Everyone has seen a race car that, regardless of who was behind the wheel, you were just absolutely smitten with. Something about the colors and the design of the car just drew your eye to it.
So far in the 2011 NASCAR season, there have been plenty of candidates for cars that could have captured our hearts the same way, whether it is a driver's primary paint scheme or a scheme that is only going to be run one time.
I am going to count down the 30 best paint schemes that I have seen in NASCAR so far this year. Whether it is the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series or the Camping World Truck Series, there have been a few nice paint schemes that have really caught my eye.
There are no frills here and nothing overly special about this paint scheme. This is just a case of a standard scheme that doesn't try too hard to stand out.
Hornish is running a limited schedule in the Nationwide this series, and thus far has been decent, but not great.
In five starts, he has just one top-10 finish, but four of his five finishes were inside the top-20. He is scheduled to run five more races this year, so we will have the opportunity to see this scheme a few more times this year.
This is the standard paint scheme for David Reutimann and the Aaron's Dream Machine. Once again, you don't have to be overly flashy to catch my eye. The colors work well together.
The 2011 season has been nothing short of disappointing for Reutimann. Through the first 13 races, he has managed just one top-10 finish and has looked nothing like a driver that has won a race in each of the last two seasons.
Sitting 24th in the points, Reutimann needs to score a couple of wins in a very timely manner if he has any visions of putting this nice looking car into the Chase.
Matt Kenseth has driven with a few different paint schemes on the car this season. Among those, we have seen two different versions of a Crown Royal car. There is the standard purple car, and then there is this one, the Crown Royal Black car.
For the third time in a row, there are very minimal frills with this car. It is just a nice looking car that doesn't have to be overly flashy to catch your eye.
The fact that Kenseth put this car in victory lane only adds to it. Not only is nice to look at; it's also easy to find on the track. It's the one leading the field.
Travis Kvapil drove the No. 38 A&W Ford to a 31st place finish at Dover a few weeks ago. Some people may not like brown on a race car, but I think in this case, it looks real nice.
Kvapil has struggled this season in both the Sprint Cup Series as well as in the Trucks, but at least he has one good thing going for him: He drives at least one nice looking race car.
Ryan Newman will drive the No. 39 Haas Automation for part of the season, along with sponsorship from both the U.S. Army as well as Tornadoes.
This is another paint scheme that looks great without having to be too flashy. All the car really does is use black and silver in a very nice way.
This is one more case where a little goes a long way.
This is the first appearance on the list for a car that would be designated as a special paint scheme. Harvick drove this Realtree car at the All-Star race in Charlotte a few weeks back.
Harvick wasn't much of a factor in the All-Star race. He did manage to finish in ninth place, but he never got up much higher than that to challenge for the win.
Though the car wasn't the strongest in the field, it certainly was one of the nicest.
David Ragan drove this UPS Freight car to a seventh place finish after putting it on the pole. Ragan is in the midst of his best season since 2008. So far through 14 races, he has already scored more top-10 finishes than he did in either of the previous to seasons.
I really like Ragan's UPS scheme this year. It is nicer than in previous years, and this scheme, which is almost like a reverse scheme, is the best we have seen so far.
I really like the Bass Pro Shops schemes. Don't be surprised to see another one a little later in the list. This particular scheme is driven in the Truck Series by Austin Dillon.
This is his standard scheme, but it works really well. I like the camouflage on the bottom of the truck. It compliments the look of the famous No. 3 on the door.
Mark Martin is going to have Farmer's Insurance on the hood for four races this season, including last weekend in Pocono. He drove the car to an 18th place finish on the tricky triangle.
The combination of blue, red and yellow on the side of the car make a nice compliment to each other. This car would probably be a little higher on the list if the hood had a little more color on it. While I enjoy simplicity in the paint schemes, too much white on the car can sometimes hurt the look.
I really like the bright yellow of the cars that Paul Menard drives. This one, with sponsorship from Quaker State, was driven to a fifth place finish at Texas earlier in the year.
