The Driver Suit Blog-2018 Paint Scheme Leaderboard Part 4-The Grand Finale!

By David G. Firestone

The Driver Suit Blog Paint Scheme Review Committee has had our final meeting. Lucy the Beagle, Alejandro the Cat, and myself had a lengthy discussion that ended in the final ranking of paint schemes for the 2018 Cup Series. We worked hard, and now we will enjoy some treats, a nap while you read the final leaderboard.

1. Michael McDowell #34 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes:14

Rank Last Year: 29th of 43

GPA: 4.00

14 schemes, 14 A grades, need I say more? Ok, I will say more. Michael McDowell had nothing but schemes that looked great. While his on-track results sadly don’t match how great his schemes were, he had a great looking year.

2. Beard Oil Motorsports #62 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes:1

Rank Last Year: 1st of 43

GPA: 4.00

One singular scheme raced for four races, and it has a great design. It’s bold, but not over designed. It’s a great look.

3. Kurt Busch #41 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 6

Rank Last Year: 3rd of 43

GPA: 3.88

Sadly, the Slate Water Heaters scheme took what could have been a perfect year down to a 3.88. Still, an A- average still isn’t bad. Kurt had a lot of great schemes this year.

4. Ryan Blaney #12 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 15

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 3.84

The new Menard’s template looks amazing, and it was used to great effect on the #12. Sadly, the Quaker State was the turd in the punch bowl here. Like Slate Water Heaters, this scheme to a solid 4.0 GPA down to a 3.84 GPA. An A- is still good, but it’s not a solid A.

5. Obaika Racing #97 Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 4

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 3.82

Victor Obaika, NASCAR’s first African team owner, had a lot of great looks this year. While The Excel Therapy/Maximum Off-Road was a little over done, this new team had a very solid year, appearance-wise.

6. Rick Ware Racing #52 Chevy Camaro/Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 5

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 3.80

A series of different drivers raced a series of different paint schemes in 2018. All of these schemes were good, some better than others. The Live Hotel and Casino and Jacob Companies entries could have used some work, but as a whole, a very solid year.

7. Kevin Harvick #4 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 10

Rank Last Year: 7th of 43

GPA: 3.73

Busch Outdoors was a bad move, and the ¾ + ¼ Mobil 1 and Busch scheme didn’t help an otherwise solid scheme season. Many of the schemes were rehashes of great schemes from last year. Bottom line is that Kevin Harvick had some great schemes in 2018

8. Paul Menard #21 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 19

Rank Last Year: 2nd of 43

GPA: 3.72

The new Menard’s template looks amazing, and it was used to great effect on the #21. Sadly, the Quaker State was the turd in the punch bowl here. Like Slate Water Heaters, this scheme to a solid 4.0 GPA down to a 3.72 GPA. An A- is still good, but it’s not a solid A.

9. Jimmie Johnson #48 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 6

Rank Last Year: 43rd of 43

GPA: 3.61

Jimmie had 5 solid A schemes this year, which looked great, and weren’t over designed. Sadly, The Jimmie Johnson Foundation scheme was awful. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation was an ugly, over designed mess, with a bad color scheme, as opposed to the other schemes raced. This scheme was so bad, it took Jimmie’s GPA from 4 to 3.61.

10. Jamie McMurray #1 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 16

Rank Last Year: 14th of 43

GPA: 3.48

The schemes were all passable schemes, but the DC Solar patriotic schemes, the Clover schemes, and DC Solar weren’t great, and dragged Jamie’s GPA down to just above a B+. Cessna, and McDonald’s were great.

11. Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 20

Rank Last Year: 27th of 43

GPA: 3.47

The STP, Mile 22, and Food Lion Feeds schemes were slightly over designed. and World Wide Technology was mediocre at best, and Kroger Red, White and Barbecue was a disaster. Other than that, Darrell Wallace Jr. had a great season, paint scheme-wise. He had a lot of great looks, and a really great throwback.

