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 #1-Chevy

By David G. Firestone

Starting this week, and for the next four Fridays, we will rank the paint schemes of all 55 race teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup. I will not grade any paint schemes until these rankings are done, but I will still update the Paint Scheme Tracker on Wednesday. The rankings were determined by the Paint Scheme Ranking Executive Committee, made up of myself, and Alejandro my black cat, though all he did was sleep through the proceedings. First up will be Chevy. I will also add the rank each scheme held last year. Teams that did not exist or run Chevy cars will be marked as NR for Not Ranked..

1-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Rank Last Year: 1st of 19-Classic, smooth looks with no needless clutter. Jimmie always runs great schemes

2-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.

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

4-Richard Childress Racing #31 Rank Last Year: 13th of 19-A lot of great schemes this year, but Wix is overdone, and the Cat/Quicken Loans hybrid looks awful

5-Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Rank Last Year: 9th of 19- 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

6-Furniture Row Racing #78 Rank Last Year: 2nd of 19-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.

7-Hendrick Motorsports #88 Rank Last Year: 8th of 19-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.

8-Chip Ganassi Racing #42 Rank Last Year: 4th of 19-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.

9-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.

10-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Rank Last Year: NR-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.

11-Hendrick Motorsports #24 Rank Last Year: 14th of 19-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.

12-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.

13-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.

14-HScott Motorsports #51 Rank Last Year: 5th of 19-If the car is running a Brandt scheme it looks good, anything else looks terrible.

15-Richard Childress Racing #27 Rank Last Year: 6th of 19-Neon yellow looks terrible, when they use the stripes on the sides it looks even worse. The Pittsburgh Paints scheme looks really good though.

16-CircleSport/Richard Childress Racing #33 Rank Last Year: 19th of 19-

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

18-Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 Rank Last Year:10th of 19-Another example of a team where when the car is unsponsored, it looks better.

19-Stewart Haas Racing #14 Rank Last Year: 7th of 19-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.

20-Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Rank Last Year:16th of 19-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.

21-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.

22-Germain Racing #13 Rank Last Year:NR-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.

23-Hendrick Motorsports #5 Rank Last Year:17th of 19-The only half decent scheme is Pepsi. Everything else is an over designed mess.

24-Stewart Haas Racing #10 Rank Last Year:14th of 19-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.

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

Next week, we move on to Ford…See you soon!

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 Silly Season…and Why It Isn’t Silly For Me…

By David G. Firestone

It’s August, the summer is winding down, you are seeing back to school ads on TV, Halloween stuff is popping up in stores, and the Silly Season is officially underway. For me, this begins the most hectic part of the year for The Driver Suit Blog. Within the next few months, driver changes, sponsor changes and team changes will be announced. There is always a shakeup of some kind, and this year will be no different.

Carl Edwards, for example, will be leaving Roush Fenway Racing after the season. It was announced on Tuesday that Edwards would be moving to Joe Gibbs Racing and driving the #19 Toyota Camry. He has sponsors, one of which is Arris, which is a communications company for 17 races. The remaining 19 races he has a sponsor for the other races, but that hasn’t been addressed yet.

Where a driver is in the points helps with these kinds of decisions. As it stands right now, there are 1- drivers in the Chase because of a victory, and X driver who are in the Chase because of points. Will that change before Chicagoland? I have no reason to believe it won’t. I will be watching the Federated Auto Parts 400 this year, in light of what happened last year. I would have to believe that something like last year can happen. As of today, there are 12 drivers, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almorla, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Johnson, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano have a spot in the Chase due to wins. That leaves 4 spots open, and with 3 races to go it is highly unlikely that there will be 3 new winners, so some drama can and will happen.

The part where it gets really bad is that from here to Daytona in February, there will be 2015 paint schemes released on a regular basis. The problem is that every 2015 scheme I grade will have to be taken with a grain of salt. For example,in mid-August last year, Brian Vickers was announced to drive the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine. The announcement included photos of the car. However, later on, a new design was released, and became the current standard. I didn’t complain too much because both designs are good. But this is a constant issue for me, do I grade them as-is, or do I back off and wait? This will get more and more frustrating between now and Homestead. An example of this is that Ricky Stenhouse Jr.and Greg Biffle  just announced one of their new car designs for 2015. I will take it with a grain of salt, but I will grade it below as I normally would.

