NASCAR: Ranking the 130 Coolest Paint Schemes of the Last 30 Years
First off, I've been a NASCAR fan for practically my entire life—I started watching, "cars go around in circles" before I tuned in to football, basketball baseball and everything else. NASCAR has always been interesting and it is much more than cars just taking left turns. But anyway, that's another debate for a different day.
One of the things that made NASCAR so appealing to me when I was younger was the different paint schemes. There were so many different schemes that were just downright spectacular and of course, there were others that left you thinking, "What is that?"
Some people choose their favorite driver(s) by their favorite paint scheme. And some just pick their No. 1 driver by seeing who has been the most dominant as of late. Or of course, some just pick a driver that the person that introduced them to NASCAR, likes. I did that very same thing when my late grandmother told me her favorite driver was Bill Elliott, and he's been my favorite driver ever since.
Regardless, all of the different paint schemes is what gives NASCAR that fun aspect. It shows a soft side, rather than the rugged side that we're used to seeing on television. It's nice to tune in every week and see a cool paint scheme that has never been used before.
In this slideshow, I will show what I think the best 130 paint schemes of the last thirty years are. Some of these cars were just raced one time, while some were used throughout an entire season.
NOTE: I am including a few Nationwide Series (formerly Busch Series) cars in this list as well, but none from the Truck Series.
What Is the Worst Paint Scheme of All-Time?
While I'm on the subject of the best paint schemes in NASCAR over the last thirty years, I pondered something else: What is the worst paint scheme in NASCAR history?
Ken Schrader's No. 49 1-800-CALL-ATT Dodge
I have never liked this paint scheme at all. It's one of, if not the weirdest, paint scheme of all-time, too.
Schrader was once sponsored by M&M's while driving the No. 36 car—a car that is considered to have had many cool and different paint schemes throughout the years. And then he goes to drive for Tony and Beth Ann Morgenthau.
Back in 2003, Schrader ran for BAM Racing and had multiple paint schemes along the way: Dakota Imaging, 1-800-CALL-ATT, Freightliner, Blair.com, Derailers, SEM/Horiziona and maybe a few more. Needless to say, there weren't any brand-name sponsors. Regardless, none were as stupid as the one that is featured in this slideshow.
For some reason, Carrot Top was considerably popular in the early 2000's and apparently, someone felt that it was necessary to put him on a race car. That lucky driver turned out to be Ken Schrader.
With his red afro stretched out across his hood and on the side panels, Schrader ran this car in many races throughout the 2003 season. Even though he was undoubtedly on the downside of his career, Schrader wasn't as bad as the paint scheme.
With the 1-800-CALL-ATT paint scheme, he opened up the season with a 42nd place finish at the Daytona 500. It got a little better along the way, even though he had just one top-ten finish (10th at Martinsville) in that car.
I respect Ken Schrader as a driver, but that was a horrible paint scheme.
Honorable Mention: No. 77 Dave Blaney, First Tennessee Bank
I deemed it necessary to put this car on the list just because of the sponsor. I currently live in Tennessee and it's rare that something from the state is put on a race car.
Dave Blaney first started driving full time at the top level in 2000 for Bill Davis in the No. 93 Amoco Dodge. He'd last there for another season before moving on to the No. 77 Jasper Engines Ford for Doug Bawel prior to the 2002 season.
Blaney would return to the team for the 2003 season and would claim his first pole in the process at the Subway 400 at Rockingham.
In August, the series would come to Bristol for the second time and Blaney's No. 77 would now be decorated in our nation's colors, instead of the bright yellow scheme he was running all season long. As stated above, First Tennessee Bank would be the sponsor for Blaney in the Sharpie 500.
Blaney would start the night in 15th, but would be involved in a crash on lap 176—Jeff Burton, Ted Musgrave and Ryan Newman were also involved in the wreck on the front stretch.
He would lose many laps after the wreck and would eventually finish in 30th, 64 laps down as Kurt Busch claimed the victory.
Blaney had a lackluster night, but it was still a good sight to see something from Tennessee on a race car.
Honorable Mention: No. 7 Casey Atwood, Sirius (Country Music Edition)
Firstly, this is one of the greatest looking paint schemes I've ever seen. Secondly, some of you may be asking, "If it's so great, why isn't it on the list?" Well, this car shouldn't be on this list because it was never actually ran—not in an exhibition race nor an official NASCAR race.
That's why it deserves an honorable mention.
Needless to say, they were great paint schemes and it is unfortunate that they were never run. It could, however, be a good thing as Atwood had an absolute horrendous sophomore season.
That season, Atwood competed in 35 of the 36 races, accumulating zero wins, zero top fives, zero top tens and zero poles. During 2002, his best finish was an 11th place effort at the Pocono 500. Atwood finished the year 35th in points and was subsequently let go at the end of the season. He has only run two races since, both in 2003.
Atwood only had six finishes of 20th or better during the 2002 season. He finished 30th or worse in 17 of the 35 races.
Honorable Mention: Any Federated Auto Parts Paint Scheme
I've always been a big fan of the Federated Auto Parts paint schemes. I don't know why, but they've always had a soft spot in my heart.
Over the years, we've seen Federated Auto Parts sponsor cars in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the Camping World Truck Series.
As far as I know, these cars have been sponsored by them:
No. 09—Kenny Wallace, 2011 (Nationwide)
No. 23—Boris Said, 2000 Sears Point
No. 07—Ken Schrader, 2002 Texas (Nationwide)
No. 14—Randy LaJoie/Boris Said, 1999 (Multiple Races)
No. 58—Hut Stricklin, 1999 (Loudon, Dover, Martinsville)
No. 28—Kenny Wallace, 2010 (Homestead, Nationwide)
No. 27—Brad Coleman, 2008 (Nashville, Nationwide)
No. 40—Scott Wimmer, 2009 (Nashville & Las Vegas, Nationwide)
Personally, I'm more of a fan of that classic look rather than the scheme Kenny Wallace drove last season in the Nationwide Series.
Regardless, Federated Auto Parts has done a great job in auto racing and with their paint schemes.
Honorable Mention: No. 51 Cole Trickle, Mello Yello
Ah, Days of Thunder. It's one of my favorite movies of all-time.
Days of Thunder was the first movie ever produced about the sport that we know as NASCAR. The movie was produced in 1990 and the plot began with Cole Trickle, played by Tom Cruise.
Trickle, a hotshot rookie, was recruited by car dealership owner Tim Daland (Randy Quaid), which eventually led to Harry Hogge (Robert Duvall) being hired as the crew chief while coming out of retirement.
Early in the movie, Trickle developed a fierce rivalry with Rowdy Burns, a Winston Cup Champion. This rivalry ended up getting the better of Trickle many times as he ended many races in the garage, rather with a blown engine or being involved in a wreck.
With so many cars being destroyed, Hogge forced Trickle to go through training, in hopes that Trickle would understand what is important in the sport. And it worked.
At Darlington, Trickle uses a slingshot maneuver on the final lap to overtake Burns for his first career win—something he wouldn't have been able to do if not for Hogge's training.
However at the Firecracker 400 at Daytona, Trickle and Burns would both be seriously injured in the "Big One." Trickle would be forced to go to the hospital, where he eventually develops a romantic relationship with Dr. Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman). Also at the hospital, Trickle and Burns decide to squash their rivalry and try to become friends.
As Trickle is recovering, Daland hires another hotshot rookie to take his place—Russ Wheeler. Trickle eventually returns to the team and Daland fields two cars. However, Trickle is intimidated by Wheeler and they eventually start a rivalry.
At North Wilkesboro, Wheeler gets dirty and spins Trickle out to win the race. Trickle pits for new tires and then wrecks Wheeler on his victory lap. This led to the dismissal of Trickle, Hogge and the rest of the team.
We find out later in the movie that Burns is forced to undergo brain surgery to fix a broken blood vessel and he asks Trickle to drive his race car at the Daytona 500. Hours before the race, Daland gives a new engine to Hogge and Co. after it is discovered that their car is leaking oil.
Trickle would get spun out by Wheeler during the race, causing a gear shifter to mess up. Trickle's crew would somehow fix it and get him back out on the lead lap.
On the final lap with Wheeler leading and Trickle in second, Wheeler predicts that Trickle would use his signature slingshot maneuver on the outside, but Trickle tricks him with a crossover to overtake the first position. Trickle would eventually beat Wheeler to the finish line to win his first Daytona 500.
And that is the end of the movie.
Personally, I am a big fan of Days of Thunder, as I remember watching it numerous times when I was younger. So with an honorable mention is Cole Trickle's No. 51 Mello Yello car from the movie.
130. No. 43 Reed Sorenson, McDonald's McCafe
For better pictures, click this link.
The Georgia native got his start in Sprint Cup by driving his rookie campaign in the No. 41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi in 2006. He'd remain there for two more seasons before signing with Petty Enterprises prior to the 2009 season.
The No. 43 featured many different sponsors over the course of the year, including Valvoline, Reynolds Wrap, the U.S. Air Force, Super 8 Motels, McDonald's, Siemens and Charter Communications among others.
On behalf of McDonalds, Sorenson ran a special McCafe paint scheme in four races that season, first appearing in the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond.
The car would then appear at the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at Loudon, the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland and at the Sylvania 300 at Loudon again.
In those four races Sorenson struggled for the most part, compiling finishes of 20th, 17th, 24th and 36th respectively.
Sorenson may have had some lackluster runs in that car, but it was definitely a nice looking race car.
129. No. 00 Buckshot Jones, Cheez-It (Nationwide)
Ah, Buckshot Jones. One of the funniest and coolest names in NASCAR history.
I don't know what my fascination with this car is, but it's awesome even though I'm not a big fan of Cheez-Its. But oh well.
Running a part-time schedule in the Busch Series in 1999, Jones ran this car in 19 of the 32 races. During that season, Jones had a paltry campaign, registering just two top tens and leading four laps.
By the way, Larry Pearson seemingly "filled in" for the other 13 races.
The following season, Jones ran the entire season in the No. 00 Cheez-It Pontiac.
However, he didn't do that much better, as he accumulated one pole (Michigan), one top five and three top tens. His best finish of the year was a second-place run at the Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega.
He'd jump to Winston Cup the following season and would be out of a full-time ride at the end of the season. Jones would not run a full-time schedule in the Nationwide Series nor Sprint Cup Series for the rest of his NASCAR career.
At least it was a pretty cool paint scheme.
Buckshot is not his real first name. In actuality, his real first name is Roy. He earned the nickname "Buckshot" from his grandfather after he ran into a table and showed no signs of pain.
128. No. 61 Kevin LePage, AMP Energy Drink
Kevin LePage was one of those drivers that had potential but was never able to become that driver that everyone thought he would become.
The owner of zero Sprint Cup Series wins, LePage was really given his first shot by Jack Roush during the 1998 season with thirteen races to go. He started racing the No. 16 PrimeStar Ford at Michigan, posting a 17th place finish in his first start with his new team.
Following his arrival at Roush Racing at Michigan, LePage would post seven top-20 finishes, including a season best sixth-place finish at Charlotte.
He would race the entire 1999 season for Roush, but didn't live up to the billing after posting stats of one pole, one top five and two top tens. He'd finish a career-best 25th in points that season.
LePage would eventually be dismissed by the team and would bounce around the Sprint Cup Series for a few seasons.
LePage would start the 2006 season for Jeff Stec, driving the No. 61 Ford.
He was sponsored by AMP Energy Drink for two of those races, the Daytona 500 and the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta. LePage would post finishes of 25th and 35th in those two races.
At least the paint scheme was pretty cool.
127. No. 47 Ron Bouchard, Majik Market/Hawaiian Punch
Ron Bouchard, who had a short Winston Cup career, started his career off with a stunning victory at Talladega in 1981, along with one pole, five top fives and twelve top tens. He would also win Rookie of the Year honors that season as well.
The following season, he'd have an even better season even though he wouldn't win a single race—he finished the season eighth in the final points standings.
Still driving for Jack Beebe in 1984, the red and blue Hawaiian Punch scheme first appeared at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. In that race Bouchard would start 27th, but would struggle all day and finish 34th.
He'd race the car two more times before season's end, one at the Talladega 500 and at the Miller High Life 500 at Charlotte. He would fare a tad better in those two races, posting finishes of 16th and 11th, respectively.
Those are the only three instances the car would appear on the pavement, but it was a cool car to look at.
Anyway, after the 1984 season, Bouchard would race another fifty races and he was done after five races in the 1987 season.
He finished his short-lived Winston Cup career with 160 starts, one win, 19 top fives, 60 top tens and three poles. At least his Hawaiian Punch scheme was great.
126. No. 54 Kevin Grubb, Toys R Us (Nationwide)
Kevin Grubb had one of the most heartbreaking stories in NASCAR history.
Once a highly-touted prospect in the Nationwide Series (formerly the Busch Series), Grubb was offered a full-time ride in 1999 by Brewco Motorsports. He spent three seasons with the team, amassing six top fives and eighteen top tens.
Following the season, Grubb latched on with Team Bristol Motorsports, but struggled and was eventually released by the team before season's end.
He then signed with Carroll Motorsports for a part-time ride, but got caught up in many unfortunate accidents and the team folded at the end of the season.
Going into the 2004 season, Grubb was supposed to run a few races with Team Rensi Motorsports, but his life changed forever that March. During that month, he failed an administered drug test and was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR until he was reinstated in June 2006.
Part of his reinstatement was that NASCAR could administer drug tests at any point. Grubb agreed to the terms.
At Richmond on Sept. 11, Grubb was involved in crash on the second lap and refused to take a drug test. NASCAR suspended indefinitely again.
