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

By David G. Firestone

The focus group of one has had its meetings, and has made its decisions.  Here are all 50 teams that ran the Sprint Cup this year ranked first to last on their paint schemes:

#1-Wood Brothers #21-A classic design scheme that just seems to get better with age. The Henry Ford design combines classic and modern elements for an amazing look.

#2-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Jimmie Johnson went with a very classic look, with a day scheme and a night scheme, which worked very well. Johnson did not have a bad look all year.

#3-Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Simple traditional designs. That is the secret to their success on the leaderboard. Color schemes are great as well. Nothing wrong with these schemes.

#4-Furniture Row Racing #78 When it came down to picking a number 1 for Chevy, for both the Paint Schemie and the Leaderboard, I had to flip a coin to pick a number 1, and Johnson won. Kurt Busch ran a series of very solid schemes, not a lot to comment on and it always looks good.

#5-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Like Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch on the Chevy side, the Toyota winner for both the Paint Schemie and Leaderboard was decided by a coin flip. More modern than the 55, all these schemes are good, with amazing paint schemes and really good design.

#6-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 This team combines classic and modern looks, and uses Petty Blue very effectively. The Transportation Impact scheme was not good at all, and kept the 43 team out of the top spot.  Extra Credit for the Maurice Petty Tribute Scheme.

#7-BK Racing #83 Great designs all around, but the hood needs work. Why is it black when the rest of the car is red?

#8-BK Racing #93 See Above, but the Old Dominion scheme drags it down.

#9-Penske Racing #12-Though only raced for one race, the SKF design worked very well. A great color and great design scheme. If this had been raced for multiple races, I would have ranked it higher, but it is still a solid scheme.

#10-Richard Childress Racing #29 The Bad Boy Buggies scheme is bad, and the Rheem/Budweiser combo scheme is awful, but aside from those, Kevin Harvick has had a very good season, paint scheme wise

#11-Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #42 Get rid of the Axe Apollo scheme and the Camouflage scheme, and Juan Pablo Montoya would have the top spot.

#12-Richard Petty Motorsports #9 This set earned a place in the top 5 because it improved by a lot over the course of the season. It has a great color scheme, but the early schemes were not great, but since Stanley redesigned their logo, and made some changes to the car, it is a very nice set.

#13-Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott #51 Guy Roofing and Hendrick Cars are hideous, but apart from that, they have run a great set of paint schemes. Bonus points given for the Neil Bonnett throwback scheme.

#14-Michael Waltrip Racing #56 The Get Back and Give Back scheme is horrid, but the rest of the schemes are really good.

#15-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Most of what they ran this year was great, but the Bushes Baked Beans car has an odd overall design, and a weird color scheme. The Clorox scheme has a bad color scheme, as does the Charter scheme, as does the Wounded Warrior Project scheme.

#16-Roush Fenway Racing #17 A pinkwashing scheme as well as the Valvoline NexGen scheme kick Ricky Stenhouse Jr. out of the top spot. Sad thing too, as Ricky had a very solid year when it comes to paint schemes

#17-Joe Gibbs Racing #81 Alert Energy is awful. Double Mint is awesome.

#18-Penske Racing #2 While I miss the beer colored wheels from last year, Keselowski has had a decent year, the color scheme is great, though there is too much white on the car. The Redd’s Apple Ale scheme was great, but the Fan Mosaic and Patriotic schemes need some work.

#19-Roush Fenway Racing #16 Greg Biffle had a lot of great schemes, but he had a number of awful ones , including a pinkwashing scheme as well. Get rid of the pinkwashing scheme, the Scotchguard, give blood, and Megulars schemes, and he would be in the top 5.

#20-Richard Childress Racing #27 The yellow is too bright, but other than that, the schemes are really good.

#21-Stewart Haas Racing #14 Some of these schemes are good, others not so much.

#22Hendrick Motorsports #88 Dale Jr. runs good schemes most of the time, but Soldiers of Steel, Orange Amp Energy, and Camouflage are just brutal. Additional points lost for a pinkwashing scheme.

#23-Joe Gibbs Racing #20 If the Dollar General was more plain, and did not have the orange back, I would love to give Matt Kenseth a higher spot, and a pinkwashing scheme does not help.

#24-Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #1 Bad Boy Buggies is even worse here, and the Bass Pro Shop schemes are awful. A number of good schemes here as well.

#25-FAS Lane Racing #32 The Oxy Water scheme, and the gray scale C&J Energy Services schemes do not work, but the rest of the schemes they ran do

#26-Front Row Motorsports #38 The template they run works very well when the color scheme matches that of the sponsor. When it doesn’t match, it looks awful.

#27-Front Row Motorsports #35, See above

#28-Front Row Motorsports #34, See above, aside from the CSX scheme, which looks great, and the Peanut Patch scheme which looks awful.

#29-Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 This team looks better without a primary sponsor than they do with one.

#30-Max Q Motorsports #37 Simple, yet attractive. Would be higher if they ran more races.

#31-Joe Gibbs Racing #11 The Jason Leffler tribute scheme and the FedEx delivery manager schemes are great, but the rest are just awful. I miss the Gen 5 schemes

#32-Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.

#33-Circle Team Sport #40 Interstate Moving is really good. Moon Shine Attitude Attire is really awful, and their pinkwashing scheme is even worse.

#34-Roush Fenway Racing #99 Geek Squad and Fastenal work well, the rest…not so much.

#35-Richard Childress Racing #31 A few good schemes but most of them are mediocre at best.

