #9 Rank Last Year:4th of 17-Can all be summed up with Great color schemes but mediocre design schemes. The camo scheme looks bad, but the upside is that the camo is subtle.

14-Team Penske #22 Rank Last Year:14th of 17-The Shell/Pennzoil scheme has a decent color scheme but a bad design scheme. Anything Pennzoil Platnum is awful, as is Auto Trader. The Auto Club scheme has a great color scheme but a bad design scheme.

15-Roush Fenway Racing #99 Rank Last Year:12th of 17-Fastenal looks good, but anything else looks terrible.

16-Go FAS Racing #32 Rank Last Year:8th of 17-The Terry Labonte throwback scheme was amazing, but most of their other schemes are over-designed messes.

17-Roush Fenway Racing #16 Rank Last Year:7th of 17-Every scheme is terrible.

Ford is in the rearview mirror, but next week we move on to Toyota!

Paint Scheme Grades October 9-16

By David G. Firestone

I want to clarify something that I stated last week. My rule for pinkwashing is an automatic F. After a few people pointed out to me that almost everyone is wearing a pink ribbon, I’ve made the decision not to factor a pink ribbon into the grades. That said, pink lettering, numbers, or background will still earn an automatic F. Let’s get to the reviews.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SS Pinkwashing is an automatic F

Brad Keselowski #2 Redd’s Wicked Ale Ford Fusion My only complaint is that this isn’t a Miller Genuine Draft scheme. The color scheme is really good, and the design scheme is really good, A+

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx One Rate Toyota Camry Um…huh? Someone explain to me what black leather and zippers have to do with FedEx? It’s not a bad design, though I could have done without the green at the bottom, so I’ll give it an A-, but I don’t get why they used that design at all.

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry M&M’s always have great Halloween schemes, and this is no different. Orange and black are always a good scheme, and the design fits both M&M’s and Halloween very well. I’ll give it an A+

Terry Labonte #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion Terry is making his 890th start at Talladega, and this scheme is in honor of that. This is now, officially, my all-time favorite throwback scheme. The driver side is designed to look like his Kellogg’s scheme when he won the 1996 Sprint Cup Championship, and the passenger side is designed to look like his 1984 Championship winning Piedmont Airlines scheme. I couldn’t say anything bad about this if my life depended on is, A+

David Ragan #34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion The all white look works well, as does the red curved stripe down the sides. The color scheme is really good, and I give it an A+

Landon Cassill #40 Thunder Coal Chevy SS Between the paint scheme grades for last week, and the race at Charlotte, Cassill picked up Thunder Coal as a sponsor. The logo works well on a white background, and the car has a clean, smooth look that earns an A+

Kyle Larson #42 Energizer Chevy SS Same scheme as last year, same D grade

Michael Waltrip #66 My AFib Story Toyota Camry Ok, this one needs some explaining. Michael Waltrip suffers from Atrial fibrillation or AFib, an abnormal heart rhythm. He is working with The American Heart Association to inform people about AFib, and this scheme features pictures of those who have shared their stories about dealing with the disease, and I have to give this an A+ for that. It also doesn’t hurt that the color and design schemes are really good too!

Michael McDowell #95 Jordan Truck Sales Ford Fusion Pinkwashing earns an automatic F. It should be noted that this is the first time a team has put a Twitter handle on the side of their car.

Josh Wise #98 Provident Metals Ford Fusion A much more scaled down version of the paint scheme, which is much smoother and better looking. It has a great color scheme, so I’ll give it a B+.

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 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+

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+

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

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.

Getting the Belt…Not Always a Bad Thing!

By David G. Firestone

One aspect of driver suits that has become a target for new customizations in the last 15-17 years is the belt. For many years, the belt was unadorned, or had a very small logo. Belts are a comfort feature, and typically made of the same material that the suit itself is made out of, with the same amount of layers and has a Velcro closure on it. Belts may incorporate a border made with an alternate color, to help it stand out.