Out of NASCAR and potentially heartbroken, Grubb was found dead in his room at the Alpine Motel on May 6, 2009. No foul play was suspected and it was announced that the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was just 31 at the time of his death.
Rest in peace.
But back to the paint scheme, Grubb ran the No. 54 Toys "R" Us car in 2002 for Rick Goodwin. He was sponsored by Golden Nugget and General Creations Toys for his first two races and Toys "R" Us then came on board prior to the series' race at Bristol.
For the rest of the season, Grubb posted two top-five finishes, along with six top tens. His best finish was a third-place outing at the Charter Pipeline 250 at Gateway.
125. No. 37 John Andretti, K-Mart/Little Caesar's Pizza (Purple)
John Andretti had great potential, but was never able to switch that to wins and championships.
Over his long career which spanned 393 starts, Andretti only reached Victory Lane twice—one was an upset win at the 1997 Pepsi 400 at Daytona and the other was a well-deserved win at the 1999 Goody's Body Pain 500 at Martinsville.
Andretti had a few different paint schemes over his NASCAR career, including the one pictured in this slideshow, which is perhaps my favorite paint scheme of his. There had rarely been any purple cars in NASCAR before Andretti hopped in the No. 37 K-Mart/Little Caesar's Ford for Michael Kranefuss for the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
This car also featured a mainly white scheme, which was primarily used during the 1995 season. The purple one that I have been a long-time fan of, was raced during the 1996 season.
However, during those two years, Andretti didn't have much luck. He was on the pole for the 1995 Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington, but also managed to clinch just three top fives and eight top tens in that two-year span—Andretti's best finish was a fourth-place run at the 1995 Miller Genuine Draft 400 at Michigan.
124. No. 84 Shawna Robinson, Tropicana Orange Juice
Before there was Danica Patrick, there was Shawna Robinson. The latter may not have received all the hype that Danica has gotten since arriving in the IndyCar Series, but she was still a decent driver—when she made the race.
This specific paint scheme was run in 2001 by Robinson. However, she failed in her attempts to qualify for the Brickyard 400 and the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland. So technically, this car was never actually run in an actual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, but oh well. I wanted to put it on here anyway.
Robinson did make one race in 2001—the K-Mart 400 at Michigan. After qualifying in the 32nd position, Robinson was able to manage a 34th place finish in the No. 84 Aaron's Ford.
Even though this car was used in just a qualifying session and probably a practice session, I still really like the paint scheme. It may not be as flashy as most others on this list, but it's still pretty cool—especially with the oranges all over the car. At least, that's what I think. I'll let you be the judge.
123. No. 2 Rusty Wallace, Miller Genuine Draft (Throwback Edition)
In the world there are instances known as "farewell tours." So that leads to the question, "What are farewell tours?"
Well, without any dictionary definition, I consider them to be a period of time when someone or some people say their goodbyes from whatever they're doing. Musicians and bands have them. Football and baseball players have them. Legends have them. And of course, NASCAR drivers have them, too.
Over the last couple of decades or so, we've seen drivers such as Richard Petty, Harry Gant, Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte and others have them. Even Danica Patrick somewhat had one from her IndyCar departure. But in 2005, Rusty Wallace had one of his own.
There was no doubt that Wallace was at the tail end of his career, but he was still competitive in those years. Over the last four years of his legendary career, Wallace notched just one win but he finished seventh, 14th, 16th and eighth in the final standings, respectively.
During his last season, we saw that familiar blue and white Miller Lite scheme transform into the all black Miller Genuine Draft scheme at the USC Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland (Wallace ran that all-black, Miller Genuine Draft scheme from 1991 to 1995).
Anyway, at the fifth-ever race at Chicagoland, Wallace started that Sunday in the 33rd position. He wound up jumping up 21 positions by the end of the race and finishing 12th. Everyone's favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., won the race.
He didn't win the race, but it was still a nice farewell to the future hall of famer.
122. No. 94 Bill Elliott, McDonald's QPC Code Name Game
In 1999, McDonald's came out with a QPC Code Name Game that gave people the opportunity to win $1,000,000. Other prizes included NBA tickets, Chevrolet Tahoe's, Chevy Z-28 Camaro's, Home Entertainment Systems and other prizes.
As we all know, Bill Elliott was sponsored by McDonald's for a number of seasons, with a decent variety of paint schemes.
Even though 1999 was statistically one of Elliott's worst seasons, he had solid qualifying efforts throughout the year.
Elliott ran this car twice throughout the 1999 season, at the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono and at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.
The weekend in Pennsylvania wasn't good from the get go, as Elliott started the day in the 37th position. However, his day would end prematurely as he would be involved in a crash on lap 158 and would come home in 39th.
The following weekend at one of racing's most storied tracks, Elliott got off to a great start with a eighth-place effort. Unfortunately, the car just wasn't driving right and the former champion wound up finishing one lap down in 23rd, as Dale Jarrett took home the checkered flag and eventually the championship.
Regardless, Elliott's two-race paint scheme was a great looking car, thus earning a spot on this list.
121. No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr., VH1's Save the Music
This is one of a few cars on this list that wasn't actually run in an official NASCAR race. Dale Jr.'s VH1's Save the Music Chevrolet was driven at the Sprint Showdown last season, but was not run at the Coca-Cola 600.
If you do not know what the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race are, it's a prelude to NASCAR's first trip to Charlotte every season. The Sprint Showdown usually consists of drivers that did not win during the season before or during the current season. The actual All-Star Race celebrates the drivers who had won the previous year or during the current campaign.
The All-Star Race also features drivers who had won the event at most ten years prior or that have won a Sprint Cup/Winston Cup Championship.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced in the Sprint Showdown because he had not won a race during the 2010 or current season. He did win the All-Star Race in 2000, but that was eleven years prior which means the deadline had passed. So he had to race his way in to the event.
The top two drivers from the Sprint Showdown qualify for the actual All-Star Race. Last year, David Ragan took home the checkered flag with Brad Keselowski finishing in second. Thus, both would move on to the next race and Junior would be forced to watch after finishing the Sprint Showdown in sixth.
Earnhardt's paint scheme would not appear in the Coca-Cola 600 the following weekend. And as we all know, it was a heartbreaking night as he ran out of gas on the last turn of the final lap while leading the race. He had not won since 2008 and the streak would extend even further—Kevin Harvick claimed the checkered flag for his third win of the season.
Even though we only got to see this special paint scheme for 40 laps, it still earned a spot on this list.
120. No. 91 Casey Atwood, Mountain Dew Livewire
For a better picture, go to this link.
Once a promising, up-and-coming driver in the Busch Series, Casey Atwood was given his first chance to drive at the top level full-time in 2001, driving the No. 19 Dodge for Ray Evernham. He faltered and was released by the team at the end of the season.
He would then move on to Jim Smith to drive the No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge and fared even worse in his sophomore season, competing in 35 of the 36 races with zero top-ten finishes. He'd finish 35th in the final points standings.
They would not retain him after season's end and he would become a "free agent."
The following season, his former boss, Ray Evernham, brought him back for two races—the Pocono 500 and the Brickyard 400.
Atwood drove the No. 91 in both races, but was sponsored by Mountain Dew Livewire, their newest flavor, at the Pocono race.
His weekend got off to a mediocre start, as he began the day in the 34th position. He'd slip back in the pack throughout the race and would blow an engine on lap 77. Atwood finished the day in the 40th position.
It was a cool paint scheme, though.
Not really a fun fact, but unfortunately for Atwood, he has not appeared in a Sprint Cup event since the Brickyard 400 in 2003. He would come back to the Nationwide Series, last driving the No. 05 for Wayne Day in 2009—he'd compete in twenty races that season and we have not seen him since.
His Sprint Cup career stat-line now looks like this: 75 starts, one pole (Phoenix, 2001), one top five and four top tens. It's too bad he didn't reach his full potential.
119. No. 64 Mike Wallace, Miller High Life (Nationwide)
Over the 2005 season, Rusty Wallace started fielding cars in the Nationwide Series. The No. 64 Dodge, usually sponsored by Top-Flite Golf or Miller High Life, featured many drivers throughout the 2005 campaign including himself, Bill Elliott, Jamie McMurray, Jeremy Mayfield, his brother Mike and his son Steve.
The Top-Flite Golf Dodge featured an all-black look, but the Miller High Life was like the one pictured driven by Mike Wallace.
There was also an occasional paint scheme that was sponsored by Miller High Life Light—a scheme that looks exactly like the one pictured except instead of red, it was dark blue.
Red or blue, it was still a cool, retro paint scheme.
The No. 64 car saw mild success during the 2005 season, even though they weren't able to notch any poles or wins.
Rusty Wallace's Dodge saw four top tens in the first seven races, but over the next few weeks, there would be finishes of 28th, 36th, 42nd, 40th, 33rd and 38th. McMurray would start the car the following week at Dover and post a third-place finish, the team's highest run of the season.
For the rest of the campaign, the No. 64 registered five top-ten finishes, four of which were by different drivers (McMurray, Elliott, R. Wallace, M. Wallace).
118. No. 21 Neil Bonnett, Citgo
Bonnett was one of the best racers of the 1980's, but his time would come to an end as he passed away on Feb. 11, 1994 (Rest in peace).
He had some pretty cool paint schemes along the way whether it be the No. 12 Budweiser car or the No. 51 Country Time Lemonade car or the car that's pictured in this slide.
Bonnett drove this car during the 1989 season and for the first five races of the 1990 season before he was seriously injured during the TranSouth 500 at Darlington. Shortly thereafter, Bonnett retired from racing to become a commentator for CBS Sports, TNT and TBS Sports.
During the 1989 season for the Wood Brothers, Bonnett posted zero top-five finishes, but eleven top-ten finishes. He would finish the 29-race season ranked 20th in the point standings.
As stated above, Bonnett raced just five races during the 1990 season before suffering a near life-threatening crash.
Needless to say, he didn't get off to a good start as he registered finishes of 11th, 25th, 36th, 18th and 30th, respectively.
The Wood Brothers' 1980's scheme was definitely one of the best, though.
117. No. 4 Tim Steele, HS Die (Nationwide)
This simply wouldn't be a list without Tim Steele. In this slideshow, I've tried to incorporate it with some of the best drivers in auto racing over the last thirty years. In other words, Steele had to be on this list even though he spent the majority of his racing career in the ARCA Series.
Steele would go on to win the ARCA Championship in 1993, winning three races.
Steele, a Michigan native, won the ARCA Championship in 1996 and 1997 as well, winning 23 races along the way. The following season, Steele participated in six races, winning four of them and also accumulating five poles, five top fives and five top tens.
In 1997, Steele attempted seven races in the Busch Series (now Nationwide Series), while registering finishes of fifth, 37th (overheating), 25th (overheating), 21st, 19th, 26th (crash) and sixth.
He seemed like he was going to become a big star in NASCAR before suffering a serious brain injury in Nov. 1997. Doctors told him he could not suffer another trauma, so he spent 1998 going from doctor to doctor to see if he could make a comeback. Along the way, he became addicted to oxycontin, perhaps the most addictive drug of today's era.
He made a comeback in 2000, winning three races in the ARCA series and finishing third in the final points standings. The following season, he won another four races, attempting 17 of the 25 races—he finished the season ninth in points, however.
After that season, though, he managed to only compete in 16 races over the next five seasons. In 2007, Steele was involved in a late model crash at Toledo Speedway and decided to call it a career after that race.
It's a shame because Tim Steele was one of the best overall drivers of the 1990's and it looked like he would become a great NASCAR driver. But that just wasn't the plan apparently.
I would go ahead and say that Steele was the best ARCA driver of all-time even though he wasn't able to race long-term. He finished his ARCA career with 146 starts, 31 poles and 41 wins.
The car pictured in this slide is the No. 4 HS Die Chevrolet he drove for James Finch in the 1997 Busch Series season.
116. No. 17 Darrell Waltrip, Parts America (Tide Colors Throwback)
Darrell Waltrip was an amazing driver, no doubt about it. And as we all know, Waltrip's career was winding down in the late 1990's.
In 1997, Waltrip decided to honor his career by bringing back some of his old paint schemes but keeping his main sponsor, Parts America, in the process.
He drove a chrome version of his No. 17 during the 1997 season, along with throwback paint schemes of his Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Budweiser, Gatorade and Tide rides. There was also his regular paint scheme that he drove in for the majority of the season.
His No. 17 orange, yellow and white Tide Chevrolet was always my favorite of the seven different schemes. It was truly a great looking race car.
"DW" ran the car pictured in the 1997 Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 at Richmond, but struggled throughout the race.
Waltrip had a solid qualifying effort as he started the night in the 18th position, but the race would just get worse for him as it went on. The three-time Winston Cup Champion faded back and wound up coming home in the 32nd position, as Dale Jarrett took home the checkered flag.
Here's a die-cast photo of the seven cars from 1997.
115. No. 43 Bobby Hamilton, STP/25th Anniversary
Even though he didn't have a Hall of Fame-caliber NASCAR career, Bobby Hamilton was still one hell of a driver. Unfortunately, Hamilton perished on Jan. 7, 2007 of brain and neck cancer at the young age of 49.
Anyway, Hamilton started racing full-time in 1991, posting four top-ten finishes and winning Rookie of the Year in the process in the No. 68 Country Time Lemonade car.
He bounced around in the 1994 season to drive the No. 40 Kendall Pontiac for Felix Sabates. The following season, he signed on to drive the No. 43 STP Pontiac for none other than Richard Petty. Hamilton would have a stellar first year with the team, finishing 14th in the final points standings.