12. Roush Racing #6 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 13

Rank Last Year: 25th of 43

GPA: 3.46

Performance Plus and Ford EcoBoost always looks bad. Oscar Meyer didn’t look great. Constatine Sealing, Advocare Rehydrate, Wyndham Rewards Patriotic look even worse. NESN and a pinkwashing scheme drag the GPA down even more. The #6 had a lot of great schemes this year, but a lot of not great schemes, so they look even worse.

13. Premium Motorsports #55 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 7

Rank Last Year: 11th of 43

GPA: 3.40

Another potential 4.0 scheme ruined by a series of bad grades, including Nevada Donor, the car the following week, and Black Riffle Coffee. Adirondack Tree Surgeons was horrible. Averaging out the grades gives the #55 a 3.40.

14. David Ragan #38 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 16

Rank Last Year: 24th of 43

GPA: 3.38

Earthwater,FR8 Auctions and 1000 were awful, as always. Connor Co was slightly better, but not by much. The rest of the schemes used the Front Row template, which is very effective in delivering a unique look, that isn’t over designed.

15. William Byron #24 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 10

Rank Last Year: 20th of 43

GPA: 3.37

The year started off promising, with 4 A schemes introduced at the beginning of the season. There was a definite drop off as the season progressed, with Uni First, and Hertz, though Hertz would redeem themselves. Then came the disaster that is Axalta/Imron, and that was what dragged the GPA down even more.

16. Clint Bowyer #14 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes:

19 Rank Last Year: 4th of 43

GPA: 3.32

The Hall of Fans and Tony Stewart Fan club schemes weren’t great. Wix was even worse. There were also a lot of schemes that could have been solid A schemes, with some minor adjustments. Clint Bowyer had a good year, but he could have had a great year in 2018.

17. Erik Jones #20 Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 13

Rank Last Year: 30th of 43

GPA: 3.30

Doosan and SportClips weren’t great, though SportClips would have a great Throwback scheme. Toyota’s scheme was awful. Sirius and the second Circle K weren’t bad, with room for improvement. The rest of the schemes were great, but the bad balanced out the good in the end.

18. MBM Motorsports #66 Chevy Camaro/Ford Fusion/Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 12

Rank Last Year: 38th of 43

GPA: 3.27

The Rewards.com, and the Rewards.com throwback weren’t the best. Other than those two, there were a lot of A, A-, and B+ schemes this year. But the numbers don’t lie, and the average is a 3.27. In years past, this could have been a higher rank, but this year isn’t a high rank.

19. Austin Dillon #3 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 17

Rank Last Year: 21st of 43

GPA: 3.20

A lot of great, a lot of meh, and some awful. Scooper Cat Litter was awful. American Ethanol, Symbicort, and Dow/Molykote were mediocre. Dow Killz needed work, and while the rest of the schemes were solid, the bad drags down the good here.

20. Kyle Busch #18 Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 15

Rank Last Year: 12th of 43

GPA: 3.20

Snickers Almond, Snickers Intense, and Interstate Batteries were the only black marks here. Kyle had 15 schemes, 12 are A schemes, 3 are F schemes. When everything was averaged, Kyle got a 3.20 GPA.

21. Martin Truex Jr. #78 Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 8

Rank Last Year: 33rd of 43

GPA: 3.14

In their last year of existence, Furniture Row debuted a bad template, which could get, at best, a C-. The Auto-Owners Insurance schemes were good. Their throwback scheme for the final race was amazing. It was a decent year for Martin

22. Premium Motorsports #15 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 16

Rank Last Year: 18th of 43

GPA: 3.13

Low T Center, which never has a good scheme, Go Pro Motorsports, and Championship Machinery were the real stinkers here. Amazingly, there were a lot of A schemes, but those three schemes dragged the GPA down a lot.

23. Brad Keselowski #2 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 14

Rank Last Year: 9th of 43

GPA: 3.13

The Penske template can be very tricky to work with, in terms of color schemes. Auto Trader was awful, as it always is, and there were a few other schemes that needed work. Other than that, the schemes as a whole were great.