Belts had no design or decoration on them for many years, as examined by this Ted Musgrave example from 1995,16-musgrave-beltthis Ricky Craven example from 1996,41-craven-beltand many more.barber-belt nunn-belt petty-belt 17-sedgwick-belt 9-speed-belt But it was around that time, that something began to happen. Looking at the Ted Musgrave suit from 1995, his name is embroidered into the left-chest area.16-musgrave-lshoulderIn 1998, this had changed so that his name is embroidered into the belt.15-musgrave-beltThis was popular in F1 and IndyCar for many years, and is still the way that names are presented on the driver suit.25-wallace-belt 23-wimmer-belt 12-stremme-belt 10-labonte-belt 15-sprague-belt 31-skinner-belt 36-said-belt1 90-stricklin-belt 96-reeves-belt Other examples, such as this Randy Lajoie example circa 1999-2000 will have a sponsor logo embroidered into the belt.1-lajoie-BELTKasey Kahne wore this suit in 2005 at an event, and it has a GOODYEAR logo on the front, and when the belt is opened, on the inside, the FIA certification is present here. 9-kahne-belt 9-kahne-fiaFormula 1 and IndyCar have a unique quirk to the design. Since the drivers come from all over the world, the flag from the driver’s home country is sewn into the belt, such as this Alex Barron example from 1998:36-barron-beltNot all belts are created equal. Christian Fittipaldi didn’t wear belts on two of his NASCAR suits. The first one, comes from 2002, while he was sponsored by Georgia Pacific, and instead of the belt, he just has his name sewn into the suit.45-fittipaldi-beltThis Christian Fittipaldi example from 2003 features no belt, and no name.44-fittipaldi-beltThis Nate Northam example from the 1988 Sunbank 24 at Daytona, now the Rolex 24 at Daytona, features a belt that is specifically designed to be removed.56-Northam-beltMany NASCAR action figures will feature the belt designs on them, and many of these figures are pretty accurate, but I think I’ll save that for another blog.

Tailgating Time!

Just for fun, I’ve decided to add a recipe that can easily be made while tailgating at the track. This is my recipe for beer-broiled brats. This works well in the fall, during the Chase, on a cooler day.

You will need:

1 6-pack of beer

1 16oz jar of sauerkraut

½ sliced onion

garlic salt and butter to taste

12 plain, uncooked bratwurst

Take the 6 pack, and pour it into a large pan. Place the pan on the grill or stove, and add 1/4 the jar of sauerkraut, the onions, salt and butter, and finally the brats. Bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes.

Tip-Do NOT cut or puncture the brats in any way, the casing keeps the juice, and taste in the brats. For more flavor, let soak after cooking. DO NOT OVERBOIL THE BRATS, that is the best way to ruin them.

While the brats are boiling, prepare a grill. Gas or charcoal works either way. After boiling is done, remove from the liquid, and place on the hot grill, and cook 5 minutes per side. Brats are made from pork, and under-cooking them can be hazardous, You want to watch the race from the stands, not a hospital room.  Here is a video visualizing the process…

After grilling the brats, toast the buns on the grill for 20 seconds, place the brats in the buns, and serve. For sides, I would recommend some mustard potato salad, some potato or tortilla chips, and, of course, plenty of ice-cold beer!

This recipe will rock your tailgating party at the next race, and I will post more simple recipes for tailgating in the near future.

Paint Scheme Reviews

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s/Monopoly Chevy SS The simple design is good, but the color scheme needs a lot of work. Beige does NOT work on race cars, and this is a perfect example. The Rich Uncle Pennybags(or Mr Monopoly) wearing sunglasses is not very attractive either, so I can give this scheme a C at best.