#36-Hendrick Motorsports #24 See Above

#37-Stewart Haas Racing #10 Worst shades of yellow in NASCAR, and the pinkwashing scheme is so much worse.

#38-Michael Waltrip Racing #15 Clint has consistently run cars with great color schemes, but awful designs. Except for Duck Dynasty, and pinkwashing, which are just hideous.

#39-Humphrey Smith Racing #19 Another car that just looks better without a primary sponsor.

#40-Germain Racing #13 Nothing really wrong, but nothing really right with these schemes.

#41-Penske Racing #22 Red and yellow is a really great color scheme, but the design is all wrong. This design gets even worse with the AAA scheme, which has an even better color scheme. The Pennzoil scheme is good, but not good enough to save the set.

#42-Stewart Haas Racing #39 I have to give them credit, their schemes are mostly awful, but at least they are creative.

#43-Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Worst. Door. Number. Ever. The rest of the car isn’t good either, and a pinkwashing scheme doesn’t help.

#44-Phil Parsons Racing# 98 The schemes come in one of two food groups, bland or awful. Great colors, but the designs are horrid.

#45-Levine Family Racing #95 Worst template in NASCAR.

#46-Hendrick Motorsports #5 Innovation can be a bad thing. This, for example is what happens when you let Karl Benjamin design your cars.

#47-Circle Sport/RCR #33 It amazes me how two different teams can use the same car number, and both can put awful designs on their cars. Special credit for the Honey Nut Cheerios scheme, which is just horrific.

#48-Xxxtreme Motorsports #44 Yuck.

#49-Hamilton-Means Racing #52 Paulie Harraka had a great scheme, but Brian Keselowski…not so much.

#50-Swan Racing #30/26 Please tell me this is an experiment on how to make the worst paint scheme in history? Is Swan Racing competing with Travis Pastrana for the most obnoxious paint scheme in NASCAR?

Advertisements

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Leaderboard Part 2- Chevy

By David G. Firestone

Last week, I ranked the Ford teams based on their paint schemes, and this week I will do the Chevy teams and next week I’ll rank the Toyota teams, so without further ado all the Chevy teams ranked from best to worst:

#1 Hendrick Motorsports #48 Jimmie Johnson went with a very classic look, with a day scheme and a night scheme, which worked very well. Johnson did not have a bad look all year.

#2 Furniture Row Racing #78 When it came down to picking a number 1 for Chevy, for both the Paint Schemie and the Leaderboard, I had to flip a coin to pick a number 1, and Johnson won. Kurt Busch ran a series of very solid schemes, not a lot to comment on and it always looks good.

#3 Richard Childress Racing #29 The Bad Boy Buggies scheme is bad, and the Rheem/Budweiser combo scheme is awful, but aside from those, Kevin Harvick has had a very good season, paint scheme wise

#4 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #42 Get rid of the Axe Apollo scheme and the Camouflage scheme, and Juan Pablo Montoya would have the top spot.

#5 Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott #51 Guy Roofing and Hendrick Cars are hideous, but apart from that, they have run a great set of paint schemes. Bonus points given for the Neil Bonnett throwback scheme.

#6 Richard Childress Racing #27 The yellow is too bright, but other than that, the schemes are really good.

#7 Stewart Haas Racing #14 Some of these schemes are good, others not so much.

#8 Hendrick Motorsports #88 Dale Jr. runs good schemes most of the time, but Soldiers of Steel, Orange Amp Energy, and Camouflage are just brutal. Additional points lost for a pinkwashing scheme.

#9 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #1 Bad Boy Buggies is even worse here, and the Bass Pro Shop schemes are awful. A number of good schemes here as well.

#10 Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 This team looks better without a primary sponsor than they do with one.

#11 Max Q Motorsports #37 Simple, yet attractive. Would be higher if they ran more races.

#12 Circle Team Sport #40 Interstate Moving is really good. Moon Shine Attitude Attire is really awful, and their pinkwashing scheme is even worse.

#13 Richard Childress Racing #31 A few good schemes but most of them are mediocre at best.

#14-Hendrick Motorsports #24 See Above

#14 Stewart Haas Racing #10 Worst shades of yellow in NASCAR, and the pinkwashing scheme is so much worse.

#15 Stewart Haas Racing #39 I have to give them credit, their schemes are mostly awful, but at least they are creative.

#16 Tommy Baldwin Racing #7 Worst. Door. Number. Ever. The rest of the car isn’t good either, and a pinkwashing scheme doesn’t help.

#17 Hendrick Motorsports #5 Innovation can be a bad thing. This, for example is what happens when you let Karl Benjamin design your cars.

#19 Circle Sport/RCR #33 It amazes me how two different teams can use the same car number, and both can put awful designs on their cars. Special credit for the Honey Nut Cheerios scheme, which is just horrific.

The Driver Suit Blog-Ladies and Gentlemen: The Paint Schemie Awards!

By David G. FirestoneCIMG1130

For the end of the 2013 Season, I will reveal the best  and worst paint schemes and driver suits of 2013. This was done using a focus group of one, namely myself, and uses the following standards:

Color Scheme:How the colors look, and how they work with each other.

Overall Design:How good the design itself looks, is there too much, or not enough.

Primary Sponsor Logos: How the primary sponsor logos look on the car

Originality: How original is the scheme. Note that originality can work both for and against a scheme in award voting.

Let’s get the bad paint scheme awards out of the way.CIMG1130 - Copy

First, the Paint Schemie Award for Worst Single Paint Scheme.

