The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Leaderboard-The Grand Finale

By David G. Firestone

Alejandro and I have finished averaging out all the grades of all 45 teams that ran in The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Alejandro was there for moral support, as he slept on my lap the whole time. Without further ado, here is the list:

1-#98 Premium Motorsports Chevy/Toyota-Position Last Year-10th of 49-The #98 of Premium Motorsports has- done the impossible…They’ve had a perfect season! Not one of their paint scheme grades was below an A! The have dethroned The Wood Brothers for the top spot, in both their manufacturer, and across the board. A

2-#35 Front Row Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:2nd of 49-The #35 had a great showing, with two very solid A schemes, and…well…nothing else. Two perfect A schemes means an A for the year.

3-#55 Premium Motorsports Chevy/Toyota-Position Last Year-17th of 49-Becker Auto Trailers was the only paint scheme that kept the #55 out of the top spot. The #55 had a very solid year, and with the exception of the B+ Becker Auto Trailers scheme, and when your worst scheme is a B+, that’s worth an A

4-#21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:4th of 49-A throwback for a basic scheme, two other schemes based on this design is a great way to have a high A average. The Virginia Tech scheme was a B+, just barely keeping them out of the top spot. A

5-#47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-5th of 49-A few sub par grades kept JTG Daugherty from the top spot, namely Unwharrie Bank, Bush’s Baked Beans, and Pink-washing. Still, They had a very sold year, and they have earned an A for the season.

6-#20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-9th of 49-Four solid A schemes, Dollar General, DeWalt, DeWalt USA, Tide, and Dollar General Silver Numbers, that’s what Matt Kenseth had this season. Sadly, Flexvolt derailed the A train, taking the A down to an A-.

7-#30 TMG Chevy-Position Last Year-NA-TMG had a very solid and impressive year…until the D- level Feed The Children scheme debuted. It derailed a sold A year, and took the whole set from an A to an A-.

8-#41 Stewart Haas Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-49th of 49-Kurt Busch had a very solid year, and while the Slate and Hass VF1 schemes weren’t great, they were still B+ level. All in all, Kurt earns an A- this season.

9-#2 Team Penske Ford-Rank Last Year:11th of 49-Brad Keselowski had a great season, with all of his sponsors having great showings…except Auto Trader and the patriotic Miller Lite scheme. It averages out to an A-

10-#46 HScott Motorsports Chevy-Position Last Year-23rd of 49-Northland Oil, and St Jude’s were two B+ grades, that took an otherwise solid A season down to an A-.

11-#44 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:40th of 49-Thanks to Shore Lodge, and The Red Cross, this is another scheme that could have taken the top spot, but is relegated to an A- for the season. All of Alberston’s schemes were A schemes. The Twisted Tea schemes were good too, though I stand by the F given to the modern scheme run during the Throwback race at Darlington.

12-#14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-42nd of 49-Tony Stewart’s final season saw a series of very solid A schemes, and several mediocre schemes. Bass Pro Shops, Ducks Unlimited, and TaxAct didn’t do him any favors. Still his average ends up being an A-.

13-#15 HScott Motorsports Chevy-Position Last Year-NA-While Visine needed a few tweaks, and AccuDoc needed a lot of work, Clint had a great season. Solid A- season for sure.

14-#38 Front Row Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:14th of 49-If not for Snapchat/Rock the Vote, and Florida Lottery, this set would have taken the top spot. With the two blemishes, the #38 earns an A- for the season.

15-#4 Stewart Haas Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-7th of 49-The one real black mark on Kevin Harvick’s season was the Bloomin Monday paint scheme. Outback needed a little work, the hunting camouflage scheme needed a decent amount of work. It was a season that could have been much better without those schemes. B+

16-#16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:32nd 49 of 49-Greg Biffle had a lot of great schemes this year, and he has a decent grade. The one scheme that hurt Biffle was the pink washing scheme. It helped take Greg down to a B+ for the season.

17-#88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy-Position Last Year-41stof 49-Nationwide’s and Axalta’s schemes were great, but Mountain Dew is where the schemes began to go off the rails. Many of them were great, but Dewcision was a disaster, the camouflage scheme was horrid. The worst of them all was the green, yellow, and white “Patriotic” scheme, that couldn’t have been less patriotic if their lives depended on it. Most of their schemes were A’s, but the two F’s and a C brought the total down to a B+.

