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.

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!

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.