The nominees are:

Dave Blaney #7 Sany Ford Fusion

Clint Bowyer #15 Duck Dynasty Toyota Camry

Greg Biffle #16 Red Cross Give Blood Ford Fusion

Landon Cassil #33 Chevy SS

Austin Dillon #33 Honey Nut Cheerios Chevy SS

Brian Keselowski #52 Star Coach Motor Tours Toyota Camry

And the Paint Schemie Award for worst single paint scheme goes to…

BRIAN KESELOWSKI #52 STAR COACH TOYOTA CAMRY

The next Paint Schemie Award is for Exhibition Race Paint Schemes. This category is a little different, as the Schemies will go to the best and worst special scheme that was run in either the Sprint Unlimited, the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint All-Star Race.

The Paint Schemie Award for Worst Exhibition Race Paint Scheme Goes To:

BRIAN KESELOWSKI’S SPRINT SHOWDOWN SCHEME

The Paint Schemie Worst Dressed Driver Award goes to

Joey Logano

Our next category is the Award For Worst Scheme Set of 2013, which is given to the team that consistently runs bad paint schemes throughout the season.

The Nominees Are:

David Stremme #30 Toyota Camry

Scott Riggs #44 Ford Fusion

Carl Edwards #99 Ford Fusion

The Winner for Worst Scheme Set of 2013 goes to:

DAVID STREMME #30 TOYOTA CAMRY

The Paint Schemie Award for Most Degraded Paint Scheme goes to Kasey Kahne, who’s scheme from 2013 is much worse than that of 2012.CIMG1130

Now the nominees for Best Single Paint Scheme are:

Kyle Busch #18 Doublemint Gum Toyota Camry

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion

David Ragan #34 CSX Play it Safe Ford Fusion

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Target Chevy SS

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Chevy SS

David Reutimann #83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry

The Paint Schemie Award for Best Single Paint Scheme Goes to

KYLE BUSCH #18 DOUBLEMINT GUM TOYOTA CAMRY

The next two Paint Schemie Awards are for Best Exhibition Race Paint Scheme, and Worst Exhibition . These are a little different, as they will go to the best and worst special scheme that was run in either the Sprint Unlimited, the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint All-Star Race.

And taking these schemes into consideration, the Paint Scheme Goes To:

JIMMIE JOHNSON’S SPRINT UNLIMTED SCHEME!

The Paint Schemie Award for Most Improved Paint Scheme goes to:

Kevin Harvick

who improved his schemes from 2012 to 2013

The Paint Schemie Best Dressed Award goes to:

Jimmie Johnson

Now, our final Paint Schemie Award, The Best Scheme Set of 2013:

Now for this, I will take a look at the best Chevy Schemes, followed by Ford, and then Toyota, and then finally I will reveal the winners of the Paint Schemie Awards.

And now, the 5 best Chevy teams that have consistently run great schemes:

#1 Jimmie Johnson The classic design that is paired with different color schemes every once in a while works very well. The design gives the car a very clean look, and is a very timeless look.

#2 Kurt Busch Furniture Row Racing’s “less is more” approach works very well here, with a matte black, white lettering and red letters. They always look good, thought I wish their results on the track were as good as they look.

#3 Kevin Harvick Kevin has had, for the most part, done quite well. All of the schemes have great color schemes, and most have great sponsor logos, and are decently original. Originality works well here, but some of the overall designs, namely the Bad Boy Buggies and Rheem/Budweiser combination schemes need a lot of work, but otherwise Kevin Harvick has had a great season paint scheme wise.

#4 Juan Pablo Montoya The Target scheme is very solid, with great colors, great overall design, and great sponsor logos. Not original, but solid. The most original scheme is the Axe Apollo scheme, but that was just brutal. It had a decent color scheme, and a decent sponsor logo, but the whole outer-space motif just did not work. If Axe Apollo was not on the car this year, Juan would be at the top of the standings.

#5 Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott Motorsports A team that has a very consistent track record when it comes to good color schemes, originality, as well as primary sponsor logos, the team can sometimes have serious issues with overall design. The Hendrick Cars scheme, and the Guy Roofing scheme are just brutal in that category.

Moving on to Ford.

#1 Trevor Bayne The Wood Brothers haven’t run a full schedule this year, but when they have shown up, they have always looked good. The schemes are original, since the Wood Brothers used these schemes for many years, and the colors, overall design, and sponsor schemes are always great.

#2 Aric Almirola The Transportation Impact scheme is keeping Almirola from the top spot, because it does not fit the team at all, and it just looks brutal. Other than that scheme, which while original, has awful colors, and overall design, every scheme they ran is solid, with the STP/Farmland scheme almost making up for Transportation Impact.

#3 Sam Hornish Jr. His one and only appearance in the Sprint Cup came at Kansas this year, and this one scheme, with great colors, great overall design, and great sponsor logos worked very well. I gave him 3rd, since everyone else on the list ran full schedules, and he only ran one race.

#4 Marcos Ambrose The Mac Tools scheme looks odd, with a great color scheme, but iffy overall design. The Stanley logo redesign could have worked well, but the black covering the front and headlights does not enhance the look at all. I was not a fan of this scheme at the beginning of the year, but some slight adjustments to the color scheme worked well.

#5 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. A “pinkwashing” scheme makes an appearance, which takes away from the overall grade. That said, this team has great color schemes all year, but some of the overall designs have a bit too much noise. Sponsor logos work well, and Ricky has had a great year.

Last, but certainly not least is Toyota.

#1 Michael Waltrip/Mark Martin/Brian Vickers Every scheme they have run has been a hit, with great color scheme, great overall design, great sponsor logos, and decent originality. No bad schemes here!