Hamilton drove this silver, blue and red No. 43 STP Pontiac for the season-opening Daytona 500. He started that Sunday in 39th, but worked his way up slightly and finished the day in 20th.
This paint scheme was set to honor STP's 25th anniversary in NASCAR and for Richard Petty. STP had previously came on board with Petty prior to the 1971 season.
Hamilton finished the season ninth in the final points standings, the best finish of his career.
Even though he didn't have a great finish, it was still a nice looking car. At that point in time, we had rarely seen any silver or chrome cars, so it was a great idea when Hamilton came out with this car in the Daytona 500. That's why it earns a spot on this list.
His first career victory came at the 1996 Dura Lube 500 at Phoenix, the first time the No. 43 had gone to victory lane since Richard Petty won in 1984.
114. No. 38 Elliott Sadler, M&M's (Black & White Edition)
Sadler ran this specific paint scheme in the Gatorade Twin 125s and at the annual Budweiser Shootout prior to the 2004 Daytona 500.
In case some of you are unaware of what those races are, the Gatorade Twin 125s consist of two separate races in which the qualifying order is determined for the Daytona 500 (only the drivers on the front row are locked in to their starting spots). Drivers can only compete in one of the races, as half the field takes the track for the first event, while the other half competes in the second race.
The finishing order for the first race determines the lineup for the odd positions on the starting grid (third, fifth, seventh, etc.) while the second race determines the lineup for the even positions (fourth, sixth, eighth, etc).
During qualifying, Sadler ran the scheme pictured and ended up in second place. He ran in the Gatorade Duels also, even though his starting position was already locked in. Sadler would go on to win the second Gatorade Duel, beating out Sterling Marlin and Jimmie Johnson.
Since Sadler's position was already locked in, Marlin would start in the fourth position, while Johnson would start the race sixth and so on.
Sadler would also go on to drive the black and white Ford in the Budweiser Shootout, but would finish the invitational event in 12th place.
The three-time Sprint Cup winner started in second for the Daytona 500 and had a fairly decent day, finishing the race in eighth. This scheme would run the following two weeks as well at Rockingham and Las Vegas, respectively. Sadler would finish in 18th and sixth in those two events.
Regardless, the black-and-white scheme was a rare commodity back in 2004, as we rarely saw any cars feature such a paint scheme. The best feature on the car would probably have to be the red No. 38, as the rest of the car is entirely black and white. It's definitely one of the cooler paint schemes of the last decade.
113. No. 23 Jimmy Spencer, Camel Cigarettes
Throughout his career, Spencer was known to be one of the most hot-headed drivers of his era. He had many run-ins over his time in NASCAR, most notably with former Roush Racing and Penske Racing driver, Kurt Busch.
Spencer was also one of those drivers that had copious amounts of potential, but he just couldn't close the deal. He did, however, win two races over his NASCAR career with both coming in 1994 at Daytona and Talladega (the second runnings of each race).
The current analyst on the Speed Channel left the No. 27 McDonald's car after the 1994 season and ran the No. 23 Camel Cigarettes/Smokin' Joe's Ford for Travis Carter from 1995-97.
But Spencer would never find success with Carter, as the driver would only clinch three top fives and seventeen top tens over his three-year stint in the Camel Ford—his best finish was a fourth-place run at the 1996 Miller 400 at Michigan.
Even though Spencer didn't have great success over those three years, it was still a very cool paint scheme.
112. No. 32 Bobby Hamilton Jr., Tide Coldwater
Unfortunately, Bobby Jr. wasn't the same driver his father was, but he did have some stellar paint schemes since his arrival.
After running 31 races over a four-year span, Cal Wells offered him a ride in the No. 32 that Ricky Craven had recently departed from.
Tide returned as the main sponsor on the car yet again, as Hamilton Jr. was hoping to have a decent season.
But that just wasn't the case.
Hamilton Jr. drove this specific car at the season-opening Daytona 500 of the 2005 Nextel Cup season.
The driver started the day in the 22nd position, only to fall back in the pack as the race went on. He ended up finishing the race in 35th, thirty laps down.
That was just the start of a dismal season for him and the Tide crew, as he would not muster a top-ten finish during the entire season. Hamilton Jr.'s best finish was an 11th-place run at the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas three weeks into the season.
Hamilton Jr. would not be retained at the end of the season and hasn't run a single race in the series' top level since.
At least he had a couple of cool paint schemes in his rookie season.
111. No. 0 Jim Inglebright, Jelly Belly
I wish I could find a better picture of this car, but this will have to do.
Ever since I was a young boy, I have always enjoyed the taste of jelly beans, most notably of the Jelly Belly brand.
So when I was watching a 2002 Sprint Cup Series race at Sears Point (now Sonoma) and saw a Jelly Belly car, I was stoked. I didn't care that the driver was Jim Inglebright, who was someone I had never heard of. Billy Ray Cyrus could have been driving the car and I still would have thought it was awesome.
I just loved the way that the Chevrolet had many different kinds of jelly beans around the car. It was also nice to have one of your favorite candies sponsor a NASCAR car, even though it wasn't a driver like Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt and so on.
Although he wasn't in contention during the race, it was still cool to see that No. 0 yellow Jelly Belly car make some laps—Inglebright started 34th that day, but managed a pedestrian 32nd-place finish.
Inglebright started just two races over his career in the Sprint Cup Series, but he made an everlasting impression with that paint scheme. It is still, to this day, one of my favorite paint schemes of all-time.
110. No. 36 Ernie Irvan, Skittles
I'm not a fan of rainbow paint schemes, but this is one of the better ones in NASCAR history.
After a hard crash that almost killed him in 1994 at Michigan, Irvan came back in 1995 to compete in three races. In 1996, Irvan would return to the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford, winning two races and finishing tenth in the final points standings.
The following season, which turned out to be fairly successful, Irvan was let go by Robert Yates Racing and was considered to be a "free agent."
Nelson Bowers, who started his MB2 Motorsports team in 1997, let go of Derrike Cope at the conclusion of the season as well. Irvan would go on to supplant Cope in the No. 36 Skittles Pontiac for the 1998 season.
However, Irvan struggled for the majority of the season, compiling three poles, zero top fives and eleven top tens. He'd finish the season 19th in points, his lowest standing on a full-time basis since the 1989 season.
Irvan would go on to compete in the first 21 events of the 1999 season for MB2 Motorsports. However, exactly five years after his near-fatal crash, Irvan crashed during a practice session for the Busch Series race.
A few weeks later, Irvan announced that he would retire from the sport and he hasn't raced since.
But before he called it a career, he gave us this awesome looking No. 36 Skittles machine. The car didn't have much success in Winston Cup, but it was recognizable among fans. It was truly a great paint scheme; it's just a shame that Irvan wasn't able to drive it more.
109. No. 07 Clint Bowyer, DirecTV
Clint Bowyer, since arriving in the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2006, has had a pretty decent career, accumulating five wins in the process. Starting in 2012, he will drive the No. 15 5-Hour Energy car for Michael Waltrip, who he once proclaimed to be the, "worst driver in NASCAR period!"
I just thought I'd throw that in there.
Anyway, over the years, Bowyer has had some stellar paint schemes, especially the one he drove in the 2007 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond.
Can you guess which one that is? Definitely the one that is pictured.
Bowyer started in 20th that night and eventually came home in ninth place, his fourth top ten of the season.
I have been a really big fan of this paint scheme since I saw it that night. I especially love the way that it has the multiple shades of blue, something you wouldn't expect out of a car that spent a few years as a solid black car sponsored by Jack Daniels whiskey.
I'm just going to go ahead and name this as the best paint scheme Bowyer has ever donned at the Sprint Cup level.
108. Kurt Busch, Miller Lite/World Beer Cup Winner (Gold Edition)
The former Sprint Cup Champion has seemingly bounced around since obtaining the championship, driving the No. 97 for Roush Racing and then participating in the No. 2 and 22 for Roger Penske. After Penske severed ties with Busch, he moved on to James Finch to drive the No. 51 for the 2012 season.
But before that, he was racing the Miller Lite Dodge that really never had different paint schemes.
But at the 2007 Bud Shootout at Daytona, they unveiled a gold car for Busch, sponsoring Miller Lite as a four-time World Beer Cup Gold Award winner (1996, 1998, 2002, 2006).
It was a pretty spectacular paint scheme as no one really expected Penske and Co. to roll out a gold car for the race, especially with blue wheels.
Busch started the Bud Shootout in the back of the pack in 19th, but would quickly make his way up to the top, eventually earning a third-place finish behind David Gilliland and segment-winner Tony Stewart—Busch also led six of the 70 laps in the event as well.
That was definitely an awesome paint scheme, as we rarely see an all-gold car out on the track.
107. No. 98 Elton Sawyer, College Editions (Nationwide)
In case you don't know who Elton Sawyer is, he's the Brad Pitt of the NASCAR world. And by that, I mean he's part of the only relationship in NASCAR history (that I know of) in which the husband-and-wife combination were both NASCAR drivers.
Sawyer is married to Patty Moise, who raced in the Nationwide Series in the 1990's, along with Sawyer. By that comparison, Moise is the Angelina Jolie of the NASCAR world.
But I digress.
Remember in the previous slide when I said that I loved it when other sports would sponsor NASCAR cars? Well, this is another one.
Sawyer, a long-time Nationwide Series driver, was primarily sponsored by Hot Tamales in 2001. But, colleges around the nation also sponsored him in a few races—a list that includes the University of Tennessee Volunteers (Bristol), Auburn Tigers (Talladega), Connecticut Huskies (Loudon), North Carolina Tar Heels (Charlotte), Wisconsin Badgers (Milwaukee), Illinois Fighting Illini (Gateway), Nebraska Cornhuskers (Pikes Peak), Purdue Boilermakers (IRP), Michigan Wolverines (Michigan and Bristol), Kansas State Wildcats (Kansas), North Carolina State Wolfpack (Charlotte) and the Miami Hurricanes (Miami).
I thought those were some of the coolest paint schemes in the Nationwide Series' history. Although the colors were just switched out, they were still awesome. To this day, they still rank among the top of my list of best paint schemes.
And not to mention, Sawyer had decent success while driving those cars as well—placing 17th, sixth, ninth, 19th, sixth, eighth, 30th, fourth, seventh, fifth, 16th, ninth, and second, respectively.
Maybe he should have driven cars like that more often and maybe he'd have more than two career wins on the Nationwide circuit. But oh well, they were still awesome.
106. No. 10 Scott Riggs, Rally's Drive-Thru
Once billed to become one of the best drivers in Sprint Cup, Scott Riggs had a rather dismal career at the highest racing level. After a few good years in the Nationwide Series, Riggs got his first shot driving the No. 10 Valvoline Chevrolet, which would eventually be turned into a car fielded by Evernham Motorsports.
He was never able to capture that elusive win, top-fives wins were especially hard to come by as well—Riggs has managed just four of those since his arrival in 2004.
Anyway, I do love some Rally's/Checker's hamburgers and fries. That's why I'm so fond of this paint scheme even though it was driven by a person of Riggs' ability.
He drove this car multiple times throughout the 2005 season with races at Indianapolis, Bristol and Atlanta. He also had another Checkers/Valvoline scheme that he drove at the second Talladega race—there was also a special Checker's/Florida State University paint scheme that he drove at the season finale at Homestead.
Despite having a pretty cool paint scheme, Riggs managed finishes of 35th, 40th and 33rd in those three races, respectively.
Oh well, it happens. At least he gave us a nice paint scheme to look at while he was running in the back of the pack.
105. No. 20 Tony Stewart, New 32 Oz. Powerade
Tony Stewart's 2006 season was very inconsistent and up and down to say the least.
Stewart won early races at Daytona and Martinsville and looked like a championship contender, but had some bad luck in the next few races.
The 2002 and 2011 champion suffered a shoulder injury in both the Busch and Cup races on Memorial Day Weekend races.
At the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover, Stewart brought out a familiar orange paint scheme, except it was not sponsored by Home Depot, his main sponsor since entering the Winston Cup Series as a rookie in 1999. This time, it was sponsored by the "New 32 Oz. Powerade" and featured black instead of the traditional white we were used to seeing.
The two-time champion started the race with his broken shoulder, but Ricky Rudd practiced and qualified the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Chevrolet. When the first caution was brought out by Tony Raines, Stewart came on to pit road and was replaced by Rudd.
Since Stewart started the race, he would still collect the points that Rudd accumulated. He would climb his way back into the top 20, but would commit a speeding penalty on pit road and would go two laps down, officially putting him out of contention.
At the race's conclusion, Rudd finished in 25th and Stewart collected the 88 points. Matt Kenseth won the race with Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick finishing second and third, respectively.
Stewart would fall back to fifth in the points standings after the race. He would finish the 2006 season 11th in points, the only year he has finished outside of the top 10 at the end of a season.
104. No. 8 Jeff Burton, Raybestos
It's hard to believe that Jeff Burton has been around the Sprint Cup Series for almost 20 years now.
The South Boston, Virginia native got his first big break prior to the 1994 season, when he was offered a full-time ride by the Stavola Brothers to drive the No. 8 Raybestos Ford. He started all but one race that season and managed to accumulate two top fives and three top tens.
The following season, in the car pictured, Burton missed two races and was only able to manage one top-five finish, along with two top tens—his best finish that season was a fifth-place outing at the AC-Delco 400 at Rockingham.
The 1995 season would be his last for the Stavola Brothers, as he would go on to sign with Roush Racing to drive the No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford.
And the rest you say, is history.
The 21-time winner is currently driving the No. 31 car for Richard Childress Racing and has had a rather stellar career since arriving at Roush Racing many years ago.