18-#18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-35th of 49-The Interstate Batteries scheme still sucks, but the Throwback did make up for it. The Skittles/Marvel scheme needed work, and the Halloween and Snickers Crispier schemes could have been better. It averages out to a B+.

19-#5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy-Position Last Year-37th of 49-Kasey had a pretty decent year this year. His average scheme grade is higher, B over a C+. Also, his schemes were notably better than last year, so he really earned the B.

20-#34 Front Row Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:16th of 49-Chris Buescher had a slew of great schemes. Love’s Truck Stops, and CSX had great showings, but the Support the Troops and Hire our Veterans were F schemes, and took him from the top spot down to a B.

21-#31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-27th of 49-Ryan Newman’s schemes were all over the map, some were great, some were awful. Wix was a disaster, Florida Lottery was bad, Kalahari Resorts was worse. Still, there were a decent amount of A’s to make up for it, bringing their total up to a B.

22-#19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-22nd of 49-If not for Comcast Busniess, Carl Edwards would be higher ranked. All of the schemes except for Comcast were solid. The average of the grades is a B.

23-#17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:33rd of 49-Sunny D was a downgrade, which sucks, because while Eco-Boost needed some work, all of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s schemes were A schemes. He finished the season with a solid B

24-#42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-25th of 49-Clorox and Huggies dragged a solid A season down to a B. The Target fade scheme was good, though some variations needed work. The Coca Cola scheme needed work, but it wasn’t awful. It’s still a solid B scheme.

25-#10 Stewart Haas Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-46th of 49-Replacing GoDaddy with Nature’s Bakery was a good move, and Mobil 1 worked too. Sadly, the Patriotic scheme, April O’Neil, and Aspen Dental killed off what would have been a Solid A season. It’s still a B for the year though.

26-#59 Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-NA-This is a case of two mediocre schemes that average out to a B. Nothing great, and nothing awful.

27-#3 Richard Childress Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-31st of 49-There are a lot of schemes on this list that needed improvement. There were a number of good schemes, and a number of awful schemes. Credit to Bass Pro Shops, in that their scheme didn’t look that bad here. The AAA scheme needs to go. B-

28-#11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-8th of 49-The four primary FedEx schemes were great, sad that three of them have gotten the axe. The SportClips scheme still looks awful, and the FedEx Cares scheme was awful. Also, great call in letting Denny design a D- scheme. All grades taken into account, Denny averages a B-.

29-#95 Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-15th of 49-If not for Donatello, ON Semiconductor, and Advil, the #95 would rank much higher ere. There were a lot of A’s and B’s handed out over the course of the season. Still, with some of the designs, it ended as a B- season.

30-#6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:34th of 49-The basic Advocare scheme was good, and the Mark Martin throwback was great, but from the Patriotic scheme on, the schemes went downhill. The fan mosaic, Advocare Spark, and SEAL Legacy schemes were all in the B range, and averaging them out, the schemes grade ends up as a B-.

31-#7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-43rd of 49-Nikko had a lot of bad schemes this season. Citizen Soldier wasn’t that good either. Add in not one, but two pink-washing schemes, and Tommy Baldwin Racing couldn’t earn anything better than a C+. What kept them above water, in terms of grades, was the many good non-Nikko and throwback schemes.

32-#32 Go Fas Racing Team Ford-Rank Last Year:39th of 49-Of the 25 pages of schemes that make up the Paint Scheme Tracker, Go FAS Racing takes up an entire page. The schemes are all over the place, from solid A schemes, to horrid F schemes. The schemes average out to a C+.

33-#99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:NA-Since the team only ran one race, I’ll just quote my piece during the paint scheme grades…The color scheme is good, but the design is a bit too much. It’s not bad, just over done. I’ll give it a C+.

34-#23 BK Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-30th of 49-If the car had a beverage sponsor, it almost always got a higher grade. The Life With Cancer scheme got a decent grade, but Leonardo, Brandeis Machinery, Sweet Frog, and Bubba Burger were all disasters, and the final grade has been dragged down to a C+.