Kasey Kahne #5 Pepsi Max Chevy SS Are you kidding me? Is it too much to ask to pick a design scheme? You can have a cutting edge purple design which works, OR a matte black design that works, BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE BOTH! The purple, red and black design is good, but the design scheme is just horrible. Even with a good color scheme, this earns an F

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil1 Chevy SS Ok, now THIS is a great scheme! Simple design, great color scheme, great design all over, A+

Tony Stewart #14 Go Daddy Chevy SS This is, without a doubt, the best Go Daddy scheme EVER! Great simple design, amazing color scheme, and black works much better than yellow or green. A+

Clint Boyer #15 Peak/Duck Dynasty Toyota Camry Oh man, where do I start here? The color scheme would work without the baby blue stripe, the hunting camo roof is just awful, and the overall design just looks forced. This car looks like a bad photoshop job…F

Greg Biffle #16 3MSafety Ford Fusion The contrast between the white and black parts of the car would normally not work, but because it is a safety themed car, and safety coveralls are typically white or black with an orange and silver stripe on them to increase visibility, this scheme makes sense. The colors are good, and I give this scheme an A

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Peanut Butter Toyota Camry I ranked Kyles regular M&M’s scheme as an A+, and this scheme somehow improves on it. The orange background works even better than the regular scheme. I have to give this scheme an A+

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft/Henry Ford Ford Fusion This is a solid scheme, I like the Henry Ford design. The black, white and gold scheme works very well, and it is an A scheme

Austin Dillon #33 Mycogen Seeds Chevy SS Meh. I like the color scheme, but the front to back arch is overdone, and the is unoriginal at best. I will give it a C

Ron Fellows #33 Canadian Tire Chevy SS Grey red and black can be tough to work with sometimes, but this scheme works very well. The red flames work well, and the otherwise basic design is very attractive. A

Victor Gonzalez Jr. #36 Mobil 1/IMCA Chevy SS This was a late entry into the race in Sonoma, Gonzalez is a “road course ringer” so there was not much time to design and decal a car, but that said, this is a great simple scheme, no pointless design, and a great color scheme. A+

Ryan Newman #39 Quicken Loans/Smurfs 2 Chevy SS Again, as with Kasey Kahne above, PICK A DESIGN SCHEME! You can either have a red and black scheme, or a red and white scheme, BUT NOT BOTH! It looks like someone designed a Smurf scheme, quickly realized that it needed to carry a Quicken Loans design as well, and tried to make a hybrid of the two, which is just awful, and earns an F

Landon Cassill #40 Interstate Moving Company Chevy SS Good color scheme, kinda reminds me of United Airlines back in the day, and a really simple smooth design. Good scheme and earns an A

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Depends Chevy SS Is this a good look? Depends! Joking aside, this is not a very good scheme, the green logo works, but the black and grey scheme is awful.

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Axe Apollo Chevy SS The Apollo Astronaut design is unique. It works very well, and although the design is convulted, it is very attractive. The color scheme works well and this scheme earns an A

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Energizer Chevy SS From the wheel well forward it is a great scheme. From the driver door backward it is awful. Whatever look they were going for, they missed. It just looks horrible. Great colors, but awful design, D

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Helping Hungry Homes Ford Fusion A patriotic scheme, mixed with Petty Blue, that is not overdesigned. Giving this scheme an A is not going far enough to describe how good it is.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes/Disney’s Planes Chevy SS While I like the color scheme and basic design, the hood logo is awful. The door number has a black outline, and it is very visible, but the hood logo which does not have a black outline is next to invisible, which defeats the purpose of having a logo on the car in the first place. That said, it is still a good design, and I will be generous and give it a B.

Paulie Harraka #52 HASA Pool Products Ford Fusion I like matte black, and the hood logo and basic color scheme are good. The smaller logos on the quarter panel are hard to see, but it gives the car a smaller, short track look. A

David Reutimann #83 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry Dr Pepper has a great color scheme and great designs on their packaging, and this is reflected in this paint scheme. It works very well, and is a great complement to a bottle of Dr. Pepper. A

Tomi Drissi #87 The Wolverine Toyota Camry Many movie paint schemes don’t work, but this is not most movie paint schemes. It is simple, has a great color scheme, and has a great design, and earns an A

Travis Kvapil #93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry A design based on Diet Dr. Pepper, again a design faithful to the packaging, that works very well. Everything that I said about the Reutimann scheme above applies here, and this scheme earns an A

Travis Kvapil #83 Burger King Rib Sandwich Toyota Camry BK Racing has a lot of great schemes this year, and this is another one. Great color scheme, great overall design, and I like what they did with the rib sandwich. I’m not a “Rib-wich”guy, but I like this, and give it an A.