Burton has not won since 2008 and I for one, would like to see him in Victory Lane one more time.
103. No. 18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries/Small Soldiers Movie
This is just one of a number of Bobby Labonte paint schemes on this list.
Through the 1998 season, Labonte had been a very talented driver but was unable to turn wins into championships, as Jeff Gordon was in the midst of a great run and Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, his brother Terry and other drivers were constantly running up front.
During that year, Dreamworks and Universal Studios came out with the action and science fiction film, Small Soldiers.
To promote the movie's release date in to theaters on July 10, Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 18, along with his main sponsor Interstate Batteries, brought the movie on board for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.
Labonte's weekend got off to a phenomenal start, as he qualified on the inside of the front row, also known as first place. He seemed to run up front the entire night but by the end of the 160 laps, Jeff Gordon had edged him out for the victory and his 11th victory of the season.
In any case, Labonte's paint scheme was a great promotional idea and a great paint scheme, even though the movie was decent.
Thought to be one of the most anticipated films of 1998, Small Soldiers had a budget of $40 million. However, it somewhat floundered in the box office, finishing with $54,682,547.
102. No. 3 Dale Earnhardt, Goodwrench/Tazmanian Devil
I'm just going to go ahead and say it: This is the first of quite a few Dale Earnhardt paint schemes on this list. I was never a big fan of Earnhardt, but I definitely respected him as a racer. It's a shame that we will never see him race again.
Earnhardt had some of the coolest paint schemes I've ever seen—and you will see some of those in the upcoming slides.
For this specific scheme, Senior ran it at the 2000 Daytona 500, the last time he would actually finish the, "Great American Race."
"The Intimidator" would start 21st in the race and finish in the very same spot, as we all saw Dale Jarrett take the checkered flag in first place.
This paint scheme may not have been the most extravagant, but in my opinion, it imitated Earnhardt which makes it a great paint scheme. Like the Looney Tunes' Tazmanian Devil, Earnhardt was crazy and was never afraid. They both moved exponentially fast and were never scared to get in people's faces.
Rest in peace, Dale.
101. No. 29 Kevin Harvick, GM Goodwrench
2001 got off to a bad start when seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt passed away after colliding with the wall on the last lap of the Daytona 500.
The following weekend, Richard Childress hired young hot-shot Kevin Harvick to be Earnhardt's replacement, as the No. 3 would switch to the No. 29 and GM Goodwrench would still stay on the hood.
The series traveled to Rockingham for the second race of the season, giving Harvick his first shot in the Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup).
Harvick's No. 29 featured a special paint scheme in which it was a reversal of Dale Earnhardt's classic all-black GM Goodwrench Chevrolet that we were so used to over the years.
Somber moods crowded Rockingham that weekend, but by the end of the race, most people were standing on their feet as Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Steve Park took home the checkered flag for his second career victory. Harvick would finish the day in 14th while Earnhardt's son finished last after an early crash that involved five cars.
NASCAR traveled to Las Vegas the next weekend and Harvick's No. 29 would now be colored with a red-orange color rather than black, like the one he ran at Rockingham.
Two weeks after his debut at the series' top level, Harvick would win the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 at Atlanta, barely passing the finish line ahead of Jeff Gordon—it is still one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history.
Kevin Harvick won in his third career start in the Sprint Cup Series. That is second-best all-time behind John Rostek (1960, Arizona State Fairgrounds), Jamie McMurray (2002, Charlotte) and most recently Trevor Bayne in last year's Daytona 500.
100. No. 31 Robby Gordon, Cingular Wireless/FDNY/Special Olympics
For a better picture, click this link, courtesy of jayski.com.
Robby Gordon, known more for his attitude and rough driving, rather than his actual driving skills, had his best season ever in 2003 for Richard Childress.
Gordon secured his second-ever win at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in June 2003 after starting the day in second place. And he wasn't done there.
A few weeks later, at the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen, Gordon and his No. 31 was sponsored by the FDNY (Fire Department of New York) and the Special Olympics, an event that is run for kids and adults who have intellectual disabilities.
Needless to say, it was a great idea putting those two on the car, especially since it would be NASCAR's only trip up to New York. The race was run on Aug. 10, 2003, not even two years after the attacks that shocked our nation.
Anyway, on that Sunday, it was clearly obvious that Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle, Scott Pruett and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the best cars. But only one could be the victor.
And that was Gordon, as he swept the road courses in 2003, beating out Pruett, Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.
Additionally, Gordon has not been to victory lane since his win at Watkins Glen.
99. No. 39 Ryan Newman, Cookies for Kids Cancer
Some of you may think this car is ugly, but I think the No. 39 Cookies for Kids Cancer was a great looking paint scheme that was sponsoring a great cause in the process.
Ryan Newman, teammate of the 2011 Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart, had many different paint schemes throughout the 2011 campaign with sponsors such as the U.S. Army, Bass Pro Shops, Wix Filters, Tornados, Haas Automation, Quicken Loans and the Carrier Classic Basketball Game.
But the one pictured was the best of the bunch.
Newman ran this specific paint scheme at the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte, a race that would change the rest of the season.
Newman got off to a solid start as he posted a sixth-place qualifying effort. The former Penske driver would finish the night in 10th, as we saw Matt Kenseth take the checkered flag.
I grew especially fond of this paint scheme over the course of the race's night, mainly because of the chocolate chip cookies that were scattered on the sides of the car. The light green color was also a good off set of the white and brown colors.
The Cookies for Kids Cancer Chevrolet was definitely one of the best paint schemes of 2011 and it celebrated a great cause, which made the car look even better. Thus, it deserves a spot on this list.
98. No. 07 Ted Musgrave, Sirius Satellite Radio
Ted Musgrave was one of those drivers that was never really competitive at the series' top level, but he was a force on the other circuits.
It's more evident by Musgrave's zero career wins in Sprint Cup compared to his 17 victories, 12 poles, 80 top fives,119 top tens and of course, the 2005 championship in the Truck Series. Musgrave also was a runner-up in 2001 and finished third in the points standings from 2002-04.
It's just unfortunate he couldn't do better in Sprint Cup. The Illinois native got his first shot while driving the No. 55 for D.K. Ulrich in 1991 and then Ray DeWitt from 1992-93.
Musgrave would then get his first shot in a competitive car when he signed on with Roush Racing to drive the No. 16 prior to the 1994 season. He'd last in the No. 16 until the 1998 season, accumulating zero wins, 17 top-fives, 41 top-tens and five poles. He latched on with Butch Mock's No. 75 Remington Arms Ford for the 1999 season, but struggled the entire season and was let go at the conclusion of the year.
Out of a full-time ride for a few seasons, owner Jim Smith brought Musgrave on to drive four races in 2002, all in the No. 07 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge. These races included the Brickyard 400, the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington, the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville and the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead.
The cars were not very combative, as Musgrave would be able to muster finishes of 21st, 27th, 29th and 16th, respectively.
However, the chrome No. 07 was an extravagant and voluminous paint scheme that seemed to sparkle on the race track. It was an awesome looking scheme that I wish was driven more often, but what can you do? It was still a great piece of work.
Musgrave's best season was in 1995, as he posted seven top-five finishes, along with 13 top-tens. At one point, he was third in the points standings but faded down the stretch and finished the year seventh. He finished ahead of future champions Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte, along with past champion Bill Elliott, Ricky Rudd, Michael Waltrip and others. Jeff Gordon claimed the championship.
During the 1998 season, Musgrave was relieved of his duties from the No. 16 Primestar Ford after Watkins Glen, being replaced by Kevin LePage. Musgrave finished out the season driving for teams such as Bud Moore (two races), Travis Carter (one race), Buz McCall (one race), Doug Bawel (one race) and Bill Elliott (six races).
97. No. 30 Jeff Green, America Online/Scooby Doo Movie
There was a lot of hype going around in the early 2000's that Jeff Green, brother of Mark and David, would become a solid force in NASCAR's top tier after dominating the Nationwide Series in his No. 10 NesQuik car.
But that wasn't the case, as Green floundered and only lasted in Sprint Cup for a few seasons.
Green was given his first shot at Sprint Cup prior to the 2002 season by Richard Childress, a man who is notoriously known for spotting good talent. But it didn't happen in this case.
The former Nationwide Series champion floundered during his rookie season, while accumulating four top fives and six top tens in 36 races.
However, he did have some cool paint schemes along the way.
This scheme was never run in an actual race, as it was run in the 2002 Winston Open (now called the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race). In order to be in the All-Star Race, Green had to win the Winston Open and it got off to a good start, as he was on the pole for the event.
But he would come in seventh place, thus not advancing to the All-Star Race, which was eventually won by Ryan Newman.
Even though he didn't make it, Green still gave us one of the coolest pain schemes of the 2002 season.
96. No. 24 Jeff Gordon, "My Papa's Car"/Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation
I'm going to go ahead and tell you right now that I do not like Jeff Gordon, nor have I ever been a fan of his. He's a great driver and I respect him for that, but there is something about him that I have never liked.
I will now get off my soapbox.
Anyway, Gordon has had some awesome paint schemes over the years—this being one of them.
This car was designed by his daughter, Ella Sofia and painter Sam Bass for the 2010 Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta.
For the event, Gordon qualified in the 18th position, while finishing the race in 13th. Tony Stewart won the race, with Carl Edwards and Gordon's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, coming in third.
2010 was arguably one of the worst seasons of Gordon's hall-of-fame career, as he registered zero wins for just the second time since 1993. He also posted 11 top fives and 17 top tens, eventually finishing the year ninth in points.
Even though it was an off year for Gordon, he still gave us a great paint scheme that was clearly devoted to his young daughter.
95. No. 99 Carl Edwards, Aflac/Up: The Movie
2009 was a tough season for "Concrete Carl" and his No. 99 crew. The 2011 runner-up would not win a single race during the season, nor qualify on the pole for any event. He'd finish the season 11th in points, his second-worst season since coming to Roush Racing full-time in 2005.
Anyway, I'm sure most of you know what the movie Up is. Some of you will definitely know it if you have kids because it's one of the best animated movies of recent memory.
Edwards, along with his primary sponsor Aflac, teamed up with the new Pixar movie for the 2009 Southern 500 at Darlington in May.
Edwards' weekend got off to a great start, as he would start the race in ninth.
However, he would struggle throughout the race and would eventually be caught up in a wreck on lap 285. He'd be forced to go behind the pit wall, but would come back out in hopes of salvaging some points.
He would finish the race in 32nd, 53 laps down. Former Roush Racing driver Mark Martin would claim his second victory of the season, with eventual champion Jimmie Johnson finishing in second and 2011 Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart in third.
Edwards did not have a stellar day at all that Sunday, but he gave us a great looking paint scheme.
The movie, Up, had a budget of $175 million—it would go on to earn $731,342,744 in the box office, making it Pixar's third-most successful film behind Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo.
94. No. 12 Jeremy Mayfield, Mobil 1/Kentucky Derby
I'm not going to delve into Jeremy Mayfield's personal issues, I'm just going to strictly talk about the paint scheme.
Mayfield, along with his main sponsor Mobil 1 and owner Michael Kranefuss, decided to bring in the Kentucky Derby as an associate sponsor for the 1999 California 500 by NAPA at Fontana.
I bet some of you are asking why the Kentucky Derby would be on a race car?
Well, in 1999, it was the Derby's 125th anniversary. Yes, 125 years. Absolutely amazing.
Mayfield arguably had one of his best all-around weekends of the 1999 season, as the Kentucky native started the day in 14th. He would move up as the day progressed and would finish seventh, his fourth top ten of the season at that point.
Maybe he should have had the Derby sponsor his car more often.
And in case you are wondering, Jeff Gordon won the race, while Charismatic won the Derby.
93. No. 28 Kenny Irwin Jr., Havoline/The Joker
Rest in peace, Kenny Irwin. You passed way too early. I wish we would have seen you have a full, lengthy career at the series' highest level.
Irwin participated in four races in 1997 for David Blair in the No. 27. The following season, Irwin signed on with Robert Yates Racing to drive the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford for the duration of his rookie season (by the way, Irwin did win the series' Rookie of the Year that season).
In a promotion between DC Comics and Ford, Dale Jarrett's No. 88 would feature Batman (not pictured), along with his main sponsor Quality Care and Irwin's car would transform from that traditional black-and-red scheme to a yellow, green and purple scheme sponsored by The Joker along with his main sponsor, Texaco Havoline.
These two cars would run at the 1998 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte later in the year.
Irwin would notch his sixth of nine top-ten qualifying runs of the season with a 10th-place effort to start the race—additionally, Irwin would claim his first-ever pole at the season finale at Atlanta later in the season.
Anyway, Irwin would slip back a little bit during the race, eventually finishing the race eight laps down in 20th. Jarrett, in his Batman scheme, would start the night in 17th, only to come home 24th.
Regardless of his lackluster effort, the now-perished Irwin gave us a pretty cool paint scheme to look at.
Even though it's not really a "fact" and more like a myth, the No. 28 has thought to be the unlucky No. 13 of NASCAR. Davey Allison, once a stud in Winston Cup, claimed the Daytona 500 in 1992 and was poised to become one of the greatest drivers of all-time.
He narrowly missed out on a championship that season, but was thought to claim a few over his career. Unfortunately, he would pass away after a helicopter crash on July 12, 1993.
In 1994, Allison's replacement Ernie Irvan, was in the midst of a title run, but suffered critical brain and lung injuries after a crash at Michigan—after the crash, many feared that he had perished, but was air-lifted to the hospital and survived even though he was given a 10 percent chance of living.