35-#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy-Position Last Year-6th of 49-Sun Energy was the worst scheme of the bunch, coupled with Dewcision Baja Blast,and two bad patriotic schemes leads to a final grade of C+.

36-#27 Richard Childress Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-26th of 49-With two temperamental templates used this season, it’s no surprise that Paul Menard was all over the spectrum this season, in terms of grades. His schemes could be great, or they could be awful. Averaging all the grades out, he winds up with a C+.

37-#48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy-Position Last Year-38th of 49-It’s not a good sign when all three primary schemes earn a C-, and most of the special schemes earn much higher grades. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation scheme is a disaster though, and the final grade is a C+.

38-#78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-Position Last Year-1st of 49-As much as I like their stores, I’m beginning to hate Bass Pro Shops because of their car designs. Furniture Row had a great scheme this year, as did Auto Owner’s Insurance. The throwback scheme needed work, and Tanger Outlets looked bad. Everything Bass Pro Shops did with the #77 was bad. The grades average out to a C+.

39-#43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:20th of 49-Once upon a time, the #43 had a lot of great schemes, and almost never looked bad. Then Fresh From Florida and the Waffle House came on board, and the schemes went from a solid A for the season to a C+.

40-#83 BK Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-29th of 49-Another team that takes up one whole page of the 25 page Paint Scheme Tracker, BK Racing was all over the place. Grades were either high, or low, not many in between. In averaging them out, BK Racing earns a C+ for the season.

41-#1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-36th of 49-The season started out solid…then Credit One came on board. Bass Pro Shops didn’t help, and did I mention that I HATE THE MAC TONIGHT SCHEME? In the end, the best they could muster is a C.

42-#13 Germain Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-48th of 49-A great primary scheme, and a great throwback scheme were neutralized by two bad military schemes. Two A’s and two F’s averages out to a C.

43-#40 Hillman Racing Chevy-Position Last Year-24th of 49-Their Daytona 500 scheme was a D-, then, the team went belly up.

44-#93 BK Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-NA-A couple of B’s could not help the #93 from being at the bottom of the barrel, with a D+ for the season.

45-#22 Team Penske Ford-Rank Last Year:45th of 49-Penske used the same template that earned them the bottom rank in Ford last year, and the results speak for themselves. The only good schemes were the ones that threw the te

The Driver Suit Blog-Throwback Thursday-Sterling Marlin-1999

By David G. Firestone

Sterling Marlin returns in 1999, driving his Coors Light Chevy Monte Carlo, for our final paint scheme of 2016.

Who in the world designed this car, and how drunk were they? I’d really like to know. Coors Light was using the all-silver can design in 1999, so why not paint the car as such? Seriously? Why in the world is this car the mess that it is? I could sit here and type everything that I hate about the car, but I’ll sum it up in one word-nothing. This car has no redeeming design qualities at all. It’s the worst scheme of the year, and that says a lot.

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Leaderboard-Toyota

By David G. Firestone

Toyota takes center stage this week, as The Executive Paint Scheme Ranking Committee releases our results. Alejandro was a lot of help, sitting behind me, and licking my hair. The results are below:

1-#98 Premium Motorsports Chevy/Toyota-Position Last Year-NA-The #98 of Premium Motorsports has- done the impossible…They’ve had a perfect season! Not one of their paint scheme grades was below an A! The have dethroned The Wood Brothers for the top spot, in both their manufacturer, and across the board. A

2-#55 Premium Motorsports Chevy/Toyota-Position Last Year-Position Last Year-5th of 13-Becker Auto Trailers was the only paint scheme that kept the #55 out of the top spot. The #55 had a very solid year, and with the exception of the B+ Becker Auto Trailers scheme, and when your worst scheme is a B+, that’s worth an A

3-#20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-3rd of 13-Four solid A schemes, Dollar General, DeWalt, DeWalt USA, Tide, and Dollar General Silver Numbers, that’s what Matt Kenseth had this season. Sadly, Flexvolt derailed the A train, taking the A down to an A-.

4-#18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-11th of 13-The Interstate Batteries scheme still sucks, but the Throwback did make up for it. The Skittles/Marvel scheme needed work, and the Halloween and Snickers Crispier schemes could have been better. It averages out to a B+.