#2 Kyle Busch Overall great design, color schemes, and primary sponsor logos, Kyle also has the most original schemes of the top contenders for the Paint Schemie awards. That said, the Mprove America needs a different shade of blue, while the white Interstate Batteries scheme could use a different color besides white.

#3BK Racing Great color schemes, sponsor logos, and overall design. These designs work well, except for the Old Dominion scheme, which is just awful. Everything that the other schemes are, Old Dominion is not, and it is keeping BK Racing out of the top spot.

#4 Martin Truex Jr. Overall, this team works well when it comes to colors, overall design, originality, and primary sponsor logos, except for the camouflage scheme. The camouflage scheme was awful, and it knocked Martin out of the top spot.

#5 JTG Daugherty Racing Most of what they ran this year was great, but the Bushes Baked Beans car has an odd overall design, and a weird color scheme. The Clorox scheme has a bad color scheme, as does the Charter scheme. If these schemes were fixed, there is no reason why JTG Daugherty could be in the top spot.

Now I will take these top contenders, and rank them in order from worst to best. These top contenders should feel very proud that they have earned a spot on the countdown.

#15 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

#14 JTG Daugherty Racing

#13 Martin Truex Jr.

#12 Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott Motorsports

#11 Marcos Ambrose

#10 Juan Pablo Montoya

#9 Kevin Harvick

#8 Sam Hornish Jr.

#7 BK Racing

#6 Aric Almirola

#5 Kyle Busch

#4 Kurt Busch

#3 Michael Waltrip/Mark Martin/Brian Vickers

#2 Jimmie Johnson

And Finally The Paint Scheme Award for Best Paint Scheme Set of 2013 goes to:

#1 Trevor Bayne

Congratulations to everyone who won a First award, and to everyone who won a Worst award…paint your cars better!

To conclude the Paint Schemie Awards, I will finish with a top 10 list I have been wanting to do for quite a while.  These are the

TOP 10 SPONSORS I MISS IN NASCAR

10 Skoal Bandit The shade of green they used was one of the best, and the car has a classic look that always looks good.

9 Kodiak  A simple look, with my all-time favorite shade of green ever used on a race car.  I have a lot of Kodiak race-used items, and they all look good.

8 Miller Genuine Draft  Rusty’s MGD scheme had a much simpler design than the Miller Lite scheme, and it had a much better color scheme.  I really hope they throwback to this scheme at some point.

7 Tide  Are there any orange schemes that could ever live up to Tide?  No, this is the best orange scheme in the history of auto racing.

6 Smokin’ Joe’s  It had a great color scheme, and it had a very 1990’s design, that oddly enough still looks attractive.

5 Western Auto/Parts America   The chrome numbers, the layered fading, the color scheme, it just comes together very well.

4 The Family Channel  The logo is awesome, the colors can’t be any better, the lettering is great, and it just comes together very well.

3 Kodak  If there is or was a better shade of yellow in NASCAR, I haven’t seen it yet!

2 Texaco/Havoline  Great simple design, with an amazing hood logo, and great color scheme.

1 GM Goodwrench  This scheme is, in a word, perfect.  It doesn’t evolve, it doesn’t have to.  It is simply perfect.

There is one last piece of business that I need to address.  I like to keep it light on the Driver Suit Blog, but sometimes I have to address a news story that is heavy, like this story that was released on Thursday.  Dario Franchiti, who has won 3 Indy 500’s, 4 Indycar Championships, and 21 races announced on Thursday, that due to injuries sustained at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on October 6.  During that race, he was involved in a scary wreck, and suffered spinal and knee injuries that doctors have told him are too serious to resume his career.  13 fans, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time were injured in the wreck as well. I’m saddened that a talented driver had his career end like that, and I really wish it didn’t have to.  But what I really hope is that IndyCar learns what lessons need to be learned, and make changes to safety so that the chances of this scenario repeating are lowered.  I know that there will always be the risk of injury or death in auto racing, that adds to the mystique of the race car driver, but every wreck has a story to tell.  These stories should be looked over, and changes made so that another talented in the prime of his career does not have to go through what Dario had to this week.  Fans should also be able to go to a race, and not have to worry about getting hurt during a wreck.  If the investigation in this  incident results in changes that keep fans and drivers from serious injury in the future, than the lessons have been learned. My thoughts and prayers are with Dario and his Family right now.

The Driver Suit Blog-The First Question…Where Do You Buy This Stuff?

By David G. Firestone100_24791 100_31471

I discuss the various aspects of race-worn and race used collectibles on this blog, and in researching something, I had received a suggestion that sounded like a great idea. The idea that was posed was “You may want to mention where people can actually buy these suits as well.” So I think I will.

The most obvious place to purchase race-worn and race-used items is eBay. Now this is not as simple as it might sound. In the Sports Memorabilia, Cards and Fan Shop section, entering the term “Suit”is a good place to start. Entering the term “driver” can be a mixed bag, and the term “firesuit” as well as “driver suit” work well. If that is not to your liking, search “driver suitfiresuit” “driver firesuit” “NASCAR uniform” “racing uniform” or “driver uniform” in the Any Categories setting.

Another, less likely place on eBay is the Safety Equipment section on eBay motors. Reason being that not all race-worn driver suits end up in collections, many of them are recycled and sold to racers who need a quality firesuit but do not have the resources to spend the thousands needed for a customized one. In fact, many auctions that are geared towards collectors also mention the size in case the suit is bought by a racer.