Irwin, who drove the No. 28 in 1998 and 1999, passed away after a wreck at New Hampshire on July 7, 2000.
Like I said, it's more of a myth than anything, but it makes you wonder, I suppose.
92. No. 26 Johnny Benson, Trix Rabbit/Kid's Autographs
Once an up-and-coming driver in the Winston Cup Series, the 1994 Busch Series Champion signed on with Jack Roush prior to the 1998 season after two lackluster campaigns.
The No. 26 Ford, primarily sponsored by Cheerios, saw a couple of different paint schemes over the season, but the one pictured was great.
Sponsored by the cereals Trix, Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs, Benson ran this car at the Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Bristol in 1998. It has been known to be titled "The Kids Car" since it was run that weekend.
Benson started the race in the 23rd position, but would be involved in a crash on lap 277. He was forced to go behind the pit wall in order for it to be repaired after the accident.
He'd come back as the race went on, but it wasn't the same car. Benson would finish the race 33rd, as his teammate Mark Martin won the race with his other teammate, Jeff Burton, finishing right behind him.
Even though he didn't put together a solid weekend, it was still a nice looking paint scheme.
The track handed out cards prior to the race with Benson's paint scheme, in all angles, on it. The card was also autographed by Benson, but it is unknown as to how many were autographed and how many were given out.
91. No. 5 Terry Labonte, Kellogg's Corn Flakes/Ironman
Terry Labonte was a great driver, winning two championships and owning a couple of NASCAR records along the way.
I'm sure most of you know who Cal Ripken, Jr. is. In case some of you don't, Ripken was considered to be baseball's "Ironman" after playing in 2,632 consecutive games for the Baltimore Orioles.
NASCAR had their own edition of the "Ironman" as Labonte drove his silver No. 5 at the final spring race at North Wilkesboro in 1996.
Labonte was making his 513th consecutive start at the First Union 400, successfully spanning over 17 seasons.
And it couldn't have gotten any better for him either.
Labonte had a great weekend in which we saw him qualify first among the 37 cars. His car would just get better as the laps winded down and he'd end up taking home the checkered flag after leading a race-high 167 laps.
It was definitely a great moment in NASCAR history and a great paint scheme to show for it as well.
Labonte would continue his streak until the 2000 season. But at the 2002 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, Ricky Rudd would break Labonte's record of 656 consecutive starts. Rudd would go on to better the record and finish with 788 straight starts until his retirement.
90. No. 40 Sterling Marlin, Coors Light/John Wayne Cancer Institute
Sterling Marlin has had many ups and downs throughout his NASCAR career, but he had some great looking paint schemes when he was driving the No. 40 Coors Light Chevrolet.
The 1994 and 1995 Daytona 500 winner left Larry McClure at the end of the 1997 season to run for Felix Sabates in the No. 40 for the 1998 season and beyond.
In the 1999 season, we saw Marlin and his primary sponsor, Coors Light, join hands with the country music band Brooks & Dunn to run a few races. The beer company also teamed up with the John Wayne Cancer Institute for the Primestar 500 at Texas, the state where most of his films were shot.
Marlin's weekend got off to a rocky start as he started towards the back of the pack in 39th, only to make his way through the field and finish in ninth.
Terry Labonte, a Texas native, won the race with Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Jeremy Mayfield rounding out the top five.
Anyway, this car featured an amazing paint scheme, benefiting the John Wayne Cancer Institute in the process. Wayne, one of the biggest movie stars in our nation's history, died of cancer almost twenty years prior on June 11, 1979.
Regardless, I was very fond of the paint scheme and wish they would have run a couple of more races with it. At least it helped a good cause.
89. No. 43 Bobby Labonte, General Mills Characters
The No. 43 has had the fortune of having many different sponsors over the last five or so years. This is just one of many that have been spectacular.
Bobby Labonte ran this specific scheme at the 2007 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire. Over that season, Labonte's sponsors featured that of the one pictured, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Goody's Headache Powder, Spiderman 3, Cheerios, Totino's Pizza Rolls, Chocolate Chex and others.
This was undoubtedly the best one of the bunch.
I've probably liked this paint scheme so much since it was ran because it features different cereals that I used to eat all the time. On this paint scheme, it featured Lucky the Leprechaun (Lucky Charms), the Trix Rabbit (Trix), Sonny the Cuckoo Bird (Cocoa Puffs) and Buzz Bee (Honey Nut Cheerios).
What more could you ask for?
Anyway, this paint scheme was simply awesome. I've always liked it because of all the different colors on the car, along with the four different characters that grace the covers of cereal boxes. I wish there were more paint schemes like it.
Back to Labonte, the 2000 Winston Cup Champion started that Sunday in 26th and finished the 300 circuits one lap down in 22nd. Even though he finished in the middle of the field, he gave us a great paint scheme to look at.
88. No. 88 Dale Jarrett, Quality Care
This is perhaps one of my top-five all-year paint schemes. By that I mean, this is one of my favorite cars that was run the entire season, not just one or two races. It's truly a classic.
Not to mention, this car was run in the midst of Jarrett's "glory years".
This car first appeared at the 1996 Daytona 500 with Robert Yates Racing. And it got off to a good start, as Jarrett won the Great American Race in his first start in the No. 88 Quality Care Ford—Jarrett also won the race in 1993 for Joe Gibbs.
Over the five-year span in which this red, blue and white paint scheme appeared on the track, Jarrett won a total of 20 races. He also collected 95 top fives, 119 top tens and nine poles along the way as well.
Jarrett also had a remarkable stretch in the point standings as he finished third, second, third, first and fourth in the final tally from 1996-2000. That's perhaps one of the greatest spans in NASCAR history, especially with his title claim in the 1999 season.
As you know, Jarrett stopped running this car at the conclusion of the 2000 season to switch to the brown UPS car that we all know. But regardless, Jarrett went out with a bang that season, as he collected his third Daytona 500 trophy in the process.
He'd also win the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at Rockingham later in the season.
As I said before, this is just one great paint scheme that deserves to be recognized. It's truly an awesome paint scheme that was involved in one of the greatest stretches in recent memory.
87. No. 44 Kyle Petty, Hot Wheels/Blues Brothers 2000 Movie
This paint scheme has always confused me because the car was officially run in 1998, but the movie sponsor is that off the Blues Brothers 2000. I just never really understood that, but anyway, on to the actual subject.
Kyle Petty, once a premier racer in NASCAR's top level, was putting out mediocre after mediocre effort in the late 1990's and early- to mid-2000's. So needless to say, no one really paid attention to Petty's driving during those years. But people liked his paint schemes.
Starting the 1998 season at the Daytona 500, Petty opened up the year with the special paint scheme featured in this slide.
Petty started the day all the way back in the 39th position, but slowly and methodically worked his way up through the pack as the laps went on.
He'd end up finishing the race in 11th, as Dale Earnhardt took home his first Daytona 500 checkered flag. Petty's near top ten would eventually become his third-best finish of the entire season, as he finished eighth at Loudon and sixth at Watkins Glen.
From 1998 to his retirement at the conclusion of the 2008 season, Petty logged in a total of 328 starts, but he would only able to accumulate zero poles, zero wins, one top five and 18 top tens during that span.
86. No. 21 Trevor Bayne, Motorcraft/Glen Wood Tribute
As we all know in the NASCAR world, the young Trevor Bayne completed one of the biggest upsets in NASCAR history as he won the 2011 Daytona 500 in just his second career start for the Wood Brothers.
Committed to a full-time Nationwide schedule, Bayne ran just 17 races in Sprint Cup during the 2011 season.
The driver ran all of his races for the Wood Brothers in the No. 21, mainly sponsored by Motorcraft and Quick Lane Tire throughout the season.
But at the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte, Motorcraft honored Glen Wood, who would be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 20, 2012. Wood helped put his Wood Brothers team together in 1953 and he won four races throughout his career. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.
A picture of Wood was plastered on the hood of Bayne's No. 21, honoring his last win as a driver, along with the traditional red and white colors we're so used to seeing on a Wood Brothers Ford.
Bayne would start the race in 10th, his third-best qualifying effort of the season. However, his car would be a hassle all race long and Bayne would finish the race in 31st, five laps down.
In any case, it was still a great tribute to one of the men that helped turned NASCAR into what it is today.
Glen Wood's first career win came at a 1960 race at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Three years later, Wood claimed the checkered flag yet again at Bowman Gray Stadium for his fourth and final victory.
85. No. 9 Kasey Kahne, Mountain Dew
For a better picture, click on this link.
We first saw Kasey Kahne during the 2004 season, his rookie year in NASCAR with Ray Evernham, driving the No. 9 Dodge.
Kahne was terrific during his rookie campaign, as the Washington native collected three poles in the first 14 events.
The 15th race of the season, at the DHL 400 at Michigan, Kahne switched things up and ran his first different paint scheme in NASCAR. His car would go from all red to the traditional Mountain Dew color.
However, Kahne's weekend got off to a rocky start as the driver had his second-worst qualifying effort of the season, a 34th-place outing, He would slowly climb through the pack during the race and finished the 400-mile journey in second place, something he had done three times prior in the season.
He may have come in second, but he surely had the best paint scheme on the track that day.
84. No. 99 Carl Edwards, Aflac Dental
Like a number of paint schemes on this list, the one pictured was a one-race deal.
This time, it has been brought to you by Aflac Dental on Carl Edwards' No. 99.
Ran at the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol, Edwards' car transformed into the light blue scheme with the Aflac duck on the side, perhaps one of the most well-known commercial entities.
Edwards, perhaps the most consistent driver last season, was one-half of one of the most exciting NASCAR championship runs in 2011. Edwards and Tony Stewart tied at Homestead, but Stewart won the championship by virtue of his five wins to Edwards' one win.
But before all that took place, Edwards and his light blue No. 99 took to one of the smallest tracks in NASCAR.
Edwards started the night on the outside of the front row with Ryan Newman on the inside. At the end of the 500 laps, Edwards took the checkered flag in the ninth position, as Brad Keselowski continued his magnificent run into the Chase with the victory at Bristol.
The Aflac Dental scheme was one of the best of 2011 and honestly, my favorite part would have to be the very front of the car. It was a sleek looking paint scheme with the teeth on the front as the best part.
It was a great looking paint scheme.
83. No. 10 Scott Riggs, Nestea (Nationwide)
Once thought to be a contender at the Sprint Cup level, Scott Riggs has seemingly fallen off the face of the earth.
Riggs got his first shot at stardom prior to the 2002 season when he was hired to drive the No. 10 Nestle/NesQuik Ford for Greg Pollex, one of the most successful Nationwide owners of recent memory.
Over the course of the 2002 campaign, Riggs mostly featured the NesQuik paint scheme for the season.
This car was run twice during the season—at the Tropicana Twister 300 at Chicagoland and at the Kroger 200 at the Indianapolis Raceway Park.
However, those two races really did not bring Riggs fortune, as he posted finishes of 30th (started second) and 11th (started fifth), respectively.
Riggs would go on to finish the season 10th in the standings, as Greg Biffle took home the championship. The following season, Riggs would claim two more victories and finish sixth in the final standings before his jump to the Sprint Cup level.
Greg Pollex, the owner of Riggs' cars, won the Nationwide championship with Jeff Green, Riggs' predecessor, in 2000. Green finished second in the 2001 standings as well.
As an owner, Pollex's drivers finished in the top 10 in the final standings 11 times—Chad Little (third in 1994, second in 1995, fifth in 1996), Jeff Green (second in 1999, first in 2000, second in 2001), Scott Riggs (10th in 2002, sixth in 2003), Jason Keller (fifth in 2003, sixth in 2004) and Kenny Wallace (seventh in 2005).
Also, his drivers Wallace and John Andretti finished the 2006 Nationwide season in 11th and 12th, respectively.
82. No. 29 Kevin Harvick, Hershey's Milk Chocolate
When you think of Kevin Harvick, a few things come to mind such as one of the best Nationwide drivers of all-time, one of the best drivers in Sprint Cup, a hot-headed and entertaining driver and most notably, the driver that replaced Dale Earnhardt after his death.
After Senior passed away, Harvick took the same sponsor and started using the No. 29 paint scheme for Richard Childress.
At one point in time, Reese's was a primary sponsor for his Nationwide car and the company would also be an associate sponsor for him at the Sprint Cup level.
When you have Reese's, you got to have Hershey's, too. And that's what Harvick did.
During the 2006 season, Reese's sponsored Harvick for ten races. However, Hershey's sponsored the car for just one race—the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.
Harvick would post a qualifying effort of 32nd that weekend and would eventually come home in ninth—Tony Stewart won the race, followed by Kyle and Kurt Busch and Boris Said, by far the biggest surprise of the race (Said was also on the pole).
Anyway, Harvick's Hershey's scheme was a great looking car, especially because of the mixture of silver and brown. I wish he had run that car more often.
81. No. 44 Terry Labonte, GMAC/Piedmont Throwback
Back in the 1980's, Terry Labonte drove a blue and white No. 44 car sponsored by Piedmont Airlines.
He famously won his first championship in 1984 in that car as well.
In 2006, Hendrick Motorsports brought back Labonte for a few races in what was considered to be his minor farewell tour.
In three of those races (Fontana, Kansas and Charlotte), Labonte drove that familiar No. 44 car for Rick Hendrick—the only difference was that he was sponsored by GMAC instead of Piedmont Airlines. And in those three races, Labonte posted finishes of 40th, 38th and 21st.
Even though he didn't have the finishes he was expecting, it was still a cool sight to see that blue and white No. 44.