Something I also have to take into consideration is that something late in the season will cause a major change to the playing field. A perfect example is the unpleasantness last year at the Federated Auto Parts 400. After that scandal, Napa announced that it would be leaving Michael Waltrip Racing, and that left Martin Truex Jr. without a ride. He moved to Furniture Row Racing, and the full-time #56 became the part time #66.

One other major story I am following and I’m sure you are as well is who will sponsor the Nationwide Series next season? It was announced in 2013 that after 2014, Nationwide Insurance would be leaving as the series sponsor. Nothing definitive has been announced as of today, but I would have to believe there will be an announcement before the season ends. I’m curious just as the rest of us as to who that would be. Comcast is negotiatinng a deal for the series, and I would think a deal would be announced quite soon.

There will be driver changes, sponsor changes, team changes, and schedule changes. A rumor is going around that The Southern 500 will move back to Labor Day, Atlanta will follow the Daytona 500, and that the first Bristol race is moving from early March to mid-April. Again, when the schedule is announced we will know for sure. There are little changes every year, and after a while these little changes add up to big changes.

One other bit of news I need to address is that on Monday, a number of teams stayed at Michigan to test some 2015 rule changes. All totaled, 6 different car configurations were tested for a total of 160 laps. Again, equipment changes are a common event between seasons and this is nothing new. Information will be taken, adjustments will be made, and there will be more testing during the off season. Once that happens, the rules package will be created and distributed to the teams for the upcoming season.

Now before I get into paint schemes, I’d like to discuss something that has been happening in F1 for a while and I think needs to be stopped. Between the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 27, and the Belgian Grand Prix on August 29, F1 is on it’s “summer break.” This is due to the high travel restrictions and the limit on active crew members an F1 team can have. Teams don’t show up to the track on the Friday before the race, they show up on the Monday before the race. While I am not unsympathetic to the demands on crew members, I am a racing fan. F1 is one of the most watched sports in the world, with telecasts that can get as many as 54 million viewers worldwide. Fans love the sport, and the summer break is a headache. So here is my solution. First, we double the number of active personnel that the team can have, so fresh guys that can be rotated. Second, we extend the season by 4 weeks, so that there can be time for drivers and crew to relax between events.

Now we have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!

First, we have our first 2015 paint scheme,

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford Fusion  Great color scheme, good design, I give it an A-, the number still looks horrible.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion Decent design, great color scheme, I hope this scheme stays on…A

Now on to 2014 Schemes…

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite/Careers for Veterans Ford Fusion This is a rare case where the quarterpanel logo needs to be bigger. The lettering is hard to see in this photo, and was harder to see on the telecast. It takes an A scheme down to a B+

Michael Annett #7 Pilot /Allstate Peterbuilt Chevy SS Great color scheme, great simple design, A+

Greg Biffle #16 Roush Perfomance Ford Fusion Red and black is a great color combination, and I like the dot fade effect. This is the best Biffle scheme all year and it earns an A

Greg Biffle #16 Hire our Heroes Ford Fusion Another prime example of why came and race cars don’t mix.  This is just an awful mess.  The American flag motif just looks horrible with the camo, but I think it might look good by itself.  I’ll give it a D

Kyle Busch #18 Doublemint Gum Toyota Camry Great color scheme, great design, A+

Alex Bowman #23 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry I don’t like green on race cars, but at least here it is used tastefully. It works very well and earns an A+

Cole Whitt #26 Bully Hill Vineyards Toyota Camry Good color scheme, odd design for the sponsor. A vineyard using a spilled wine design to sell wine…not a good look. C-

Cole Whitt #26 Speed Stick/Iowa City Chop House Toyota Camry I find it amazing that the same team that brought the terrible scheme above could come up with an A+ scheme for the race one week later.