I have a couple of sellers that I buy from on a regular basis. One of my favorites is Just For Fun Collectibles. They have an amazing selection, and some of the best prices for stuff I have ever seen. I have bought a lot from them, and I always enjoy buying from them. The other seller I buy from regularly is Race Image. Both are based in North Carolina, and Race Image buys regularly from race teams, and resells the items both on their site and on eBay. Like Just For Fun, I have bought a lot from them, and I always enjoy buying from them.  Raceusedrescued is another great seller, who has a whole lot of NASCAR stuff.

Using legitimate auction sites can be iffy, not as many people are into race-worn and race-used memorabilia, as are into baseball, or football. But one place that regularly sells race-worn material is Paragon Auctions. They have had a lot of race-worn driver suits for sale in their auctions. Other groups, such as Heritage Auctions and American Memorabilia both have had a lot of suits sell through their auctions.

But with all the places to buy items, doing the research before you buy is critical. That is why I started The Driver Suit Blog, to give collectors the resources and information that they need to do the hobby, and do it right. I’m not someone who just buys these because they look nice, throw them in a closet, and never think about them. I look at them, admire them, and I understand how much work went into designing them. I love this hobby, and I fully support it, and I want to help collectors advance in this hobby in any way I can. That is why I put the time and effort I do into this blog.

Next week, I will announce the 2013 Driver Suit Blog Paint Schemie Awards. The Schemies are a series of awards given out for paint schemes in the Sprint Cup series. For every category, there are two awards given, First and Worst. First awards are given to the best schemes of the year, and worst…well that is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?

Tailgating Time!

I took my chili recipe I previously mentioned, and  changed the recipe slightly.

You will need:
2 pounds beef chorizo sausage
1 onions, chopped
1 (7 ounce) can diced tomatoes-drained
1 (7 ounce) cans smoked chipotle salsa
1 (12 ounce) can kidney beans-drained
1 cup water
Chili powder and garlic powder to taste
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the chorizo and onion and saute until meat is browned and onion is tender. Add the diced tomatoes, smoked chipotle salsa,beans and water.
Season with the chili powder, and garlic powder to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Paint Scheme Reviews

First we start with 2014 schemes…

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Retro Ford Fusion This scheme is perfect. There is nothing that can be done to improve it. A+

Marcos Ambrose #9 Twisted Tea Ford Fusion A good color scheme is in play here. I like the shades of yellow, green and blue used here. The overall design works well with the color scheme, and I will give it an A.

Now on to 2013 schemes…

Jamie McMurray #1 Lexar Chevy SS  Decent color scheme, and if you get rid of the flash drives at the bottom, it would be an A scheme.  This scheme is good, and earns a B+

Dave Blaney #7 Ultra Wheels Chevy SS This is the first time that this car actually looks good…provided you get rid of that door number. B+

Clint Bowyer #15 5-Hour Energy Sour Apple Toyota Camry Another example of why camouflage does NOT work on race cars. What does camouflage have to do with sour apples? This scheme does not work, and it gets an F

Greg Biffle #16 Scotch Ford Fusion  Eww…the green design clashes with the red, and the plaid design is atrocious.  F

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 RFR Driven Chevy SS  Ricky has run a lot of great schemes this year, and this scheme is not an exception.  Great color and simple design earns this scheme an A.

Ryan Newman #39 Quicken Loans-Salute to Veterans Day Chevy SS This scheme is a bit more complex in the grade that I gave it, and requires some explanation.  This scheme features pictures of United States Military Veterans on the side as a tribute to them.  They have earned a place on the car, and have earned the respect as a nation, and an A+++ grade.

Landon Cassill #40 Pirate Oilfield Chevy SS Looks good, great color scheme, simple design, A+

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Target Camouflage Chevy SS Camo just doesn’t work for race cars, an this is no exception. While they did try to keep the red, it just looks awful, and I’ll give it an F

Bobby Labonte #47 Wounded Warrior Project Toyota Camry Camo doesn’t ever look good on a race car, and this is another example. It looks better than this though…

Kyle Larson #51 Visit Dallas Chevy SS I love color scheme, and I love the skyline on the hood. I’m disappointed that the skyline isn’t on the side of the car, it would look good on the door, but it is still a solid A scheme.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Breast Cancer Awareness Chevy SS Pinkwashing is an automatic F grade.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Amp Gold Chevy SS Not a bad color scheme, though the dot design does not look good at all. I’ll be generous and give it a B-

 

The Driver Suit Blog-Open or Closed…Which Helmet Would You Have Chosen?

By David G. Firestone

[Editor’s Note: Originally, this week was a post dedicated to primary sponsor logos. However, I had this column on the shelf for a while, but given recent events in the NFL, which fellow uniform blogger Paul Lukas has covered in depth, I felt that this article concerning helmet safety in NASCAR would be appropriate to run this week, with the primary sponsor logo column running next week. DF]lepagePrior to the tragic events of the 2001 Daytona 500, drivers had to make a choice that in this day in age seems absolutely absurd. From the beginning of NASCAR to that tragic day drivers had their choice of helmets, and they were open-faced,lepage94-2or full-face.lepage99-2To examine the merits and demerits of both helmets let’s take a look at one example of each, both worn by the same driver, Kevin Lepage. First, the open-faced helmetlepage94-1 lepage94-2 lepage94-4 lepage94-3 lepage94-6 lepage94-5Worn in the Nationwide Series in 1994 and 1995 during his rookie and sophomore seasons, this helmet bears a decal from high-end plush toy company Vermont Teddy Bears. It shows very heavy use, with scratches and scuff marks, has had the microphone equipment removed, and Lepage has signed the back of the helmet in black Sharpie.