80. No. 32 Dale Jarrett, Nestle Crunch Bar (Nationwide)
Before he was a star on the Sprint Cup circuit, Dale Jarrett was dicing it up in the Busch Series.
Even though he was racing full-time in the Winston Cup Series, Jarrett ran a limited schedule in the Busch Series from the late 1980's to the mid-1990's.
His No. 32 Nestle Crunch Grand Prix was first introduced at the 1989 Jay Johnson 200 at Bristol for owner Horace Isenhower, finishing in fourth. He'd compete three more times in that car for the rest of the season.
The following season, Jarrett participated in 18 of 31 races, driving the same car. He won two races that season and also accumulated nine top fives and fourteen top tens.
He'd come back yet again the next season, competing in 17 of the 31 races. Jarrett would go on to win races at Rockingham, Darlington and Bristol and would register eight top fives and nine top tens along the way.
The car was done after the 1991 season, but it will go down as one of the coolest paint schemes over the last couple of decades.
79. No. 44 Dale Jarrett, UPS/Final Race
I believe this is a pretty good stat line: 668 starts, 16 poles, 32 wins, 163 top fives, 260 top tens, 7,054 laps led, career earnings of $59,866,794 and of course, one championship.
Those stats belong to none other than Dale Jarrett.
Jarrett, one of the best drivers of the 1990's, had a spectacular career that spanned 24 years. He also had one of the finest seasons in NASCAR history in 1999, as he registered four wins, 24 top fives, 29 top tens as he went on to win the championship—Jarrett also managed just one DNF the entire season, which came at the season-opening Daytona 500.
His career was celebrated in 2008, when Jarrett raced the first five races of the season, posting finishes of 16th, 33rd, 39th, 26th and 37th, respectively.
Jarrett drove this car at the All-Star race in 2008, the final race of his lengthy, astounding career.
I always thought it was a great paint scheme that celebrated a great driver's career.
78. No. 6 Bill Elliott, Hellman's/A Charlie Brown Christmas (Nationwide)
I couldn't find a real photo of this car, so the die-cast version will have to do.
A one-time scheme, Bill Elliott drove this No. 6 Dodge at the 2005 Sam's Town 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
Elliott's scheme, a car fielded by Ray Evernham, was celebrating the 40th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, along with their main sponsor, Hellman's Mayonnaise.
I've always been a big fan of this scheme because I used to watch Charlie Brown all the time when I was younger and it was nice to see Charlie Brown on the hood and side of a race car.
Elliott had a decent weekend in the City of Blues, as he started that Saturday in the sixth position—he would finish the day 10 positions lower, in 16th—Clint Bowyer won the race.
It was the last of Elliott's six races that season, as he ran for Evernham at Michigan, Charlotte and Memphis. The Georgia native ran for long-time rival Rusty Wallace at Nashville, Milwaukee and Pikes Peak.
Additionally, he posted finishes of 23rd, 17th, sixth, 24th, 17th and 16th in those six races.
77. No. 18 Kyle Busch, Mint Crisp M&M's/Indiana Jones
This is the second Kyle Busch paint scheme on this list, in which he took home the checkered flag in that special scheme.
There is no doubt that the Indiana Jones movies are some of the best over the last thirty years, but it surprised many people when it was announced that they would be coming out with the series' fourth movie over 20 years after the latest one.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade came out in 1989, one year before I was born, with the latest film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull coming out in May 2008.
The film, in collaboration with M&M's and Joe Gibbs Racing, decided to sponsor Kyle Busch's No. 18 for the 2008 Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington.
Busch, who was perhaps the most dominant driver of 2008, accumulated a series-high eight wins, 17 top fives, 21 top tens and two poles over the course of the season. However, he struggled in The Chase and finished 10th in the final points standings.
Anyway, Busch, the owner of 23 Sprint Cup Series wins overall, started the night in the sixth position. Over the course of the night, Busch's car got better and better, as he led 169 of the 367 total laps and claimed the victory.
It looks like the Indiana Jones movies should have sponsored Busch more often. It was also an unbelievable paint scheme and by far one of the best of the 2008 season.
The newest Indiana Jones film's budget was $185 million. It would go on to gross box office earnings of $786,636,033. I'd say they did pretty good.
76. No. 20 Denny Hamlin, Super Mario Bros. (Nationwide)
When you have GameStop as your sponsor, you're bound to have some pretty spectacular paint schemes.
The No. 20 Toyota, driven by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Brad Coleman and Matt DiBenedetto throughout the season, featured many different sponsors such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Super Mario Bros., Tekken 6, Brutal Legend, The Beatles Rockband, [Protoype], Halo Wars, Guitar Hero, the WWE and the Nintendo Wii.
Needless to say, there were a lot of sponsors that season and if I could, I'd feature most of those in this slideshow, especially the Halo Wars and the Beatles Rockband schemes. But I just wanted to put one of them on this list and it had to be the classic game, Super Mario Bros.
Hamlin participated in just seven races in the 2009 Nationwide Series season, with the GameStop scheme grazing it one time—at the Able Body Labor 200 at Phoenix.
Hamlin qualified on the pole for the race, but finished the day in 12th—Carl Edwards won the race, which came as no surprise at the time.
Regardless, it was still an awesome paint scheme, honoring perhaps the best video game of all-time.
Now only if they put Madden or Battlefield 3 on the car would I be happy.
75. No. 43 Bobby Labonte, Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt
Honestly, even though I hate yogurt, this is one of my favorite paint schemes of all-time.
Remember when I said in the previous Bobby Labonte paint scheme that the No. 43 has had many different looks over the last few years? Yeah, it was like that in 2006 as well.
During the 2006 season, Labonte's No. 43 featured sponsors that of the one pictured, Betty Crocker, STP, Cheerios, Chex Party Mix, Bugles, Cascadian Farm, Hamburger Helper, Totino's Mega Pizza Rolls and others.
For this specific scheme, Labonte ran it at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. He had one of his best qualifying efforts of the season, as he started the long night in the fifth position.
However, Labonte would finish the longest race of the season in 17th.
But that green, red, blue and yellow paint scheme was quite spectacular.
After looking through years of Labonte's paint schemes, I swear I could make a list of the 25 best Bobby Labonte paint schemes of all-time. He's had so many over the years, it's downright crazy.
74. No. 18 Kyle Busch, Pretzel M&M's
I wish I knew why I like this paint scheme, but I really have no idea. I somewhat like M&M's and the Pretzel versions are alright. I wouldn't say I'm a fan of Kyle Busch, but I like him and respect him as a driver. So I don't know why this paint scheme stands out to me so much.
First off, Pretzel M&Ms were first launched around April 2010 and Busch has run a total of six races since its release.
This paint scheme is one of a few on this list that actually won one of the selective races they participated in (I'm not counting cars like Dale Jarrett's No. 88 Quality Care car that were run throughout an entire season).
Anyway, Busch ran three races in this specific scheme in 2010 and three last season. The car's inaugural run was at the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, finishing in third. It'd appear again the next two races as well, finishing second and 20th.
Last season, Busch would run the car at the Crown Royal Presents the Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond, starting the night in the 20th position.
He'd work his way up through the pack and would finish the 400 laps with the checkered flag and a trip to victory lane.
Busch, who is the owner of 104 races in the top three series, has had some amazing paint schemes since signing with Joe Gibbs Racing. I wish I was able to put more on the list, but oh well. Personally, I believe this is the best of the bunch.
73. No. 24 Jeff Gordon, Pepsi/DuPont
Jeff Gordon, even though I loathe him more than any other driver, has had some pretty spectacular paint schemes over the yearsinauguralthis being one of them.
Gordon and his primary sponsor DuPont, in association with Pepsi, ran this car at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in 2002.
The five-time champion was at the tail end of his brilliant run when he was undoubtedly the best driver at that time. Coming off his fifth championship, Gordon was in the midst of a great streak starting with the Samsung/Radioshack 500 at Texas.
Starting with that race, Gordon went on to post finishes of second, 23rd, fourth, 16th, 7th, fifth, sixth, fifth and fifth, respectively.
However, at Sonoma, Gordon would finish the race in 37th. The following weekend at the Pepsi 400, Gordon ran this scheme and his weekend started off great with a third-place qualifying effort.
Unfortunately, Gordon struggled during the race, finishing one-lap down and coming home in 22nd—DEI's Michael Waltrip won the race.
It was still an awesome paint scheme, though.
72. No. 40 David Stremme, Target/Halo 3
David Stremme is another one of those drivers that had potential, but just couldn't take advantage of his opportunity.
Stremme was given a chance to run full-time for Chip Ganassi in the No. 40 Coors Light for the 2006 Cup season, but had a lackluster season, finishing 33rd in the final standings. He registered zero top tens in his 34 starts.
The following season, Stremme latched on with Felix Sabates, driving the same No. 40 Dodge. He had a marginally better season, eventually placing 24th in the standings.
Along the way, Stremme had many different sponsors including Target, Coors Light, Tums, Energizer and Wrigley's JuicyFruit gum for the 2007 season.
At the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover, Target along with the video game Halo 3, sponsored Stremme.
However, Stremme had one of the worst weekends of his season as he started Sunday in the 40th position. It didn't get much better as he blew an engine on the 287th lap and finished the day in 39th.
Even though he didn't have a great day, it was still a cool paint scheme featuring one of my three favorite video games of all-time. It was truly a classic paint scheme that featured an almost all-black scheme with a couple shades of blue as well.
They definitely had a winner with paint scheme even though he finished near the end of the field.
71. No. 10 Johnny Benson, Valvoline/James Dean
Johnny Benson, one of only two drivers to win a Busch/Nationwide Series Championship and a Truck Series Championship, was once a driver with much potential. But he was never able to become that driver everyone had hoped for at the top level.
He did have some cool paint schemes, though.
For the 2001 Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Benson honored former movie star James Dean with this silver and red paint scheme, in correspondence with his main sponsor, Valvoline.
Benson, who not known for his qualifying efforts, started the day in the 26th position. He'd work his way through the pack for the entire race, and would finish the day in third place, tied for his season best. Jeff Gordon won the race, with Sterling Marlin coming in ahead of Benson.
It was truly a great race for Benson, who had never won a Winston Cup race. He would, however, take home the checkered flag in the following season's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at Rockingham for his first and only victory in the league's top circuit.
Anyway, it was a good looking paint scheme, honoring James Dean, who died way too soon. Dean had been one of the nation's top actors in the early 1950s, but died in a car crash on Sept. 30, 1955—he was just 24 years old. It's such a shame, as we will never know what he could have become.
At least he was able to grace the hood of a NASCAR racecar, but that still doesn't make up for his untimely death.
70. No. 6 Mark Martin, Viagra (Folgers Throwback)
Mark Martin, perhaps the greatest driver to never win a Sprint Cup championship, had a small "farewell tour" during the 2005 season, as it was thought his career would be winding down pretty soon.
But that wasn't the case as he's run at least 24 races in every season since and is scheduled to nearly run a full season for Michael Waltrip Racing this year. Since his departure from Roush after the 2006 season, Martin has run for Bobby Ginn in the No. 01, Rick Hendrick in the No. 5, Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the No. 8 and now the No. 00 for Michael Waltrip.
Anyway, over the 2005 season, Martin ran various schemes, celebrating his lengthy career in NASCAR.
Even though he was sponsored by Viagra for the 2005 season, it didn't stop him from running paint schemes of his past. Martin ran his old "Valvoline colors" scheme at the Nextel Challenge, his Strohs blue paint scheme at Texas in April and an orange and white scheme (his first ever paint scheme) at Phoenix in November.
He then ran his classic Folgers red paint scheme at the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
Martin had a good weekend, as he qualified in the 10th position and finished the day in seventh—Tony Stewart won the race, along with the championship at the end of the season.
Regardless, I've always been a big fan of his old Strohs and Folgers paint schemes and was trying to flip a coin on which throwback scheme I'd rather put on this list. The Folgers scheme narrowly beat out the Strohs scheme, as you can see.
It was undoubtedly a classic paint scheme that had to be on this list. I love the paint scheme and wanted to put it higher, but it's got to stay down in the lower 70's. However, it was still an awesome throwback scheme.
69. No. 300 Darrell Waltrip, Tim Flock Special Tribute
Yes, it's plain with that all-white paint scheme. But look at the car number. It's No. 300, which is something that can't happen in today's NASCAR.
It also honors the famous Tim Flock, the owner of 39 victories, including an 18-win season in 1955—Flock won the championship that season as well. He also earned 102 top fives and 129 top tens over his NASCAR career.
This car was ran at the TranSouth Financial 400 at Darlington in 1998 by Waltrip. Flock had been diagnosed with lung and liver cancer and died on March 31, 1998.
This car was ran to honor the driver that was perhaps the best driver of all-time when he finished his career.
At this point in time, Waltrip was definitely at the tail end of his lengthy, 84-win Sprint Cup career. The 51-year-old Waltrip was fielding his own cars for the 1998 season, but closed shop once the Darlington race finished.
At least he got to run the 69th best paint scheme of the last thirty years before he ran the rest of the season in the No. 1 Pennzoil and the No. 35 Tabasco car.
68. No. 27 Kenny Irwin Jr., G.I. Joe/Winner's Circle
First off, rest in peace Kenny Irwin. Secondly, I couldn't find a real picture of this car, so the die-cast version will have to do.
Irwin ran just four races in the 1997 season before becoming a full-time driver in 1998. His 1997 season included races at Richmond, Martinsville, Phoenix and Atlanta, but Irwin failed to make it at Rockingham.
Over those four races, his sponsors included Tonka, Action Performance, Winner's Circle and G.I. Joe.
Irwin was spectacular in his qualifying efforts, as he started second, third and 11th in his first three races of his Winston Cup career.