Neck Backs…A Hotbed for Unique Customizations.

36-saidThe driver suit is almost always customized for the driver, and as such, the driver has the option of adding customizations to the suit. This may come in the form of size,

and belt design,36-barron-belt

 

but the back of the neck is a unique place for customizations. The designs that are placed on the back of the neck are as unique as the driver themselves.36-barron-neck

I’ve gone at length to discuss the FIA certification which is frequently sewn into the back of the neck. This is a prominent feature in Formula 1 and IndyCar. That is standard issue, so no real need to comment on it any more.barber-neck

n NASCAR, the back of the neck can be used for a myriad of different customizations. One of the most common is a car number, such as this Christian Fittipaldi suit, 45-fittipaldi-bneck

and another common feature can be sponsor logos, such as this Randy LaJoie Bob Evans suit from 1999-2000,1-lajoie-neck

and this Joey Miller Craftsman Truck Series suit from 2005.12-miller-blogo

This Kasey Kahne suit has the Evernham Motorsports logo sewn into the back of the neck.9-kahne-neck

And Roger Penske likes to have the American Flag on the back of the neck of his suits, as evidenced by this David Stremme suit from 2009.12-stremme-neck

Older Simpson driver suits have been known to have an inventory number sewn here, as exampled by this Mike Skinner suit from 1997,31-skinner-future

and this Stevie Reeves example, again from 1997.96-reeves-neck

But for my money, the personal customizations are more fun when they are as unique as the driver is. In this Terry Labonte suit, Terry has added a Texas logo.10-labonte-neck

My favorite customization is from a Boris Said suit from 2005. Said has added a Boris Badenov design to the back of his neck.36-said-neck

It’s the little things that make a suit personal, and these are some of those little things. Who says a driver suit can’t be fun.

And of course, it goes without saying that the neck is frequently left blank, as exampled by this Nort Northam suit from 1988.56-Northam-neck

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna Patriotic Chevy SS Pretty good scheme here, red white and blue is always a solid scheme, but the one gripe I have is the pointless circle around the door number. While it gives the car a vintage look, it is just out of place here. Even still, this scheme is a solid A-

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Patriotic Ford Fusion Solid scheme, nothing to complain about, A+

Kasey Kahne #5 Hendrick Cars Chevy SS Red white and black is a very solid color scheme, and the design, while a bit convoluted looks really good. It has a hurricane-esquire design that looks really good. A-

Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy .US Chevy SS The simple design of this scheme looks really good…but what is going on with the colors? Why is the car painted in Russian dressing green? Russian dressing is good, but not as a color scheme. The red white and blue designs clash, and it just looks awful. D-

Clint Bowyer #15 Peak Blue DEF Toyota Camry I gave this scheme a B grade, and the logo change on the hood does nothing to either add or subtract for this grade. B

Greg Biffle #16 3M Statue Of Liberty Ford Fusion Amazing how a better color scheme, as well as the Statue of Liberty design take a C grade and bring it up to a B

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries All Battery Center Toyota Camry Now THIS is what an Interstate Batteries scheme should be! The classic dark green, gold and white color scheme is amazing, and the design is simple yet very attractive. Giving this scheme an A+ is not saying enough about how great this scheme is!

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Standox Chevy SS White flames on a blue background? Seriously? I could forgive it if it was blue flames on a white background, blue flames look really good. But white flames? This design ruins a great color scheme AND a great design scheme TOGETHER! Now that is impressive! F-

Kevin Harvick #29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevy SS The Patriotic schemes worked quite well this year, and this is another example of that. A-

Jeff Burton #31 Quikset Chevy SS Decent color scheme but the design needs a little work. If the red was on the hood, roof and deck-lid and the black was on the sides, I would give it an A, but the shark-fin design is brutal on the eyes, and serves no real purpose. As such, I can only give it a C-

JJ Yeley #36 Golden Coral Patriotic Chevy SS Another A grade Patriotic scheme.