Travis Kvapil #32 Keen Parts/Try Androzone Ford Fusion Great simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Travis Kvapil #32 Skuttle Tight Ford Fusion Great simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Alex Kennedy #33 Circle Sport Chevy SS Good color scheme, bad design, it’s giving me a headache, D+

David Stremme #33 ThunderCoal Chevy SS Good color scheme bad design, C-

Aric Almirola #43 Eckrich Ford Fusion Ok, I thought we had this said, but I’ll say it again…CAMO DOES NOT WORK ON RACE CARS! It takes an A scheme down to a C-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevy SS Another classic Jimmie Johnson A+ scheme!

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Chevy SS  Reportedly, Jimmie was unhappy with the color scheme change from blue to white and asked Lowes to swtich back to blue after a series of sub-par finishes.  Lowes agreed, and the car is another classic Jimmie Johnson A+ scheme!

Joe Nemechek #66 Landcastle Title Toyota Camry Great simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Nelson Piquet Jr. #77 Worx Ford Fusion Another tasteful use of green, another A+ scheme!

Josh Wise #98 Provident Metals Ford Fusion  The word horrible is not enough to describe this car!  Too overdesigned and with a bad color scheme, I can only give it an F

Carl Edwards #99 Ford Eco-Boost Ford Fusion The word of the day is overdesigned. Good color scheme, but overdesgined and a C- gradeDSCN1093Before I go I wanted to tell you about a project.  I recently bought a Mr. Beer home brewing kit.  It is a kit for beginers like me who have no experience brewing beer.  It is a realativly simple process.  The kit comes with a 2 gallon fermenter, some booster sugar, brewer’s yeast, a pale ale hopped malt extract, and some no rinse cleanser. DSCN1097 DSCN1095   You need a non wooden spoon, a glass bowl a can opener and a measuring cup.  DSCN1096You use the no rinse cleanser to sanitize everything you use to make the beer, then you place the hopped malt extract and booster containers in hot water while you boil 4 cups of water.DSCN1099While the water is boiling, you fill the fermenter with 4 quarts of cold water.  Once the water is boiled, you add the hopped malt extract, and booster sugar, and mix well.DSCN1100 DSCN1101  Then you pour the mix into the fermenter, add more water, and then add the yeast.  DSCN1105 DSCN1108 DSCN1109Now comes the hard part, we have to wait two weeks for it to ferment.  I’ll keep you posted.

The End of An Era in Evanston

DSCN0972By David G. Firestone

We all have at least one place that we always remember fondly from our childhood. It could be a restaurant, a park, the home of a close friend, or family member, or a park. We all have at least one, probably many. It is always sad when one of these places goes away. Well this happened to me this last week, when an Evanston institution began the process of moving.

Tom Thumb in Downtown Evanston was a place that I and a number of my friends spent a great deal of our childhood. Some of us were skateboarders, some of us were RC car fanatics, some of us, like me were model builders and die cast collectors. It had been in the same place for 49 years, but they announced that they were going to move after a zoning decision was made to replace the current building with a two-story building for two restaurants. So, on July 12, after 49 years as an Evanston institution, it closed. I went there on the 12, and made, with a heavy heart, my last purchase.photo 2 photo 1This was a sad day because I am a huge NASCAR fan, and for many years, Tom Thumb was the only store in Evanston that sold NASCAR stuff. It was also one of, if not the oldest skate shop in the midwest. I went there, looked around the store where I spend my childhood, took it all in, and bought my last purchase, this 1997 Darrell Waltrip 25th Anniversary set.DSCN0972I bought this for two reasons. The first is that I love this set, I remember many of these schemes from races I watched in 1997. They all look really good, and they bring back memories. The second reason, and I didn’t even think about this until I started doing some work for next week. During my research, I was grumbling about how many different paint schemes each car runs every week, and it dawned on me that this might be the first example of that in the Sprint Cup Series.