He'd run the G.I. Joe scheme at the 1997 NAPA 500 at Atlanta, his last race of the year in which he'd better his qualifying efforts, as he started that Sunday in the eighth position.
However, his qualifying efforts in those four races would be a lot better than the actual races. Irwin would struggle throughout the day and would come home in 25th—Bobby Labonte claimed the checkered flag with Dale Jarrett and Mark Martin following suit.
Irwin's other three finishes included a eighth-place effort at Richmond, a 37th-place finish at Martinsville due to fuel pump issues and a 20th-place run at Phoenix.
His G.I. Joe paint scheme was definitely the best one of his young career. It's just a shame that his life ended too soon, as he ran just a total of 87 Winston Cup races. Irwin may have become a great driver if he didn't pass too early, but it looks like we'll never know.
67. No. 18 Bobby Labonte, MLB All-Star Game
Major League Baseball has a Hall of Fame, like any other sport. But this was the first time that they actually sponsored a race car.
Bobby Labonte, along with his primary sponsor Interstate Batteries, conjoined with the Hall of Fame for the 2000 Pepsi 400 at Daytona—the MLB' Hall of Fame would go on to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a couple of races over the next few seasons as well.
Anyway, as I said before, Labonte ran this car one time in the 2000 season, the same year he won the Winston Cup Championship.
Looking at his race-by-race stats from the 2000 season, you wouldn't think Labonte would have won the championship, but he did anyway. It's somewhat like some of the players in the MLB's Hall of Fame and their stats, but that is neither here or there.
Labonte's July weekend got off a rather sub-par start, as the eventual champion started the night in the 21st position. He would wind up gaining nine spots as the night went on, as he would come home in 12th and Jeff Burton would visit victory lane.
But it was still an awesome paint scheme. I've always liked how they featured a baseball within the logos on the side of the car, along with the baseball spirals on the bottom of the car. It was also a nice switch from the regular green car that we were used to seeing and instead, turned into a red, white and blue paint scheme, somewhat like the American flag.
The paint scheme was definitely a winner, much like Labonte's 2000 season.
The 2000 season was the last time NASCAR's top level would run 34 races in a season. Starting in 2001, they would start running 36 races per season, which has continued to this season and beyond.
66. No. 88 Ricky Rudd, Snickers
If I had to list my three favorite drivers of all-time, I'd have to list Bill Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Ricky Rudd in that order. Rudd has always been considered one of the best drivers of the recent era and he had some pretty spectacular paint schemes along the way.
I've always been a big fan of the car listed in this slide, the scheme he drove for Robert Yates Racing during the entire 2007 season.
There was no doubt that he was at the end of his career, as he had not won a race since 2002. The 2007 season would also be the last time he would get in a racecar.
At the tender age of 50, Rudd participated in 31 of the 36 races, accumulating just one top-ten in the process—his lone top ten finish came at the Coca-Cola 600 when he started seventh and finished in the same position. He also started second at the Daytona 500, the "Great American Race."
Rudd ended his Sprint Cup career with a 21st-place finish at Homestead.
Known as the "Ironman of NASCAR," Rudd set a record of 788 consecutive starts
65. No. 43 Jeff Green, Berry Burst Cheerios
It's a shame that the former Busch Series champion and two-time runner-up couldn't have a better Cup career. He immediately struggled once arriving with Richard Childress and it didn't get much better from there.
The 2003 season was a whirlwind for Green, as he started it with Richard Childress in the No. 30 America Online Chevrolet, but was fired by the owner after the 11th race at Richmond. He'd latch on to the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc. prior to the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, but struggled in the twelve races he ran for them, finishing no higher than 16th. He would eventually be replaced by John Andretti.
After missing three events, he'd sign on with Petty Enterprises to drive the No. 43 Dodge, starting with the Dover 400.
Two races later, at the Banquet 400 at Kansas, Green would run a special paint scheme, sponsoring Berry Burst Cheerios.
I've always been a big fan of the paint scheme, even though it was driven by Jeff Green, who I loathed while he was in the Busch Series. Personally, I always liked the mixture of purple and red, along with numbers being outlined with blue. And of course, the actual cereal on the hood and sides was also a nice addition.
Anyway, Green would start the day in the ninth position, but would fade all the way back and finish in 27th—Ryan Newman won the race with Evernham teammates Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield rounding out the top three.
Even though he was a mediocre Cup driver, he gave us an awesome paint scheme.
64. No. 12 Bobby Allison, Miller High Life
Bobby Allison is undoubtedly one of the best drivers of all-time. There is no question about it.
The Hueytown, Alabama native started driving the No. 22 Miller High Life car for the 1983 season and would maintain those red and white colors and the No. 22 until the 1988 season.
Prior to the 1988 season, Allison announced that Miller High Life would come back yet again and his car number would switch to No. 12 and the colors would be gold and white.
Allison would also go on to win the Daytona 500 that season, the third time in his career he had won the "Great American Race" (1978, 1982).
Over the next ten weeks, Allison would post finishes of 11th or better seven times, including a second-place effort at the Winston 500 at Talladega.
However, on June 19, 1988, Allison would be in a horrendous crash at Pocono that almost killed him, as he suffered massive head injuries. This wreck forced the 2011 Hall-of-Famer to retire shortly thereafter from NASCAR.
With his victory at the 1988 Daytona 500, Allison became the oldest driver (50) to win the race.
In that same race, Allison's son, Davey, finished right behind his father, the first time a father-son combination finished the Daytona 500 first and second.
Allison was inducted into the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame, along with Lee Petty, David Pearson, Ned Jarrett and Bud Moore.
63. No. 18 Bobby Labonte, Pro Football Hall of Fame/Interstate Batteries
As most of you know, Joe Gibbs used to be the head coach of the Washington Redskins from 1981-1992. He would also serve a second stint as the main man in D.C. from 2004-07.
During his first tenure with the 'Skins, Gibbs led the team to three Super Bowl victories (XVII against Miami, XXII versus Denver and XXVI against Buffalo).
Needless to say, he was a pretty good football coach.
He started fielding cars in NASCAR in 1992 and has won three Sprint Cup championships, along with a Nationwide Championship with Kyle Busch in 2009.
In 1996, Gibbs put together a sponsor that would honor the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of that year, as he was an inductee. Charlie Joiner, Mel Renfro, Dan Dierdorf and Lou Creekmur were also inducted.
This specific scheme, in the Redskins' colors, was ran at the DieHard 500 at Talladega in 1996.
Labonte started the day in 24th, but moved his way up the pack and finished the 129 laps in eighth—Jeff Gordon won the race with Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Ernie Irvan and Jimmy Spencer rounding out the top five.
The 1996 DieHard 500 was memorable for me as it was the second race I had ever attended and it was awesome to see a car out there like Labonte's. His paint scheme is what made me start watching football, so I'm grateful for that.
62. No. 5 Terry Labonte, Spooky Froot Loops
Back when I was younger, this was one of my favorite paint schemes of all-time. For some reason, I just thought this car was awesome and I still think that, I guess.
Fresh off of his second championship, Labonte set out to claim another one, but it didn't work out. He'd finish the season sixth in the final points standings, but had several spectacular and different paint schemes along the way.
Labonte's Spooky Froot Loops Chevrolet was run at the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte and it got off to a horrendous start.
Labonte started the day all the way in last place, but managed to work his way up through the field and finished the day in 11th, as Dale Jarrett collected the checkered flag.
With Frankenstein on the hood and Toucan Sam on the side, Labonte had one of the best paint schemes of the 1997 season. It was a nice change of pace as we were used to seeing that familiar red, yellow and white paint scheme and then all of a sudden, it's green and purple.
It was definitely a fantastic paint scheme that deserved a spot on the list.
Terry Labonte won his first championship in 1984 and then won it again in 1996. The 12 years between his championships is the longest span in NASCAR history.
61. No. 33 Harry Gant, Skoal Bandit
Harry Gant's Skoal Bandit car was one of the most famous and well-known paint schemes of his era.
Back in those days, typical racers did not use green paint schemes because they believed that the color was bad luck. So most drivers stayed away from that color, but not Gant.
Gant started competing in the No. 33 a few races into the 1981 season and he drove the car until he retired after the 1994 season.
Affectionately known as "Mr. September" for winning all four September races in 1991, Gant won a total 18 races, spanning 22 years on the circuit.
He also registered 474 starts, 17 poles, 123 top fives and 208 top tens over that span as well.
Gant was one of the best racers of his era and his paint scheme will go down as one of the most well-known of all-time.
60. No. 24 Jeff Gordon, DuPont/Peanuts
Ah, the Peanuts and Charlie Brown. One of the best cartoons of all-time.
NASCAR and Rick Hendrick decided to honor the Peanuts for the 50-year anniversary with a special paint scheme at the 2000 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.
However, the joyous occasion did not help Gordon's weekend.
For the 2000 season, Gordon had his third-worst qualifying effort of the season with a 29th-place run—the only two that were worse was his 36th-place effort at Talladega and his 34th-place run at the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.
His Sunday would get worse, as he would finish in the 33rd position, his fourth-worst effort of the season—Bobby Labonte won the race and would go on to win the championship.
Regardless, it was still a great looking paint scheme and it was too bad that he couldn't fare better. It was still nice to see something different from Gordon, who had typically been running his rainbow scheme.
59. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Budweiser (Black Edition)
During NASCAR's first visit to Talladega in 2006, Dale Earnhardt Inc. decided to honor the late Dale Earnhardt in the Cup and Nationwide Series with special black paint schemes.
Cup teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. ran their respective all-black paint schemes in the Aaron's 499, while Truex (No. 8) and Paul Menard (No. 11) ran their all-black schemes in the Nationwide Series.
Here's a picture of all four schemes.
Truex would go on to win the Aaron's 312 after starting 12th. Menard started the race in 25th and came home in ninth.
However, the Cup race would not go as well as they had hoped. Dale Jr. started the day in 27th, but blew an engine 151 laps into the race and finished 31st. Truex was involved in crashes on laps 92 and 153 after starting the race in 20th. He wouldn't finish the race either and came home in 36th. Needless to say, it was a race to forget for the two teammates.
But it was still a nice tribute to his dad, who was a seven-time champion and is widely considered to be one of the best drivers of all-time.
58. No. 88 Buddy Baker, Red Baron Frozen Pizza
Buddy Baker, also affectiously known as "Leadfoot," had one of the longest careers in NASCAR history. His lengthy time at the highest professional level lasted a total of 33 years, including 19 wins, 202 top fives, 311 top tens and 38 poles.
There's a decent shot that he could end up in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in a few years.
Baker's career started in 1959 and raced full-time for a good-sized portion of his career. Other season, he'd hardly race at all, but I guess that's what he was aiming for.
During the mid- to late-1980's, Baker's career was winding down as he was quickly rising up in years. In those later years, Baker would race a little over half of the races that were announced.
For the 1988 season, Baker, along with Danny Schiff, were owners yet again. But unlike the prior the season, Baker's sponsor would transform from Crisco to Red Baron Frozen Pizza—his number would stay the same, however.
During that season, Baker would compete in 17 of the 29 races, the last time he'd race in at least half the races. He wouldn't post a win or a top five, but he would finish his season with seven top tens—his best finish was a sixth-place finish at the Pepsi Firecracker 400 at Daytona.
Regardless, Baker's No. 88 was one of the best paint schemes in 1988, thus earning a spot on this list.
Baker was the first driver to exceed the 200 mph mark on a closed course test run. His speed was clocked at 200.447 mph, a record that stood for 13 years before the late Benny Parsons broke the record.
57. No. 99 Jeff Burton, Kraft/Velveeta
I don't know about you, but I love Velveeta shells and cheese. It's delicious.
That's probably why I like Jeff Burton's No. 99 Kraft/Velveeta scheme that he ran at the 2003 All-Star weekend.
Since Burton wasn't locked in to the All-Star race, he had to win the Winston Open to get in. And he did in fact win the 30-lap race ahead of Dave Blaney, Mike Skinner and Brett Bodine.
Starting last in The Winston, Burton eventually ended the night in ninth, as Jimmie Johnson took home the checkered flag.
But he did give us a cool paint scheme in the process, as it was far different than the Citgo red, white and blue paint schemes he had been running the entire season.
It was truly an awesome paint scheme.
This would be the last year the All-Star race was known as "The Winston." Starting in 2004, the Cup series would switch from the Winston Cup to the Nextel Cup. Thus, the All-Star race would become the "Nextel All-Star Challenge" before being switched to the "Sprint All-Star Challenge" in the 2008 season.
56. No. 7 Alan Kulwicki, Army
Why is this bland car on the list? Well I'll tell you.
If you open up a history book, you're likely going to read about the Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm. The war was came into fruition when 34 countries, led by the United States, fought against Iraq because of their invasion and annexation of Kuwait.
The Persian Gulf War officially began on Aug. 2, 1990 and ended Feb. 28, 1991. Operation Desert Storm did not begin until Jan. 17, 1991 and lasted a little over a month.
But at the 1991 Daytona 500, NASCAR started something that would revolutionize the sport. For the previous 43 years, drivers consistently drove the same paint scheme week after week. There was nothing different.
But at the race, five drivers were sponsored by our Armed Forces, something we had never seen before.
Here's a picture of the five cars.
From left to right: Mickey Gibbs (No. 24, Air Force), Greg Sacks (No. 18, Navy), Kulwicki, Buddy Baker (No. 88, Marines) and Dave Marcis (No. 71, Coast Guard)
The 1991 Daytona 500 was a weird race, as only five cars finished the race on the lead lap—Ernie Irvan claimed his first win at Daytona while Sterling Marlin, Joe Ruttman, Rick Mast and Dale Earnhardt rounded out the top five.