Along with the typical bright yellow, this car incorporates a lot of Quaker State's green, and the two colors go very well together.
As is normally the case with any car Menard drives, it's also usually pretty easy to spot on the track.
Steve Arpin made his Truck Series debut at Texas a couple of weeks ago. After qualifying in fourth place, Arpin finished in 23rd place, one lap down.
This truck only uses two colors, black and yellow, but it uses them very well. In the world of the Truck Series, this is one of the finer looking machines that you will see.
Never mind the No. 24 car of Jeff Gordon in the picture. Bobby Labonte has had a variety of primary sponsors on the hood of his No. 47 car this season, but it looks the best when Bush's Baked Beans get the premium position.
Again, there's a nice color combination, and I think this car just looks really cool with all of the other different sponsors being featured on the quarter panels. Everything about this car really clicks.
Labonte has sported this scheme three times in 2011, with a best finish of 13th at Bristol.
Nothing makes an already nice looking car look even better than seeing it in victory lane. That was the case for Tony Stewart in the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona.
Stewart edged out Clint Bowyer in a heart stopping finish while driving the No. 4 Oreo machine. The blue color of the car makes it really pop. Throw in some Ritz Crackers, and this snack sponsored ride looks even better.
With support from NOS and their new Citrus energy drink, Kyle Busch piloted the No. 18 truck to the win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Not bad for a guy who spun out earlier in the race.
Maybe I am just a sucker for bright colors, but I like the neon green of this truck. Again, much like Paul Menard's Sprint Cup car, with such bright colors, it makes it all that much easier to find on the race track.
So far, this has to be the busiest paint scheme on the list. This is the No. 01 car that Mike Wallace drives in the Nationwide Series. He picked up eight races worth of sponsorship from the movie Cowboys and Aliens.
The car features a picture from one of the scenes from the upcoming movie. It has also been announced that fans can submit pictures to be put on this very car coming up at Daytona.
Wallace has finished in 25th and 16th, respectively, in the two races he has run thus far with the movie sponsorship.
I have always been a fan of the paint schemes produced by Tide sponsored vehicles. This Kevin Harvick truck from Martinsville is no exception.
Harvick drove this bright orange truck to a fourth place finish at the series' smallest race track. Tide hasn't been a full time sponsor in NASCAR in a handful of years, but they have remained in the sport, and with beautiful bright orange vehicles like this one, I for one am happy that they are still involved.
This is one of Jeff Gordon's primary paint schemes this year. Along with DuPont for a few races, Gordon has teamed up with AARP's Drive To End Hunger campaign for the 2011 season.
This is another car that isn't flashy and doesn't do anything more than the basics to grab your attention. But it works. Gordon found early success in this car, as he scored a win at Phoenix.
Gordon's DuPont car easily could have made the list, but seeing as how that is such a familiar scheme for him, it seemed like a good time to mix it up a little bit.
Tony The Tiger and Kellogg's will be gracing the hood of Carl Edwards' No. 99 Ford just a couple of times during the 2011 season. The first of those opportunities was this past weekend, where Edwards was forced out of the race early with engine woes.
This is a car that unlike many of my choices, is far from basic. This particular scheme employs a whole variety of colors and a very familiar face in the center of the hood.
While this car uses a lot of color, it doesn't overdo it, which we have seen time and time again. While no longer being a major full time sponsor, Kellogg's continues its long support of NASCAR.
Now we go back to a basic looking car with not a lot of activity on it. This GT Vodka car driven by Aric Almirola once again proves that you don't have to go wild and crazy with color to make a nice looking car.
Thus far in 2011, Almirola has driven in five Nationwide races with GT Vodka on the hood. He has three top-10 finishes in those five starts. Driving full time for JR Motorsports this year, he currently finds himself in fifth in the Nationwide Series championship race.
This marks the second time that Bass Pro Shops has made it onto the list. This time, it is the No. 1 Sprint Cup Series car that is driven by last year's Daytona 500 winner, Jamie McMurray.
