By David G. Firestone
I figured that after the Coca Cola 600 I should do an article on how the teams stack up paint scheme wise. Here is how I figured the grades out. Using a grade average, I took each grade a car number gets and averaged out the grades. I will add comments on the scheme sets as I go. Car #41’s driver has been blacklisted for his indiscretion at Dover, and as a direct result, his schemes will be omitted. So without further ado, the grades thus far in the season.
CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #1-A lot of very solid schemes, but the Energizer takes a solid ad down to a B.
TEAM PENSKE #2-A lot of good schemes, but the needless redesigns of some of the throwback schemes is irritating. They were good the way they are. The Penske Template works for some color schemes, but not for Detroit Genuine Parts. All in all it adds up to an A-.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3-Another solid B grade ruined by one scheme, in this case, Bass Pro Shops. Still there is a lot of good here, so I’ll give it a C+.
STEWART-HAAS RACING #4-See above, but Hunt Brothers Pizza in place of Bass Pro Shops. B+
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #5-Oddly, Kasey Kahne’s schemes aren’t great, but they aren’t horrible either. Pepsi works well, Great Clips is horrible. C+
ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #6-The regular scheme is great, the camo scheme is horrible, they average out to a C.
TOMMY BALDWIN RACING #7-When the car isn’t sponsored, it gets high grades, when it is sponsored, it gets low grades, which average out to a B.
RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #9-Twisted Tea is the only good scheme in this group. One A scheme with a bunch of F schemes lead to a solid F.
STEWART-HAAS RACING #10-Horrible color schemes and design schemes seem to be Danica’s strong suit this year. Averaged out, it earns an F.
JOE GIBBS RACING #11-If not for Sport Clips, Denny would have a solid A scheme, but not to worry, the average ends up giving him an A-.
GERMAIN RACING #13-Nothing good can be said about Casey’s schemes this year. F
STEWART-HAAS RACING #14-Early in the season, Tony was running a C+ across the board, but two new recent A+ have pushed his average up to a B.
MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING #15-Clint hasn’t had a grade below a B this year, and his schemes look really good, and average out to a B+.
ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #16-If not for Patrick Starr and Safety-Kleen, Greg would have a solid A+, but those two F’s hurt his average, taking it down to a B.
ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17-Yet again we have a case where a solid A average is taken down because of one scheme, in this case, the Zest scheme is the guilty party. B-
JOE GIBBS RACING #18-Interstate Batteries is horrible, and Snickers Extreme is almost as bad. It’s too bad, because M&M’s Crispy, Red Nose Day, Skittles, and Pedigree were all A+ schemes, it all averages out to a B-.
JOE GIBBS RACING #19-I hate the idea of two different cars having the same paint scheme. Sport Clips is doing this with Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards. If the Comcast Business scheme wasn’t too over designed, it would get a higher grade. It averages out to a B-
JOE GIBBS RACING #20-Two very solid schemes with great color schemes. Can’t say anything about these schemes! A
WOOD BROTHERS RACING #21-One of the only paint schemes in racing that doesn’t evolve because it doesn’t have to. It is simply perfect. A+
TEAM PENSKE #22-A set of awful schemes that has a higher average because of two schemes. The only good schemes were redesigns of Cruz Pedregon’s funny car, and Helio Castroneves’ Indy 500 car. It averages out to a C-.
BK RACING #23-I am not a fan of sublimated designs on cars, but sometimes a blind spider catches a few flies. The I’m A Pepper scheme works very well, and the sublimated designs work well. The rest of the schemes are decent, and average out to a solid B.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24-In his final full-time season, Jeff Gordon has raced a series of great schemes, not having less than a B+ grade. The average is an A.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #25-NAPA has a great color scheme, but the designers felt the need to compensate with a mediocre design that averages out to a B.
BK RACING #26-It was all going so well for Jeb Burton until Estes, which derailed an otherwise solid average down to a B-.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #27-Paul Menard’s schemes can best be described as all over the place. He goes from great to awful to average from race to race. His grades average out to a C+.
RAB RACING #29-The wood motif works very well, and a great color scheme adds to an A+.
TMG RACING #30-Another example of an unsponsored car looking better than a sponsored car. The average ends up being a C+.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #31-His All-Star scheme and Wix Filers scheme take a solid A scheme down to a C+.
GO FAS RACING #32-Feast or famine, that’s the way to describe Go FAS Racing’s schemes in 2015. They are either high grades, or F’s. It averages out to a C+.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING/CIRCLE SPORT RACING #33-Two teams, same car number, all over the place in terms of grades. Averaging them out, it leads to a B-.
FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #34-Front Row Motorsports has hit it out of the park this year. The only bad scheme across 3 cars is the #38 camo scheme. A+
FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #35-See above. A+
FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #38-See above. B+
HILLMAN-SMITH MOTORSPORTS #40-CRC Knock’er Loose and Cars For Sale derail a series of A schemes, and take the average down to a B.
CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #42-Camo doesn’t work on race cars, and red camo REALLY doesn’t work. The Energizer scheme is horrid, but the rest of the schemes are good. The average is a B-
RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #43-The only awful scheme here is Fresh From Florida, otherwise a series of really solid schemes. B
TEAM XTREME RACING #44-An A scheme, Golden Corral, an F scheme, Phoenix Warehouse, average out to a C.
HSCOTT MOTORSPORTS #46-A series of terrible schemes here, but All-State Peterbuilt, and Pilot/Flying J are great. Those two schemes kick the average up to a D+.
JTG DAUGHTERY RACING #47-Nothing wrong with any of these schemes. A+
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #48-Three C- schemes. This was an A level team last year, but they’ve fallen to a C-.
HSCOTT MOTORSPORTS #51-The Fraternal Order of Eagles scheme is horrid, but otherwise, a lot of great schemes, which average out to a C+.
MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING #55-Get rid of that damn Spongebob scheme, and the 55 would have a solid A+ grade. Spongebob takes the average down to an A-.
PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #62-No really bad schemes here, a solid B+ effort.
PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #66-Green has been considered unlucky in racing for many years. Examples like this prove why. The worst shades of green, and an awful design lead to an F.
FURNITURE ROW RACING #78-Perfection is the only word that can sum up this set of schemes. A+
BK RACING #83-3 B- schemes will always average out to a B-.
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88-Diet Mountain Dew and Baja Blast take a solid effort down to a C+. I do like the door number design.
LEVINE FAMILY RACING #95-Once again, a Spongebob character, this time Larry the Lobster takes an A average down to a B
PHIL PARSONS RACING #98-Nothing bad can be said about this set! A+