You never had this much variety in paint schemes before 1997. Each team ran one scheme for the majority of the season, maybe 2 or 3 different schemes and special schemes for the All-Star race, and possibly the Busch Clash. But Darrell Waltrip ran, in total, 7 different schemes, each based on a specific era in his career. Each had Western Auto Parts America as the primary sponsor, but were based for past sponsors. He started with Gatorade, which he ran for DiGard Motorsports, from 1975-1980. He won two Coca Cola 600’s(1978, 1979) a Winston 500(1977) the Southern 500(1978,1979)as well as 22 other races during that time.DSCN0990In 1981, he left DiGard for Junior Johnson Motorsports, and was sponsored by Mountain Dew, where he won 24 races including the 1982 Winston 500, the 1981 Busch Clash, and two of his three Sprint Cup ChampionshipsDSCN0991Pepsi replaced Mountain Dew and created The Pepsi Challenger which he ran in 1983 for Junior Johnson. He won 6 races for PepsiDSCN0992After Pepsi left, Budweiser took over the sponsorship, and from 1984-1986, he won 13 races, the 1985 Winston Cup Championship, the Inagural All-Star Race in 1985, the 1985 Southern 500, and the Winston 500. I find love how they call it “Red” instead of Budweiser since this was marketed to kids at the time.DSCN0993In 1987, he made the move to Hendrick Motorsports, and picked up Tide as a sponsor. He won the 1989 Daytona 500, The 1988 and 1989 Coca Cola 600’s and 6 other races. I loved that it was identical to the scheme used by Ricky Rudd that same season.DSCN0994From 1990-1997, he raced the #17 for Hendrick Motorsports in 1990, and then founded Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, which raced this scheme from 1990 to 1997. He won 5 races, but was never to get his former glory back. Western Auto left the team after 1997, and Darrell Waltrip Motorsports shut down shortly after the start of the 1998 season.DSCN0995The last scheme is one of the most innovative schemes in the history of NASCAR. His legendary Chrome scheme.  Darrell loved chrome, using chrome numbers, and a chrome helmet.  This was supposed to be used for just a single race, but it was raced a number of times that season. Nothing like this had ever been done in NASCAR before. There had been chrome numbers, but never a chrome car. This car was so far ahead of it’s time.  Darrell even had a Chrome driver suit that he wore with this car!DSCN09961997 would be the beginning of the end for Darrell Waltrip. He shut down his Winston Cup team in 1998, and joined Dale Earnhardt Inc. midway through the season. He would race for just two more seasons before fully retiring in 2000.

The idea of 7 different schemes seems like standard opperating procedure today, but back in 1997, this was revolutionary. This was unheard of. These schemes were all good, and they worked well, but this surprised some fans. 17 years later, this is the norm rather than the exception. If I did the paint scheme reveiws back in 1997, I would write one article at the beginning of the season, one before the all-star race, and maybe one midway through the season. There were no changes to paint scheme, or if there were, they were very rare.

Tom Thumb will reopen eventually. But whavever the new location, it will never have the same feel as the decades old building were it was once housed. I will miss it. I really will. But I find a bit of irony in that I bought the beginning of an era at the end of another era. I will visit Tom Thumb when they reopen, and I wish them the best of luck. From the residents of Evanston to Tom Thumb, we will miss you, and we wish you the best of luck in your new location!

We also have a paint scheme related news item to discuss.  This last week, NASCAR announced that the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup would have some new features on their cars.  Specifically,  all Chase contenders will have a yellow splitter cover, a yellow window stripe with black letters, yellow roof numbers, and a special Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup decal.  I’ve been speculalting that this might come to be, and now I have proof.  I am not going to discuss how I think it will look, until I have a good idea as to who is in the Chase, and how it will look on their cars.  Here is an illustration of how it looks.