Now let’s look at the full-face helmet,lepage99-1 lepage99-2 lepage99-3 lepage99-5 lepage99-6 lepage99-7 lepage99-8Worn by Lepage in the 1999 Winston Cup season, this helmet was painted for the combination Primestar/TV Guide #16 Ford. Like the open-faced helmet, it shows scratches and scuff marks, and Lepage has signed the top of the helmet above the visor. Unlike the open-faced helmet, this helmet still has the microphone equipment.

Now on to the comparison…

Looking at the helmets from the inside, there was no real difference between the two. Both are the same basic design, with the same inner liner and filler.lepage7The left sides of the helmets differ greatly. Notice that there is a hose attachment near the Ford logo on the full-faced helmet. This is to accommodate the “hotbox” attachment. Hotboxes are designed to force air into the driver’s face to help keep them cool. This is not a luxury, as driver compartments can reach as high as 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and drivers typically wear 3-4 layers of Nomex during a race. Keep in mind that in-car drinking systems are not standard as of 2000, and the hotbox is a great tool for driver comfort.lepage5Microphone equipment is added to the helmet on the right side. The only difference between these two helmets is that the microphone has been removed on the open-faced helmet.lepage1The back of the helmets are virtually identical except for the paint schemes and the liability tag present.lepage6The front of the helmet is the key to making the decision. Everything else thus far is a minor issue. The question was asked then, and is asked now, why were these helmets legal for as long as they were? These pictures should answer that question:lepage3 lepage4The bottom of the helmet underneath the visor gives an extra bit of safety in case of fire, BUT takes away about 2-3 inches of visibility. That 3 inches might not seem like that much, but in a race car, trying to keep situational awareness of what the car is doing, those 3 inches are as critical as you can imagine. NASCAR at the time had the opinion that if they had the restriction in place, that the obstruction could cause a driver to lose that situational awareness, and lead to a wreck. NASCAR felt that any rule that could cause a wreck is a bad idea, and rightfully so. How often in the wake and investigation of accidents does it reveal that a rule, regulation, or guideline cause an accident? It happens quite often. NASCAR at the time felt that imposing a rule that all helmets should be full-faced that is could very easily lead to an accident, and as such, allowed open-faced helmets to avoid that from happening.

It was a rule that was easy to understand, but would lead to tragedy. It led to this design, which itself is now becoming obsolete:mcdonalds-1 mcdonalds-6 mcdonalds-7 mcdonalds-4 mcdonalds-3 mcdonalds-9 mcdonalds-10 mcdonalds-12Now, even the best full-faced helmet designs from the 1990’s are now a distant memory and the current helmet design has taken over. It might seem like unfair, but if these rules were in place at the 2001 Daytona 500, we would have never lost a true legend.

Paint Scheme Reviews!

Jamie McMurray #1 Linksys Chevy SS Clean lines and a great color scheme make for an A+ scheme!

Matt Kenseth #20 Husky/500th Start Toyota Camry The gray-scale design does not work here at all. The rest of the car looks very good, but the black and dark gray color scheme needs work. If the Husky red is where the gray is, it would work better, but the best grade I can give is a C-

Michael McDowell #51 SEM Chevy SS Classic design with a great color scheme, A+

And we have a 2014 leak…

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SS This is the best Cheerios scheme I have ever seen! The goofy bagel design is gone, and has been replaced with a couple of racing stripes. I also love the black around the #3. If this is the final design, it will be a great car, and I give it an A+!

The Driver Suit Blog-A Great Series Needs a Great Logo!

By David G. Firestone10-labonte-rchest

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has a unique tradition that stretches back to the 1970’s, the Series Logo. Series Logos are now commonplace in most forms of racing, excluding Formula 1, which does not need a series logo. The evolution of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series logo over the years in interesting.

1972-1981imagesThis logo is designed in classic 1970’s design, and can be seen on driver suits, as this Dale Earnhardt Sr. example from 1980 clearly shows.

1982-1988WCSnewThe “1 Car” logo was a major redesign, and features a logo, with NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL SERIES embroidered, and a 1980’s car. Very visible on driver suits from the era.

1989-199220-hillin-rchestA simple Winston logo, which, while underwhelming is very visible on this Bobby Hillin Jr. Suit, andthis photo of Dale Earnhardt Sr. from 1992…and look who is next to him!

1993-199616-musgrave-rshoulderAgain an underwhelming yet attractive series logo. The interesting thing about logos from 1993-2001 is that there are two designs, red with white lettering that displayed better on light driver suits, and white with red lettering that displayed better on dark colored driver suits. Though the rule was rather ambiguous for a while.

1997-19999-speed-chestThis design went through some changes when Winston changed the design of their packaging. Starting in 1998, Winston went from a rounder typeface to a narrower and straighter typeface, as a young Tony Stewart is modeling.

1998:15-musgrave-lsleeve1Every team and driver ran the NASCAR 50th Anniversary logo on their cars and driver suits. Not bad at all.

2000-200190-stricklin-rchestA square design with an oval logo was used from 2000-2001, with the color-flipping returning. At this point, the discussion of who would replace Winston started, as due to legislation, cigarettes would not be allowed to sponsor auto racing within the next few years.

2002-200344-Fittipaldi-lchest 45-fittipaldi-lchest The transitional oval logo. The Busch Grand National series had adopted an oval logo in 1995, and since the series would change sponsorships in 2004, this new logo would be the bridge between the old and the new.