24. Aric Almirola #10 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 11

Rank Last Year: 34th of 43

GPA: 3.03

The Waffle House, the Smithfield Patriotic, and the Smithfield Anytime schemes were bad. Helping Hungry Homes could have been better but it wasn’t awful. The rest of the schemes were quite good, but, as always, the bad drags down the good.

25. Chris Buescher #37 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 24

Rank Last Year: 10th of 43

GPA: 3.00

Chris Buescher raced a lot of schemes, and they were all over the place. While the Natural Light Resume scheme was a bad idea all around, there were a lot of schemes that were bad, but with some work could be better. The final GPA however was much lower that it could have been at a 4, but he only got a 3.

26. Rick Ware Racing #51 Chevy Camaro/Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 22

Rank Last Year: 16th of 43

GPA: 2.95

The #51’s schemes were all over the place. Some schemes were amazing, some were awful. The Jacob Companies had more different schemes this year than any singular company. The averages are what they are, and the rank is what it is.

27. Matt DiBenedetto #32 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 16

Rank Last Year: 42nd of 43

GPA: 2.91

Can Am/Wholey is a bold and unique look. Too bad it’s not a good look. Add in that the scheme was reused for a political sponsorship for Shawn Moody, a candidate for the governor of Maine. Add in a pinkwashing scheme, and some awful poker schemes, and you have a low GPA for 2018.

28. Premium Motorsports #7 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 10

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 2.91

I get that the #7 is also used for the #15 and #55. However, I’m going to have the #7 as it’s own number. NY Racing will be a separate entry. There was a lot of bad to awful schemes on the 7 this year. This just wasn’t a great year for the #7. Sure there were a few good schemes, but not as many as bad schemes.

29. StarCom Racing #99 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 10

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 2.91

International Marine had a couple of awful schemes. For some reason, the #99 had the really awful Rewards.com Darrell Waltrip throwback. StarCom Fiber’s scheme was bad, but their patriotic scheme was slightly better. It wasn’t a great year for the new team.

30. Chase Elliott #9 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 12

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 2.78

Sun Energy was awful, though they did redeem themselves later in the year. Little Ceaser’s, Mountain Dew, Baja Blast, the second Sun Energy, and NAPA Nightvision were great. Other than that, the schemes were decent, but could have bee great.

31. Ryan Newman #31 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 20

Rank Last Year: 17th of 43

GPA: 2.77

Ryan’s schemes were all over the place this year. Some were really great, including some of CATERPILLAR’s schemes, and the throwback. Others were awful, such as Liberty National and Lucas Oil. But there was a lot more bad than good.

32. Alex Bowman #88 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 9

Rank Last Year: 23rd of 43

GPA: 2.76

The Axalta scheme was awful, as was the Church Brothers scheme. The Philadelphia Eagles scheme was ill-advised, as was the Llumar, and Nationwide schemes, but they weren’t awful. It was a decent year, but it could have been a lot better.

33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 10

Rank Last Year: 32nd of 43

GPA: 2.74

Much more bad than good for Ricky this year. Little Hug Fruit Barrels, Sunny D, a pinkwashing and two bad Ford schemes were the lead here. Fastenal, the Fastenal patriotic, and the John Deere throwback were great, but this was not a good year for Ricky’s paint scheme.

34. Gaunt Brother Racing #96 Chevy Camaro/Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 11

Rank Last Year: 35th of 43

GPA: 2.73

Ik9 had some great looks this year. The Dale Earnhardt Sr. Throwback was great, as was Northern Provincial. There were some bad looks, but the season as a whole was decent. It could have been better, but it was just decent.

35. Tri Star Motorsports #72 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 17

Rank Last Year: 28th of 43

GPA: 2.71

Tri Star was all over the place this year. Zomongo, Monarch Crypto Wallet, ARK Custom Blockchain, and both Schluter Systems schemes were awful. There were some highlights, including So Cal Chevy, Winn Dixie, BCT Blockchain, and Gas Monkey Garage. There was also a lot of meh schemes. I’ve reluctantly accepted the door number designs, but I’m not accepting some of the paint schemes from the #72.

