A giant Bass Pro Shops logo set against gloss black, hunter orange and a pinch of camo? With noted fisherman and Johnny Morris pal Tony Stewart at the wheel? If NASCAR fans can’t get behind this paint job, well, I don’t see a Cabela’s rig driving through that tunnel.
The No. 88 car typically has some pretty slick special edition paint schemes, but this years Daytona 500 champ has a daily driver that’s equally cool. The format itself is a throwback of an old Richard Childress scheme, complete with gold numbering. Inside the numbers is a bit of texturing, an idea thrown out by one of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s friends as a nod to old dirt car numbering styles.
Hard to find fault with any Wood Brothers livery, particularly Trevor Bayne’s current Motorcraft set up. The gold No. 21 decal on a white and red Ford (or Mercury) is as much NASCAR tradition as a Petty Blue Plymouth with a white 43. This year’s 33rd-place effort in the Daytona 500 was a far cry from their upset win in 2011, but at least they looked good in the effort.
Competing in his final Daytona 500, Terry Labonte had an impressive run going in the C&J Energy Services No. 32 Ford until he was caught up in a wreck with five laps to go. He limped around to a 20th-place finish, which was a disappointing way to see his silver machine with flames go out. No worries though, next stop for the two-time Cup Series Champ: the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Johnson’s 2013 Lowe’s Chevy had a mean scheme; the 2014 version is a clean scheme. There’s nothing like a hot set of racing stripes to accent any paint job, and the guess here is that Chad Knaus, by stripping down the base color, managed to milk more speed out of the six-time champion’s car.
It’s been a few years since a Skittles car has been on track, but in Phoenix, Kyle Busch showed up in a candy red Camry with rainbow stripes down the fenders. Purely coincidental that it features that flair following Arizona’s vetoing of a proposed law that was seen as anti-gay? Hey, perfect timing either way.
4. Jeff Gordon – Sticking a Fork in the Competition
What makes Jeff Gordon’s Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet so cool? Because it’s actually painted, as opposed to a wrapped with giant vinyl decals. The color looks great in the sun, as does the giant pitchfork on the hood. The tail panel, however, does say “DETH,” which at first glance looks like “DEATH.” Drive to feed Grandma, not finish her!
With the return of the No. 3, you’d expect the primary scheme to be predominately black. With Cheerios picking up a slate of races as well this year, General Mills elected to go with something a bit more diSTINGtive, and went with this bumblebee theme. The SS stripes are a nice touch with the Chevrolet SS now actually available for purchase, after racing the prior year with none on the street.
Photo courtesy of Richard Childress Racing
2. Ryan Truex – Burn Your Doors Off
NASCAR used to be dominated by automotive-related sponsorship, but in recent years it has been everyday consumer products that typically adorn the hoods and quarterpanels of race cars. BK Racing driver Ryan Truex showed up in Daytona with Borla Exhaust as the sponsor for the No. 83 Toyota. The muscle muffler company cars have decals of headers exiting the fenders and belching fire. Hey, don’t laugh, the headlights and tail lamps are stickers too.
The Blue Deuce has been one of the most iconic and recognizable cars on the track since 2001. Brad Keselowski and Team Penske went retro for the Daytona 500, running this all-white look similar to the one driven by Rusty Wallace from 1996-2000. Russell even turned a few laps himself in preseason testing to announce the special scheme. Now if they’d just bring out a High Life edition to honor Bobby Allison and the late Dick Trickle …
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