5-#19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-7th of 13-If not for Comcast Busniess, Carl Edwards would be higher ranked. All of the schemes except for Comcast were solid. The average of the grades is a B.

6-#11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-2nd of 13-The four primary FedEx schemes were great, sad that three of them have gotten the axe. The SportClips scheme still looks awful, and the FedEx Cares scheme was awful. Also, great call in letting Denny design a D- scheme. All grades taken into account, Denny averages a B-.

7-#23 BK Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-9th of 13-If the car had a beverage sponsor, it almost always got a higher grade. The Life With Cancer scheme got a decent grade, but Leonardo, Brandeis Machinery, Sweet Frog, and Bubba Burger were all disasters, and the final grade has been dragged down to a C+.

8-#78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-NA-As much as I like their stores, I’m beginning to hate Bass Pro Shops because of their car designs. Furniture Row had a great scheme this year, as did Auto Owner’s Insurance. The throwback scheme needed work, and Tanger Outlets looked bad. Everything Bass Pro Shops did with the #77 was bad. The grades average out to a C+.

9-#83 BK Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-8th of 13-Another team that takes up one whole page of the 25 page Paint Scheme Tracker, BK Racing was all over the place. Grades were either high, or low, not many in between. In averaging them out, BK Racing earns a C+ for the season.

10-#93 BK Racing Toyota-Position Last Year-NA-A couple of B’s could not help the #93 from being at the bottom of the barrel, with a D+ for the season.

The Driver Suit Blog-Throwback Thursday-Robert Pressley-1998

By David G. Firestone

Robert Pressley is back with his 1997 Jasper Engines Ford Thunderbird.

This requires a bit of an explanation. When the Taurus was introduced in 1998 to replace the Thunderbird, NASCAR gave Ford teams the option of running the Thunderbird for some of 1998. As Jasper Motorsports was a low rent, self-sponsored team, they chose to run the Thunderbird. That said, let’s discuss the scheme. This almost looks like a reverse Jeff Gordon scheme. The rainbow stripes look like a reverse of Jeff Gordon’s rainbow stripes. It’s not a bad look. The Jasper Engines logos are well placed on the car as well, and they look good. The scheme as a whole looks good.

The Driver Suit Blog-My Thoughts On NASCAR’s New Cup Series Name and Logo

By David G. Firestone

Big news yesterday, as not only was the new name for what was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was revealed, but NASCAR itself has a new logo. I can’t say I’m all that shocked about either, but I will say it did take NASCAR a lot longer than I thought it would to come up with a new logo.

Let’s discuss NASCAR’s new logo. The old setup was good, but it was designed in 1976, and really needed an update. It’s a much more minimalist logo, with a different font, and the color bar is much shorter. I have to say…I like it. The font looks much better, and while I liked the old color bar setup, this new design looks really good. It works well. I give it an A.

Now the new name…the “Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.” I’m kind of surprised with that. It doesn’t roll of the tongue. It sounds almost like the name was a placeholder for something better. I thought they would have gone with the “NASCAR Monster Energy Series.” Traditionalists refer to it as the Cup series, and there had been discussions about removing the Cup from the name. In this case…it was the wrong move.

Also, why isn’t NASCAR the first word in the series title? Every series in NASCAR is the NASCAR X Series. In this case, Monster Energy is the first word in the title. Granted there is the Verizon IndyCar Series, but I’ve always thought it should be sanctioning body then sponsor. It sounds better, and works better.

Is the logo in the video the new series logo? Is the series logo going to be a black rectangle with the logo seen in the video? Is NASCAR moving away from the oval designs of the Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series? If so, that would mark a return to the old Winston Cup logo patch design. This could work if the logo isn’t too big. But if the black rectangle is the new logo, it would have to be a little bigger for detail. This could work, or it could be disaster. I’ll reserve my judgment.

I also have to give NASCAR and Monster Energy credit for ruining what could have been a great press conference. NASCAR and Monster Energy held a massive press conference to reveal that a deal had been signed, but didn’t give any details on the series name or logo. Then, they basically used Facebook and Twitter to release a video declaring the new series name. It should have been reversed. They should have released a press release stating that a deal had been signed, and had the huge press conference to reveal the new series name and new NASCAR logo. I did not think they would mess this up as badly as they did.