AJ Allmendinger #51 Neil Bonnett Throwback Chevy SS While I like most throwback schemes, this one, while accurate, has the worst color scheme I have ever seen. It just screams 1980’s. Hot pink and neon yellow really stands out, and not in a good way. Still, I do miss Neil, and they were pretty accurate, so I will give this scheme a B

Carl Edwards #99 Subway Ahhvocado Ford Fusion Good color scheme and a simple design. I’m not a fan of avocados on sandwiches, but this is a good solid A scheme.

The Replacements…The Driver Suit Edition

By David G. Firestone

I have been focusing too much on paint schemes lately, so I’ll hold off on that for a while. Back to driver suits. As Brian Vickers demonstrated earlier this year, when there is time to plan for a driver replacement, a full driver suit with all correct sponsor logos can be done for a driver. But what if the driver change isn’t as easy to anticipate? What if it is a last minute deal? Sometimes, you get an item like this:10-labonte

10-labontebHere’s the back story, Patrick Carpentier was racing for Gillette-Evernham Motorsports in 2008. He was a part time Cup driver, and full time Nationwide Series driver. During the week of August 3, 2008, Carpentier was scheduled to driver in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Quebec. Because of the travel restrictions involved, he was not able to make the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 the next day. As such, Terry Labonte was chosen to take the #10 Charter Communications Dodge Charger for that race. Since this was a last minute deal, Labonte was given this basic suit, with SPRINT CUP, GOODYEAR, VALVOLINE, GILETTE-EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS, NASCAR, and SUNOCO logos. The full Charter Communications design would have taken more time than the team had to make the suit.

10-labonte-rchest 10-labonte-lchest 10-labonte-rsleeve1 10-labonte-lsleeve1

In all honesty, it works very well. It has the classic quilt pattern, and the minimal logos give it a very retro look. This is also the only driver suit that I have ever seen that has no manufacturer logos, either Dodge or Simpson, and has a full SFI Certification.

10-labonte-rshoulder 10-labonte-sfiOther than the lack of logos, this is a standard custom designed Sprint Cup driver suit. It has shoulder epaulets and arm gussets, as well as Terry Labonte’s name on the belt. The Texas logo is presnet next to Labonte’s name, and I have never seen this on other suits he wore. I was able to find some pictures of him wearing the suit, and he looks good in it.

10-labonte-belt

Grading the 2013 All-Star Race

Last week was the All-Star Showdown and the All-Star Race.  These two events are magnets for special paint schemes.  The top two finishers from the Showdown move to the All-Star Race.  I have graded both events, starting with the Showdown.  It is ranked from best to worst.

The Good:

1 David Reutimann #83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry. Great classic design with a great color scheme that gets an A+

2 Travis Kvapil #93 Burger King/ Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry See Above, A+

3 David Gilliland #38 Long John Silvers Ford Fusion Good color scheme, and the basic design used with that scheme on this car just makes it stand out. I’m not a fan of yellow on race cars in most cases, but I’ll overlook it this time because it is just so good. A+

4 Jeff Burton #31 Cat Chevy SS The scheme is solid, has good colors, great number designs and a good pattern used. Final Grade: A

5 Martin Truex Jr. #56 NAPA Toyota Camry Simple, elegant with a great color scheme, great logos and great number design.  Final Grade: A

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford Fusion Lose the design on the doors and it would be perfect. Other than that this scheme is perfect and earns a solid A

7 Mike Bliss #19 Gentry Plastics Inc. Toyota Camry-Good color scheme and simple design work well here, A

8 Terry Labonte #32 Oxy Water Ford Fusion I don’t know why, but I like this scheme. Normally I wouldn’t like the color scheme and basic design but for whatever reason, I like this. A-

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Target Chevy SS Great color, great number design, and the pattern used is a lot more subtle than last year’s scheme. The quarter-panels have too many associate sponsors and looks too cluttered, keeping the Final Grade at a B.