2004-20079-kahne-rchestNew sponsor, new colors, new shape. Nextell Communications took over in 2004 and it became the Nextell Cup Series. This logo would remain constant until Sprint and Nextell merged, which led to:

2008-Present:10-labonte-rchestSame color scheme, same shape, same basic design.

The logo has become a marketing point for NASCAR teams and NASCAR itself. Die casts, driver uniform coats, t-shirts, pit crew shirts, and many other items carry these logos.

Now on to the Nationwide Series

1982-1994busch-beer-mountains Racingbgnlogo

These two logos were used for the Busch Grand National series. The plain Busch logo worked better and was used more often than the Busch Beer Series logo.

1995-2004NbgnsAn oval logo with the sponsor name, and GRAND NATIONAL SERIES added below. It was very marketable and worked quite well as a logo.

2004-2007NbsGrand National Series has been removed, and some minor redesigns to BUSCH and the NASCAR logo as well. 2006 featured the 25th Anniversary logo.

2007-PresentNnsComplete redesign for the NASCAR Nationwide Series which began when Nationwide took over the titular sponsorship of the series. Uneven oval with a Nationwide logo, and a NASCAR logo, with a new overall design and color scheme.

Last but certainly not least the Truck Series

1995:NstsFor the first season, the Truck Series was referred to as the “Super Truck Series by Craftsman.” It featured a decidedly early 1990’s logo. It lasted for only one season.

1996-2002NctsThe Craftsman Truck Series is a better name and the logo, while still bearing a 1990’s style design, is more refined and professional.

2003-2008Ncts2The entire logo is inside the oval, some minor color and typeface changes are present as well. 2005 featured the 10th anniversary logo.12-miller-rshoulder - Copy2009-PresentNcwtsThe same off-center oval design as the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup logos, with a sponsor redesign for Camping World, who took over for Craftsman after 2009.

Paint Scheme Reviews

Jamie McMurray #1 Bad Boy Buggies Chevy SS Not a bad scheme, colors work well, and the ovarall design is simple yet attractive, I give it an A+

Greg Biffle #16 Bondo/3M Ford Fusion The color scheme is good, but the red designs on a red background just look odd. If it was a white design, it would work well, but this just looks odd. Still, it’s odd, but not awful, so I will give it a C

Ricky Stenhouse #17 Nationwide Insurance Ford Fusion Um…This has a great color scheme and a great simple design, but this just does not work. Too much black, and not enough silver and blue. It would work well if the blue and silver were the predominant colors, and black was the where the silver is. I can give this a C

Austin Dillon #33 Advocare Chevy SS It works very well, great color scheme and great desgin…except for the black outline around the numbers. Why? The stripes don’t interfere with it at all. If it was just a small black outline around the edge of the numbers it would work, but the black negative space area is just distracting. Without the black, it would be an A, but this scheme earns a B-

David Ragan #34 Peanut Patch Hot Boiled Peanuts/Race Trac Ford Fusion While the color scheme brings back memories of the Houston Astros Tequila Sunrise jerseys, the overall design is good. I like the mountain-esque design, but the random peanuts scattered over the hood and quarter panels are just awful. I really want to give this a better grade, but a C- is the best I can do for this scheme.

Josh Wise #35 Carson-Newman University Ford Fusion Great color scheme, and great design…except for the eagle. Why is the eagle facing the back of the car? If the eagle was facing the front, I would give this scheme an A, but this just looks bad, and takes the grade down to a C

Landon Cassill #40 Moonshine Attitude Attire Chevy SS Ok, let me make this clear…hunting camouflage is not, has never been, and never will be an acceptable background color for a race car. It didn’t work for Duck Dynasty, and it doesn’t work for this car, and it gets an F

Aric Almirola #43 Rain Eater Wiper Blades/Charter Communications Ford Fusion This color scheme works very well, except for the hood logo, where the green logo is next to invisible on the Petty blue of the hood. But even so, the scheme as a whole works very well, so I’ll give it an A.

Ryan Truex #51 Seawatch Chevy SS Having never heard of Seawatch, I thought it was an activist group at first, but Seawatch is actually a very well established clam company based in Maryland. The overall design is really good, though the wave next to the rear wheel well is a bit out of place. Still it looked very good on the track, and I give it an A.

Justin Allgaier #51 Brandt Chevy SS A timeless design, with a great color scheme and a great design that earns an A

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Race 2 Achieve/National Guard Chevy SS Race 2 Achieve is a program that teaches advanced math through the eyes of Hendrick Motorsports engineers. It shows how the engineers use Algebra II and trigonometry to solve problems on the race car. This is a great old-school scheme, with a great color scheme, and great overall simple design. A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard/Breast Cancer Awareness Chevy SS Oh God! October is coming therefore, the pinkwashing must start. For those who don’t know the term, “Pinkwashing” is the process of using pink ribbons and/or the pink color to sell products, many of which are inherently unhealthy, with a “portion of the proceeds going to support the fight against breast cancer.” Sadly, most of these funds do not go to serious research, but rather to “feel good” causes such as the Susan G. Komen foundation. Because it is used as a marketing gimmick, and I, as well as my mom who is a breast cancer survivor are opposed to pinkwashing, any and every pink paint scheme, regardless of how good it looks, will earn an automatic F- grade.