We just can’t skip over this press conference thing. This should be the biggest moment of the off-season, and instead, it amounted to a little more than a press conference. The series could have had a great name and logo, but instead it has a terrible name, and a mediocre logo. NASCAR had so much opportunity to make this announcement great, but they screwed it up in every way possible. The new NASCAR logo is the only good thing about this. The ball was really dropped today. I can only hope that going forward, mistakes will be fixed.

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Leaderboard-Ford

By David G. Firestone

For the next installment of The Paint Scheme Leaderboard, The Executive Paint Scheme Ranking Committee has ranked the schemes of the Ford teams this year. Alejandro decided that he would rather sleep on a chair, so I did most of the work. Here are the results:

1-#35 Front Row Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:1st of 15-The #35 had a great showing, with two very solid A schemes, and…well…nothing else. Two perfect A schemes means an A for the year.

2-#21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:2nd of 15-A throwback for a basic scheme, two other schemes based on this design is a great way to have a high A average. The Virginia Tech scheme was a B+, just barely keeping them out of the top spot. A

3-#2 Team Penske Ford-Rank Last Year:4th of 15-Brad Keselowski had a great season, with all of his sponsors having great showings…except Auto Trader and the patriotic Miller Lite scheme. It averages out to an A-

4-#44 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:14th of 15-Thanks to Shore Lodge, and The Red Cross, this is another scheme that could have taken the top spot, but is relegated to an A- for the season. All of Alberston’s schemes were A schemes. The Twisted Tea schemes were good too, though I stand by the F given to the modern scheme run during the Throwback race at Darlington.

5-#38 Front Row Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:6th of 15-If not for Snapchat/Rock the Vote, and Florida Lottery, this set would have taken the top spot. With the two blemishes, the #38 earns an A- for the season.

6-#16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:10th of 15-Greg Biffle had a lot of great schemes this year, and he has a decent grade. The one scheme that hurt Biffle was the pink-washing scheme. It helped take Greg down to a B+ for the season.

7-#34 Front Row Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:8th of 15-Chris Buescher had a slew of great schemes. Love’s Truck Stops, and CSX had great showings, but the Support the Troops and Hire our Veterans were F schemes, and took him from the top spot down to a B.

8-#17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:11th of 15-Sunny D was a downgrade, which sucks, because while Eco-Boost needed some work, all of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s schemes were A schemes. He finished the season with a solid B

9-#6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:12th of 15-The basic Advocare scheme was good, and the Mark Martin throwback was great, but from the Patriotic scheme on, the schemes went downhill. The fan mosaic, Advocare Spark, and SEAL Legacy schemes were all in the B range, and averaging them out, the schemes grade ends up as a B-.

10-#32 Go Fas Racing Team Ford-Rank Last Year:13th of 15-Of the 25 pages of schemes that make up the Paint Scheme Tracker, Go FAS Racing takes up an entire page. The schemes are all over the place, from solid A schemes, to horrid F schemes. The schemes average out to a C+.

11-#99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford-Rank Last Year:NA-Since the team only ran one race, I’ll just quote my piece during the paint scheme grades…The color scheme is good, but the design is a bit too much. It’s not bad, just over done. I’ll give it a C+.

12-#43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford-Rank Last Year:14th of 15-Once upon a time, the #43 had a lot of great schemes, and almost never looked bad. Then Fresh From Florida and the Waffle House came on board, and the schemes went from a solid A for the season to a C+.

13-#22 Team Penske Ford-Rank Last Year:15th of 15-Penske used the same template that earned them the bottom rank in Ford last year, and the results speak for themselves. The only good schemes were the ones that threw the template away, and did their own thing, namely the Throwback, and Pennzoil. The schemes grades average out to a D+, though they should be lower.

The Driver Suit Blog-Throwback Thursday-Rick Mast-1998

By David G. Firestone

Rick Mast firing along in his Remington Arms Ford Taurus in 1998.

Yellow, black, and red is a good color scheme, and the design looks really good. The yellow front, and diagonal strlipes to a red stripe, and a black rear, with a red stripe across the bottom works very well. I also like the Remington logo not getting cut off in any way by the wheel well. I’m also glad a giant R logo was used, as opposed to one of the weapons Remington made. It’s a good scheme.