10 Bobby Labonte #47 House Autry House Foods Toyota Camry The design is simple, but good. The color scheme need some work. The red used is too bright, as is the blue. The logo group on the quarter-panel is awful. B-. If the color wasn’t so bright, I could grade it higher.

The So-So

11 Joe Nemechek #87 Royal Teak Toyota Camry Good color scheme, simplistic design, not much to say here, C

12 Landon Cassill #33 Bicycle NASCAR Playing Cards Chevy SS-Decent color scheme, but the design is all over the place, way too chaotic, C-

13 Paul Menard #27 Serta Chevy SS Basically the same scheme as his regular scheme, but different hood logo…nothing really to say here…C-

14 JJ Yeley #36 World TradeX Chevy SS– Not much to say here…other than make the logo bigger. D-

15 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-

16 Casey Mears #13 Geico Ford Fusion Eww…just eww. The color scheme is dreadful, and the designs on the side are painful to look at. It passed because of the logo and number design. Final Grade: D-

17 David Stremme #30 Lean 1 Toyota Camry The best way I can describe this scheme is that there is nothing good about it. Anything they could have messed up with this scheme, they did. It gets an F

18 Scott Riggs #44 No Label Watches Ford Fusion An awful scheme made much worse by a horrible color scheme that earns an F- grade.

19 Michael McDowell #95 Levine Family Racing Ford Fusion There is nothing right about this scheme. F-

20 Brian Keselowski #52 Supportmillitary.org Toyoa Camry-Eww…Too much going on, with the oversized camo in too many different colors, and the door design which is awful. F-

Now on to the All-Star Race.  Jamie McMurray, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. transferred in from their performances in the Showdown, and Danica Patrick was voted in.  As such, their grades will be mentioned here.

The Good

1 Brad Keselwoski #2 Miller Lite Fan Mosiac Ford Fusion.  It looks really good, and the pictures of the fans give it a condensation on the can effect that is really cool.  A+

2 David Ragan #34 CSX Play It Safe Ford Fusion This is a very solid scheme, with great colors, great design and an overall great look. CSX did this scheme very well and it gets an A+

3 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+

4 Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Ford Fusion Pennzoil has an amazing shade of yellow, and they really put it on display in this A+ scheme

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

6 Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Chevy SS Great scheme, nothing wrong, A+

7 Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Cares Chevy SS-The racing stripe makes the scheme look better, and the hood logo is good as well  A

8 Carl Edwards #99 Fastenal Ford Fusion The stripes work well here, and the color scheme is good. A

9 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Best Buy Ford Fusion  The number design, color scheme, and simplistic design give the car a good look. A

10 Kevin Harvick #29 Budweiser/Rheem Chevy SS-Good color scheme, and I like the two different designs on the side.  A-

11 Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry Good color scheme, decent design, could use some work on the front. B+

12 Tony Stewart #14 National Wild Turkey Federation Chevy SS Good color scheme and overall design, but the major issue I have is with the NATIONAL WILD TURKEY being on a curve and not as visible It gets a B-

The So-So

13 Jamie McMurray #1 Bass Pro Shops/NWTF Chevy SS-Great Color Scheme, Awful design, C+

14 Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry The front nose design and stripes are awful. The color scheme is great, but the stripes kill it. The best grade I can give is a C+

15 Greg Biffle #16 3M Filtrete Ford Fusion-Could you please pick a color scheme and stick with it?  Two different color schemes on the same car is just awful. But they are two good color schemes. C-

16 Ryan Newman #39 Aspen Dental Chevy SS-Good colors, but awful design…what does this have to do with teeth?  C-

17 Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Patriotic Chevy SS-Not the best scheme he has run all year, but I would love to see the car in that shade of red on the bottom C-

18 Matt Kenseth #20 Husky Toyota Camry Not much really to say, mediocre color scheme, no real design to comment on, the logos are plain Jane enough, it’s a bland scheme that earns a C grade. A mediocre grade for a mediocre scheme.