I loved this car last year, and I love it again this year. This is a standard paint scheme for McMurray, but the bright orange color of this car just makes it so catching to the eye. Like Austin Dillon's truck, there is a little camouflage on the bottom of the car, which only adds to the overall appearance of the car.
Kyle Busch has driven the No. 18 M&M's Pretzel car twice in the Sprint Cup Series this season. After crashing out of the Talladega race, Busch bounced back by winning at Richmond in this car.
While I also like Busch's standard M&M's scheme, this one is a nice change of pace. The colors all work well together, and while it is a fairly busy paint scheme, it's busy in a fun way.
Clint Bowyer drove this special American Ethanol paint scheme at his home track of Kansas. This is a track that Bowyer desperately wants to win a race, but unfortunately in the first trip there this season, he only managed an 18th place finish.
This is another scheme that doesn't have a lot going on; it just uses the right colors in the right way. Black and silver always work well together, and the addition of the green makes it a little nicer.
Denny Hamlin drove this Raybestos paint scheme at Darlington in the Nationwide Series. He finished in the runner up position in this nice looking machine.
With all of the NASCAR flags on the hood of the car, there is a lot of color put to use in this particular paint scheme. It is always nice to see Hamlin in a different paint scheme than FedEx. While there is nothing wrong with that, it seems like his paint schemes don't change very often.
Tony Stewart got behind the wheel of the Burger King Chevy at Charlotte for the All-Star Race. Stewart gave it a good run but came up just a bit short. He finished fourth in the million dollar race.
In truth, I couldn't decide if I loved or hated this paint scheme when I first saw it. But the more and more I looked at it, I realized that there is something about it that really makes it look good.
I just that goes to prove that there really is a fine line between love and hate.
For the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte, Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne each drove specially painted schemes for Red Bull.
The bases of each of their cars was filled with small pictures that were sent in by fans. Over the course of the weekend, each driver had a primary car, a backup car and there were two show cars. In total, there were six Red Bull cars all with fan photos on them.
It was a great concept to include the fans, and the cars turned out great.
The first time that Carl Edwards drove the Scott's EZ Seed car this year, he drove it straight to victory lane at Las Vegas. In total, Edwards has driven this scheme four times in 2011. Three of those four races have resulted in a top-five finish for the current points leader.
There really isn't anything about this paint scheme not to like. It uses just one color for the base, and it looks cool with the grass growing on the side of the car. I guess that EZ Seed really works.
The Wildlife Conservation Society sponsored the No. 23 car owned by Robert Richardson Sr. for a handful of races in the Nationwide Series. Maybe it looks kind of corny, but I think it looks great with some of the brighter colors.
Scott Riggs drove this car for one race, at Darlington. He finished in 13th place in the race, which is the best finish for a Richardson owned car this season by seven positions.
Quaker State jumped on board to sponsor Mark Martin for four races during the 2011 season. Thus far, he has driven the motor oil sponsored car one time this year. He finished 10th at Martinsville with Quaker State as the primary sponsor.
I like the simplicity of this paint scheme. The green is a nice looking color, and the limited amount of gold make for a nice contrast.
Denny Hamlin drove this Interstate Batteries paint scheme in his first Nationwide Series race of the season. He finished seventh at Las Vegas in this car.
Yet again, this is another paint scheme that isn't complicated and only uses a handful of colors. But the colors all work well together. I like the way the Interstate pops on the hood
So far in 2011, the top paint scheme belongs to Tony Stewart. At Kansas a couple of weeks ago, Stewart got behind the wheel of a car that was sponsored by The Glades, which is a television drama broadcast on A&E Network.
Stewart appeared to be headed to victory lane in this car, as he was one of four drivers who was going to try to stretch his fuel to the end of the race. Stewart had to come down pit road with eight laps to go, as it was found that the team didn't get his tank full on the previous stop.
Stewart ultimately finished eighth in this car. Win or lose, this car is easily the best looking paint scheme we have seen so far in 2011.