With that out of the way, we move on to…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevy SS Another case where it looks like two different designers created the car without speaking to each other. It looks awful. The color scheme is good, so it passes, though just bearly with a D-

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy SS For a Bass Pro Shops scheme it looks really good. It isn’t over designed, has a nice patriotic touch, and has a good color scheme. A+

Clint Bowyer #15 RK Motors Charlotte Toyota Camry Clint’s C scheme but with an even worse color scheme ends in a D-

Greg Biffle #16 3M Throwback Ford Fusions Greg Biffle is holding a contest to pick a throwback sheme for his race at Pocono in August. I would normally grade all four of these seperatley, however they all have the same traits, so I will grade them at once. All four have really good color schemes, and really nice logos, but they are all plagues with modern car numbers as well as modern designs. They simply look awful. I will vote for none of these schemes and give them all an F-

Trevor Bayne #21 QuickLane Ford Fusion A really good design with a really good color scheme. It works very well, A+

Cole Whitt #26 Scorpion Window Film Toyota Camry Good color scheme, good design, though the silver stripe on the bottom is a bit much. A-

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Splash Chevy SS The Splash logo looks really good, and I’ll give it a B+

Joe Nemechek #29 Toyota Cares Toyota Camry Great color scheme, awful design, they average out to a C-

Morgan Shepherd #33 ThunderCoal Chevy SS I liked the other ThunderCoal scheme, but this is just awful. Too many neon colors, and it is needlessly overdesigned. I give it an F

Alex Kennedy #33 MediaCAST Chevy SS Awful color scheme and way too over designed. F

Landon Cassill #40 Gallery Furniture Chevy SS Great color scheme, great simple design, though the 40 could be brighter. A

Kyle Larson #42 Cottonelle Chevy SS Great color scheme, great design A+

Michael Waltrip #66 Royal Teak Toyota Camry Good color scheme, great simple design, A+

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Worldvision Chevy SS Great color scheme, great design, I love that fade, looks great. A+

Ryan Truex #83 Voodoo/Armed Forces Motorsports Toyota Camry A D+ scheme with a new hood logo is still a D+ scheme.

Michael McDowell #95 JPO Absorbents Ford Fusion Another great Levine Family Racing scheme. It is hard to believe how bad they were last year. Great color and design scheme equals an A+ scheme.

Carl Edwards #99 UPS Ford Fusion They took a D- scheme, and made it worse. Awful color scheme, awful design, F-

Why I Hate Politics and Paint Scheme Update

By David G. Firestone

I have a lot of paint schemes to discuss and we will get to that shortly. I wanted to discuss something that took place before the Coke Zero 400 last week. It is a bit murky, but here is what took place.

Charlie Crist is a former governor of Florida, and a former Republican. After a brief hiatus from politics, he has annoucned his intentions to run for the Governor of Florida as a democrat. He had plans to run the #98 Phil Parsons Racing Ford driven by Josh Wise. After this was announced however, the Republican Party of Florida filed a lawsuit stating that it was a campaign contribution worth more than $3,000. Remember, this was the same team that was crowd funded by Reddit and Dogecoin at Talladega, and that sponsorship cost about $55,000. It was later reported that the Charlie Crist decals had been removed from the car. Phil Parsons Racing stated the deal was in response to a series of negative ads toward Crist, and that the Crist decals were part of a deal with recording artist Lee Brice. They also stated that they didn’t pull the sponsorship due to the lawsuit, and that the $25,000 sponsorship would be returned.

I frankly don’t buy any of that for a second. I think that it was because of the lawsuit, and that Phil Parsons Racing did not want to get thrown under the bus because of it. They tried to handle it as diplomatic as possible, but it still sounds sketchy. The other reason I have a huge problem with this is because the simple fact that politics and racing don’t mix. Look at what’s happened with F1 and IndyCar. Politics are a constant issue in the sport, and I for one am tired of it. Look at the Ayrton Senna/Alan Prost battle in the 1990’s! Look at The Split! Politics ruins racing!

This is not the first time a politician with deep pockets has sponsored a race car, but I hope that this is the last time. I’m not against politics, I’m against forcing it into something it has no place being in! If tobacco, cel phone carriers, and hard liqour have or had been banned from sponsoring cars, then so should politicians.