The Awful

19 Marcos Ambrose #9 Stanley/DeWalt Ford Fusion  Is it normal to get seasick while looking at a paint scheme?  The Petty Blue just does not work here, and the oval around the letters is pointless.  The car looks awful even though it has a great color scheme and great sponsor logos. D

20 Kurt Busch #78 Furniture Row Military Appreciation Night Chevy SS I love the matte black that Furniture Row usually uses, so this is kind of disappointing. That said, the color are good, but the hood design needs work. The MILITARY APPRECIATION banner is much to small and it is hard to see at speed. A good scheme that has been ruined and earns a D-

Before I leave, I have two more pieces of business.  First off, I would also like to extend congratulations to Tim Flock, Jack Ingram, Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty, and Glen “Fireball” Roberts for being elected to the 2014 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Second off, RIP Dick Trickle.  You will be missed.

To Boot or Not to Boot…That is the Question

By David G. Firestone100_2474-copy1

 

I love exploring and discussing the lesser-known aspects of driver suits, and one thing that most fans don’t get to see are the cuffs are the end of the legs. In NASCAR, that is because there is a design feature in suits called the “boot cut.”77

9-kahne-legs

As seen above, the boot cut features a cuff within a cuff. In NASCAR this is not just for aesthetic reasons. NASCAR, and other stock car classes feature the engine in front of the driver. In the very likely event of an engine catching fire the cuff helps keep the driver’s legs protected, as demonstrated below…

The other style of cuff is just called “cuff.” It is a predominant feature seen in F1 and IndyCar suits. Since the engine and fuel tanks are located behind the driver, and because of the restricted space within the driver compartment, the cuff style is a popular choice. On occasion, cuff cuts can be seen on NASCAR suits as well.  Early NASCAR suits feature cuff cuts, but in the 1980’s, the boot cut became the standard choice.100_2474-copy1 - Copy

On to the paint scheme reviews…

Clint Bowyer #15 Napa Filers Toyota Camry It looks to me like this scheme was created by taking 2 previous schemes and combining them into one horrific scheme. The color is good, but the design is so awful it earns an F- and I’m being very generous with my grade here.

Terry Labonte #32 Oxy Water Ford Fusion I don’t know why, but I like this scheme. Normally I wouldn’t like the color scheme and basic design but for whatever reason, I like this. A-

David Ragan #34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion I can’t be the only one who thinks that Dockside Logistics is ripping off the basic logo design and color scheme from Game Stop…right? That aside, this is a really good scheme, good color scheme, and a great design. A+

David Gilliland #38 Long John Silvers Ford Fusion I’m really reviewing a lot of Fords today, and many of them, including this one are good. Long John Silvers has a good color scheme, and the basic design used with that scheme on this car just makes it stand out. I’m not a fan of yellow on race cars in most cases, but I’ll overlook it this time because it is just so good. A+

David Ragan #38 A&W Ford Fusion The same design as the Long John Silvers car, but with a somewhat more difficult color scheme. But they pulled it off. It looks really good. A+

Austin Dillon #51 Tag Heuer Eye-wear Chevy SS Finally a Chevy to review, and it is a good one! Black, red and white is almost always a good bet for a race car, and the classic racing stripe design really works with this car. A+

Kurt Busch #78 Denver Mattress/Serta Chevy SS The simplest design in NASCAR but with a Serta logo on the side, instead of a Denver Mattress logo. It works and works well enough to earn a solid A grade.

Malcom McDowell #98 Ambient Edge Air Conditioning Ford Fusion It has a classic look to it, with a good color scheme. Gets a Solid A

That’s it for this week. Next week, I will be working on another project, so I won’t be adding another article for two weeks.

Some Thoughts on the Sprint Unlimited and An Introduction to Photo matching

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 1996.41-craven

This suit was difficult to photo match but I thought I had in this photo from Fuller Motorsports and Collectibles.41-craven-4

Upon closer inspection, this suit in the photo and the suit in my collection are not the same.41-craven-1

 

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.41-craven-3 41-craven-2

 

This card is from 1996, and shows Craven clearly wearing the suit in my collection.41-craven-5

 

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.41-craven-7 41-craven-6

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+