Michael McDowell #98 Victory Junction Ford Fusion Unlike Komen, Victory Junction is a cause most people can support. Founded by the Petty Family, after the death of Adam Petty, Victory Junction is a camp for children with terminal and chronic illnesses, so while they are there, they can forget about the troubles of life, and have fun. That said, this is a great scheme, with a very simple yet attractive design, and great colors. The only bad thing I can say about this scheme is that I would love the logo on the quarter panels. That one thing can’t take away from an A+ scheme.

The Driver Suit Blog-A Prototype Pit Crew Suit…Say That Three Times Fast Part 1

By David G. Firestone.johansen

Ok, for the next two weeks, I am going to focus on one single suit. This is a “prototype crew suit.” In other words, it is a prototype suit for a pit crew member. In that light, I will do two articles, one focusing on the “prototype” part and the other will focus on the “pit crew” part.

This is a prototype suit. What that means is that this suit was made up to see how various design aspects work. The designers will attach various aspects, stripes, sponsor patches, to a full-size mockup of a suit, usually a single-layer suit, to see how the suit will look like when finished. Since driver and pit crew suits can cost as much as $1500 each to make, this is a simpler and cheaper way to design a suit in full-size. A full size mockup looks very impressive. The designs can be changed as needed.

Prototype suits are made from a single-layer suit. Single-layer suits are cheaper to use, but provide little protection in case of fire, so they are not often used in race condition. Suit design has, in the last 20+ years gone from not an issue to very critical. Because suits are used for promotion for the primary sponsor, the design aspect is very important. Every aspect, from the colors, to the primary and associate sponsor patches, to the decorative design is taken into consideration.johansen

This particular suit was made for PDM racing, for use in the IndyCar Racing League in 2006. It was made for an individual by the name of Tom Johansen. It appears that Johansen is a crew member, and this suit was designed for his use. The logos are sewn on patches, the patches are placed on pieces of fabric, and then attached to the suit. From there, the suit starts to take shape, and the name is attached to the belt, and the logos are attached to the shoulder epaulets. In this example:

The right chest has a HONDA and a PDM RACING logo.johansen-rchestThe left chest has an INDY RACING LEAGUE logo and a ROYAL SPA logo.johansen-lchestThe belt has TOM JOHANSEN directly embroidered into it.johansen-beltThe legs are cuffed.johansen-legsThe sleeves have small logos on the top, and large SIMPSON logos present the bottom.johansen-rsleeve1 johansen-rsleeve2 johansen-lsleeve1 johansen-lsleeve2The shoulder epaulet have FIRESTONE logos present.johansen-rshoulder johansen-lshoulderThe back cowl has a HONDA logo that covers part of the tag.johansen-blogo johansen-rchestThe back Torso has a large ROYAL SPA logo, Royal Spa being the primary sponsor at the time.johansen-blogoThe suit shows no wear to speak of, nor does it have any safety certification.

The question is asked, did this suit see race-use?  While the suit itself shows no wear, it seems likely that it did in some form see race use.  PDM Racing was always a sub-par team, and they were always a low-budget team.  An inside joke was that PDM stood for “Poor Dumb Mechanics.”  So the fact that this suit was made would indicate that it was used by Johansen.  However what part Tom Johansen served on the crew is unknown.   On the other hand, a single-layer suit such as this would not provide much protection for the wearer in the very real threat of a fire.  The suit material feels very light, and the wearer would have been seriously injured if a fire had taken place.  The deciding factor for me is that the suit shows no wear.  I have suits in my collection that have been worn for only a few races, but have a lot of visible wear, and for a pit crew suit, that is pretty telling.

Prototype suits provide little protection in case of fire, unlike pit crew suits which are designed to give the wearer as much protection as possible, which we will examine further next week.

Paint Scheme Time!

Jamie McMurray #1 Advil Chevy SS While I’m not a fan of the grid on the front, the car as a whole has a simple, yet attractive design, as well as a good color scheme. So I’ll overlook the grid and give this an A+

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite/Luke Brian Ford Fusion I gave this basic scheme a C+ at the beginning of the year, and this new design doesn’t add or take away from the scheme, so I will leave it at a C

Alex Kennedy #19 Media Master Toyota Camry Nothing really remarkable here, just a simple white scheme with black numbers and green logos. Very simple, and very plain, C+

David Stremme #30 Genny Light Toyota Camry Too much needless decoration. A good color scheme, but there is way too much going on design wise on the side of the car. It just looks awful, and I give it a D-

David Ragain #34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion I have yet to cover Taco Bell this year, but this scheme has a great color scheme, great side design, and a very pronounced design on the hood, which really makes the car stand out, and gives it a better look. A+

Ryan Newman #39 Haas 30th Anniversary Chevy SS Haas has a great scheme already, and the all-black look really works well here. To give this scheme anything less than an A+ is unfair.

Ryan Newman #39 Quicken Loans/PTA Chevy SS The nicest thing I can say about this is that it looks like a unicorn threw up all over the car. F-

Brian Keselowski #52 Star Coach Race Tours Toyota Camry Are you f***ing kidding me? I have to give them credit, they took the worst scheme in NASCAR this year, and found a way to make it even worse. The color and design are horrific, and bonus points for putting blue lettering in the green camo, thus making it nearly invisible. Giving this scheme an F– does not go far enough! WORST SCHEME THIS YEAR!

Brian Vickers #55 Toyota Cares Toyota Camry Good color scheme, and decent design. It is pretty simple, and it works. A

And speaking of Brian Vickers, we got a look at the design for his 2014 Aarons Dream Machine Toyota Camry. The scheme has a more modern look, both in the overall design and door numbers. It is a great scheme, with a great color scheme. A+