36. NY Racing Team #7 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 1

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 2.70

One scheme that was decent, but not great, but not awful. That sums up the season for NY Racing, and their one paint scheme.

37. Daniel Suarez #19 Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 9

Rank Last Year: 15th of 43

GPA: 2.68

Stanley and Comcast were horrible this year. Interstate Batteries thought thier scheme looked so great that it would work on the #19, which it didn’t. Coca Cola, Arris, Peak, and Lenox tried to make up for this, but in the end, it was just a meh year for the #19.

38. Denny Hamlin #11 Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 6

Rank Last Year: 19th of 43

GPA: 2.68

The FedEx schemes were the same unremarkable blue and orange schemes they were last year. The FedEx Cares scheme was hideous. I will give Denny credit for having a great looking throwback. All in all, this was just a meh year for Denny.

39. Leavine Family Racing #95 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 15

Rank Last Year: 20th of 43

GPA: 2.53

Kasey’s schemes could be great when they had to. They were bad because he wanted them to be. His schemes were mostly pointlessly over designed, and looked awful. There were some good schemes, but the good and bad led to a bad average.

40. Kyle Larson #42 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 14

Rank Last Year: 36th of 43

GPA: 2.52

Kyle’s schemes were much more over designed than Jamie McMurray’s schemes. The awful Clover scheme found its way on to Kyle’s car. Add in that DC Solar had numerous different designs, and they were all bad in their own way, as well as many that could have been improved, and you have a low GPA for 2018.

41. Ricky Benton Racing #92 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 2

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 2.50

The Carquest/Black’s tire scheme was bad. It was clearly designed by two different people with different ideas on how the car should look. The template was recycled for the Advance Auto Parts scheme which was better but not great. This was not a great season for the #92

42. StarCom Racing #00 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 21

Rank Last Year: 39th of 43

GPA: 2.42

Another example of a series of schemes that are all over the place. There are too many different ones to mention individually, but almost every grade in the spectrum is represented, and when averaged out, the #00 gets a 2.42.

43. Ty Dillon #13 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 4

Rank Last Year: 22nd of 43

GPA: 2.35

The Twisted Tea scheme was great. The Throwback scheme was good, certainly better than the Geico scheme, which is still the same mess it was last year. The Geico patriotic scheme is self-serving, with the outline of the Geico gecko used as a camoflage pattern. The #13 just doesn’t look good.

44. Daniel Hemric #8 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 1

Rank Last Year: N/A

GPA: 2.30

The Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff scheme isn’t great, but it’s not awful. That’s really all there is to be said.

45. Joey Logano #22 Ford Fusion

Number of Schemes: 7

Rank Last Year: 31st of 43

GPA: 1.95

Joey Logano is champion, and he looked horrible for most of the year. The Shell/Pennzoil, Auto Trader, and AAA schemes, were their usual ugly messes, and while Pennzoil was a high point, and the throwback a higher point, the fact that the Cup Champion can’t even get a solid 2.00 GPA for 2018 says a lot.

46. AJ Allmendinger #47 Chevy Camaro

Number of Schemes: 2

Rank Last Year: 13th of 43

GPA: 1.90

Kroger was not a great scheme used for most of the year. The only other scheme used was the throwback, but that wasn’t good enough to get a solid A, only an A-. The two schemes averaged only a 1.90.

47. BK Racing #23 Toyota Camry

Number of Schemes: 18

Rank Last Year: 37th of 43

GPA: 1.43

There were two plain schemes that worked, as did the throwback, and Best Bully Snacks. Everything else ranged from awful to God awful. There were many schemes that were pointlessly over designed for no real reason. I’m glad I won’t have to look at BK Racing next year.

Well, that does it for The Driver Suit Blog in 2018. I’ve had a lot of fun. I want to thank all of my readers, I couldn’t do this without you. 2019 will be here in a few days, and I will start the year the way I always do, with Wheel Reviews next Friday! See you then!

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