Ok enough serious stuff, on to…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Hawker Chevy SS Nothing bad to say here…A+

Jamie McMurray #1 Lexar Chevy SS Great Color Scheme, great design, A+

Austin Dillon #3 Great Stuff Chevy SS Color scheme is good, the design looks very odd. The gold numbers and chain design does not suit the car at all, and if they were left off, I would give it an A, but this scheme earns a B-

Austin Dillon #3 NRA Museum Chevy SS Good color scheme, decent design, B+

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Protien Chevy SS Much too overdeisgned, decent color scheme, C-

Kasey Kahne #5 Team Stream Chevy SS Good color scheme, but Kasey loves to drive overdesigned cars, and this is no exception. I’m giving it a C which is a very fair grade here.

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Chevy SS Good color scheme, decent design, B+

Marcos Ambrose #9 Black and Decker Ford Fusion Good color scheme, Good design, A

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy/Florida Lottery Chevy SS It looks like two people designed this car, and they didn’t talk to each other while designing it. Both sets of color schemes are awful, and both design schemes are awful. F-

Greg Biffle #16 3M/DAV Ford Fusion Green usually doesn’t look good, camo never looks good, so this scheme earns an F

Greg Biffle #16 3M Aerospace Ford Fusion See Above F

Greg Biffle #16 NESN 30th Anniversary Ford Fusion A bit less overdesigned, at least by Greg Biffle’s standards, and I do like the Red Sox and Bruins logos as well, so I will give it a C

Greg Biffle #16 3M Ford Fusion Good color scheme, decent design, B+. Nice change for Greg Biffle.

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Battery Center Toyota Camry No. Redeeming. Features. Whatsoever. F-

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Cargil Ford Fusion Much MUCH TOO OVER DESIGNED! F

Jeff Gordon Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SS Blue and white work very well, and while it is a bit over designed, it works, and I’ll give it an A

Jeff Gordon #24 Pepsi Chevy SS Great color scheme, great design scheme, A+

Cole Whitt #26 Rinnai Toyota Camry The color scheme is good, and the design is great, so it gets an A+

Cole Whitt #26 Tapout Muscle Recovery Toyota Camry Simple design, great color scheme, A+

Boris Said #32 7-Eleven Ford Fusion I normally hate green on race cars, but this works well. I like the design scheme too, and I give it an A

Bobby Labonte #33 Thunder Coal Chevy SS Great simple design and a great color scheme, A+

Alex Kennedy #33 MediaCast Chevy SS The color scheme is awful, and the design is worse. F

Reed Sorenson #36 Theme Park Connection Chevy SS Ugly design, good color scheme, C-

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

David Gilliland #38 Love’s Truck Stops Ford Fusions CAMO DOES NOT WORK ON RACE CARS! F

Landon Cassill #40 Snap Fitness Chevy SS So So design, good color scheme C+

Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SS Whadaya Know? An A+ Patriotic scheme!

Aric Almirola #43 Waffle House/Smithfield Ford Fusion The understated patriotic design scheme works well, and the color scheme works well too. B-

Justin Algaier #51 CSSUSA Chevy SS Looks good, overall design is good, color scheme is good, and I’ll give it an A

Brian Vickers #55 Aarons/Florida State Toyota Camry Good design with a good design color scheme, A

Brett Moffit #66 Toyota Toyota Camry Good color scheme, simple design, looks very good, A

Tommy Drissi #66 Hercules Toyota Camry I don’t even know where to begin…it just looks awful. F

Martin Truex Jr. #78 World Vision Chevy SS Good color scheme decent design, B-

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SS A decent scheme, but a bit overdeisgned. Color scheme looks good. B

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Chevy SS See David Gilliland Love’s above. F

Michael McDowell #95 K-Love Ford Fusion I like the color scheme, and the overall design is another good Levine Family Racing scheme that earns an A

Josh Wise #98 Dogecoin Ford Fusion Good simple design with a good color scheme equals an A grade

Josh Wise #98 Phil Parsons Racing Ford Fusion Since this design is what was raced, I will grade it as such. The color scheme is decent, but it is a tad too overdesigned. It is a D+ look.