Kulwicki was the highest-finishing Armed Forces car, as he finished in eighth after starting 27th. However, the other four relatively struggled in the race, as Gibbs was the next highest finisher with a 17th-place run.
Dave Marcis finished in 35th after starting 42nd, while Buddy Baker slid all the way back to 37th after qualifying in the 16th position. Greg Sacks finished in last place after a crash on lap twenty.
Whether the cars struggled or not, it was truly a great moment in NASCAR history and will probably forever be known as the race that revolutionized paint schemes forever.
55. No. 24 Jeff Gordon, DuPont/The Lost World: Jurassic Park
It's not the best picture in the world, but it'll have to do.
In 1997, one of the most popular films of recent memory decided to come out with another one. The movie I'm talking about? Jurassic Park.
This one is titled The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
In honor of the movie, DuPont would transform Jeff Gordon's rainbow scheme to a red and black Jurassic Park scheme. And it actually turned out to be a good idea.
This car was actually run at the 1997 Winston, a race that has been primarily known for the big cash money prize and the amazing paint schemes. Gordon got a taste of both.
Starting in 19th for the annual race, Gordon moved all the way up the pack to claim the win, leading nine laps. With the second career Winston win, Gordon was able to claim the $300,000 prize as well.
Great movie. Great paint scheme. What more could you ask for?
54. No. 2 Rusty Wallace, Miller Lite/Elvis Presley Tribute
The king of rock-n-roll. The so-called king of beers. What more can you ask for?
I really wouldn't call it a celebration, as it was more like a memorial paint scheme. Rusty Wallace's 2002 Elvis scheme was in remembrance of The King's death 25 years prior.
2002 was the start of a down period for Wallace, as the 1989 Winston Cup Champion would not win a race for the first time since the 1986 season. But he did get off to a phenomenal start.
After his 18th place finish in that year's Daytona 500, Wallace posted finishes eighth, 11th, sixth, seventh, ninth, 11th, 16th, eighth and eighth.
His first 11th-place finish came at Las Vegas where Wallace sported the paint scheme featured in this slide.
Wallace's weekend got off to a rocky start as he qualified towards the back of the pack in 38th, but by the end of the race, he had jumped 27 places higher—Sterling Marlin won the race, by the way.
Wallace's paint scheme was one of the best in 2002, as he and Miller Lite honored The King.
53. No. 39 Bill Elliott, Coors (Retro Edition)
Bill Elliott, one of NASCAR's most popular drivers ever, wasn't the same driver in the late 2000's than he was in the 1980's and early 1990's, but it has also been very entertaining to watch him drive.
The former Cup Champion first competed in a race in 1976 and could very well make his last start ever in the No. 50 Wal-Mart car for Turner Motorsports in Daytona's July race.
He has had the fortune of having some of the most awesome paint schemes ever with this being one of them.
In 2005, Elliott drove nine races in the No. 91 Dodge for Ray Evernham.
But during the Bud Shootout prior to the Daytona 500, Elliott drove his classic Coors car that he drove many years ago—except this time, he drove in the No. 39 instead of the No. 9 that we were all familiar with.
The 1987 Bud Shootout winner placed third in the exhibition race, just behind Greg Biffle and race winner Dale Jarrett.
52. No. 00 David Reutimann, Aaron's/Alabama National Champions
I'm an Alabama fan so I felt entitled to put this car on the list. Not to mention, I've always liked it when other sports or professional/college teams come in and sponsor a race car (Hint: there's going to be another one on the next slide).
David Reutimann drove this car at Talladega in April 2010. As many of you know, the No. 00 was celebrating the Crimson Tide's National Championship over the Texas Longhorns a few months earlier.
In association with Aaron's (who also sponsors the annual race), the No. 00 Toyota was painted in red and white, just like Alabama's colors.
Reutimann started that Sunday in 30th, only to come home in 14th—Kevin Harvick barely edged out Jamie McMurray for the victory if you didn't know.
Over the years, the No. 00 from Michael Waltrip Racing has had some of the coolest paint schemes (even though a lot of them aren't on this list). We've seen companies such as Domino's Pizza, Tums, Aaron's, Best Western Hotel, Burger King and others as main sponsors.
I'd go ahead and say that the No. 00 has consistently put out some of the best paint schemes over the years. The one in this slide is just one of them.
51. No. 99 Carl Edwards, Boston Red Sox/Lumber Liquidators
Remember when I was saying in the previous slide that I liked when other sports or teams sponsored race cars? This is one of them.
The Boston Red Sox, along with Lumber Liquidators, decided to sponsor Edwards at the annual New Hampshire race that's about midway through the season.
They pulled off a pretty cool paint scheme in the process, decorating the car like a red baseball and having the Red Sox logo plastered on the side of the car behind Edwards' No. 99.
Edwards' teammate, David Ragan, was also sponsored by the Red Sox and AAA at the race as well.
The 2011 champion runner-up qualified 22nd for the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 and finished Sunday in the 13th position—Denny Hamlin won the race if you wanted to know.
It was pretty cool paint scheme and I wish teams like the Red Sox sponsored cars more often.
50. No. 94 Bill Elliott, McDonald's/Toy Story II
Toy Story is undoubtedly one of the best animated films of all-time. Upon the release of the sequel, it was announced that they would sponsor Bill Elliott's No. 94 Ford Taurus for two races, along with his primary sponsor, McDonald's.
Elliott ran this specific paint scheme for the 1999 Pennzoil 400 at Homestead and a similar version of the car at the season finale NAPA 500 at Atlanta.
However, Elliott was in the midst of a long winless drought and it didn't get any better with the Toy Story II paint scheme.
In those two races, "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" qualified 32nd and 27th, respectively. He didn't finish much better, posting finishes of 24th and 22nd.
Regardless, it was still a cool paint scheme and good enough to rank in the top 50.
49. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Budweiser: Born on Date
If you read the entire caption of the Elliott Sadler M&M's black and white car, then you know how the Gatorade Duel 125s work.
Prior to the 2005 Daytona 500, "Junior" ran this scheme in qualifying, the Gatorade Duel 125s and the Budweiser Shootout. Dale Jarrett collected the pole for the series' biggest race and Jimmie Johnson lined up beside him, meaning those were the only two positions locked in.
The other 41 positions would be fought for in the Gatorade Duel races.
Dale Jr. would race in the first Gatorade Duel, coming in second place and right behind his teammate, Michael Waltrip. With his second-place effort in the event, the No. 8 would line up in fifth for the Daytona 500.
The younger Earnhardt would also run this scheme in the Budweiser Shootout, as he would end the 70 laps in seventh. Jimmie Johnson took home the checkered flag.
The car would appear yet again in the "Great American Race" and he would prove to have a solid car all day and was in contention for the most part. However, he would finish the race in third, as Jeff Gordon would win his third Daytona 500 and Kurt Busch would finish in second.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this paint scheme was the dates on the hood. The car pictured was run at the Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 12, thus giving the car its "birth date."
The Gatorade Duels were run on Feb. 17 and those same numbers would appear on the hood. The Daytona 500 was run three days later on Feb. 20 and yet again, "20 Feb 2005" appeared on the hood of the car.
It was undoubtedly a great idea for a paint scheme.
48. No. 3 Dale Earnhardt, Coca-Cola
Starting in 1996, NASCAR began to run exhibition races in Japan, starting with Suzuka Circuitland on Nov. 22, as Rusty Wallace won the race. They would return the following season to the race track and Mike Skinner would come home in first.
In 1998, NASCAR returned to Japan except this time, it was at the Twin Ring Motegi Superspeedway.
Japanese drivers Hideo Fukuyama, Keiicha Tsuchiya, Kazuteru Wakida and Motohiro Nakaji competed in the event, along with Canadian Gary Smith. Other non-Winston Cup regulars Brendan Gaughan, Austin Cameron, Kelly Tanner, Ron Burns, Lance Norick, Rich Woodland Jr., Butch Gilliland, Jeff Davis and Scott Gaylord also participated in the event as well.
But anyway, this was the first time that Dale Earnhardt and his son, Dale Jr., would compete in a Winston Cup event together, even though it was a non-points, exhibition race.
Earnhardt, along with a few other drivers, were part of the Coca-Cola family at this point and Earnhardt honored that with an all-red Coca-Cola paint scheme. His son also ran a Coca-Cola scheme, too.
I always thought this paint scheme was awesome even though it was simple and not extravagant like most others on this list.
Earnhardt would start the day in 15th and would finish the 201 laps in eighth. Earnhardt's teammate, Mike Skinner, would go on to win in Japan for the second consecutive year—Jeff Gordon, Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Burton and Rusty Wallace rounded out the top five. Senior's son finished the day in sixth.
Regardless, the all red Coca-Cola scheme was definitely one of the best in 1998.
47. No. 2 Kurt Busch, Miller Lite Taste Protector
You can't deny that this is an awesome paint scheme.
After leaving Roush Racing, Kurt Busch latched on with Roger Penske to replace the recently-retired Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 Miller Lite car.
In 2009, Busch drove the Miller Lite: Taste Protector Lid Dodge at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.
Busch started the night in the 17th position, but struggled all night long and came home in 34th.
It didn't take away from the fact that is was a truly classic paint scheme. The light brown sides of the car were a good mix with the blue and the blue inside the tires was a good idea as well.
46. No. 9 Jeff Burton, Gain Detergent (Nationwide)
Jeff Burton has widely been considered to be one of the best Nationwide drivers of all-time, successfully notching 27 wins during his career, which is good for sixth all-time behind Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Jack Ingram.
Although Burton hasn't raced full-time in the Nationwide Series since 1993, he has been one of the most feared drivers when he races (even though he hasn't participated in an event since 2009).
Burton's No. 9 green and orange scheme first appeared in the 2001 season and needless to say, he had great success in that car.
Over the two years that this car was on the track, Gain, along with Febreeze and Swiffer, sponsored the car in select events—but Gain was always on the hood.
In 2001, Burton competed in a third of the events (11 out of 33), compiling great stats along the way. In those eleven events, Burton finished worse than 13th just one time (31st at Kansas) and also had four top fives, nine top tens and a win at the South Carolina 200 at Darlington.
The following season was even better for Burton.
He competed in 13 events in 2002 and was able to start on the pole and win his first two races of the season—the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas and the darlingtonraceway.com 200 at Darlington.
His next four races were average, but he would go on a stupendous run after the race at Charlotte. Over a six-race span, Burton finished no worse than third and also won three races in that time as well—at the Gatorade 200 at Darlington, the Mr. Goodcents 300 at Kansas and the Little Trees 300 at Charlotte.
Burton's 2002 season looked like this: 13 starts, five wins, eight top fives, nine top tens, two poles and an average finish of 9.7 (even though he had two DNF's).
Apparently that scheme was magic for Burton.
45. No. 45 Adam Petty, Spree (Nationwide)
A career cut too short, in my opinion.
Petty had copious amounts of potential, but his life was tragically cut short at New Hampshire in 2000 when he got loose going into Turn 3 and crashed head-on into the wall.
Petty's No. 45 Spree paint scheme first appeared during the 1998 season, as he drove three races at age 17. The youngest Petty started racing full-time in the Busch Series in 1999 season, driving cars fielded by none other than his father, Kyle.
During his rookie season in 1999, Petty posted three top fives and four top-ten finishes, including a sixth-place finish at the season-opening race at Daytona, a fourth-place finish at the Auto Club 300 at Fontana and fifth-place finishes at the First Union 200 at Nazareth and at the Sam's Town 250 at Memphis.
Prior to his death in 2000, Petty ran eleven races and struggled mightily—his best finish being a 12th-place running at the Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega.
Petty Enterprises had planned on running Adam in seven races during the 2000 season and giving him a full-time ride for the 2001 season. But he was never able to get that chance.
I had always admired his Spree Chevrolet and that's why it's No. 44 on this list.
44. No. 14 Tony Stewart, Office Depot/Back to School Edition
Even though I'm not a fan of rainbow-looking schemes, this car was pretty spectacular.
During the 2008 season, Stewart announced that he would be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to form his own race team, in association with Gene Haas. It didn't seem like a good at the time because up to that point, recent owner-drivers such as Bill Elliott, Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd and others had somewhat faltered and never won a championship.
But as we all know, Stewart forever changed NASCAR history last year when he won the Sprint Cup Championship, as result of a tie-breaker with Carl Edwards.
Back to the subject, Stewart's first season as an owner-driver in 2009 was successful as he finished sixth in the final point standings.
That season, Stewart ran this car at the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland, known as the "Back to School" car, in honor of kids returning to their schools around the nation.
The two-time champion struggled during qualifying, as he finished the day in 32nd. His Sunday was much better as he finished in the fourth position—Mark Martin won the race with Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne finishing ahead of Stewart.
This paint scheme was arguably one of the best of the 2009 season, with the best part probably being the crayons plastered on the hood and sides of the car. The black and white colors on the top of the car also added a nice touch to the No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet.
43. No. 6 Mark Martin, Viagra/500th Consecutive Start
When you start 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, you're good. But when you compete in 500 consecutive events, you've definitely done something right.
Usually in sports, most notably NASCAR, there are special paint schemes or uniforms to commemorate a special event or a great achievement in their respective sport.
In 2003, Martin's blue, white and black No. 6 transformed into this sleek gold Ford to honor Martin's 500th consecutive start at the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire. The special graphics on the car also honored baseball player Rafael Palmeiro's 500th home run.
When Martin took the green flag that Sunday, it was the third-longest consecutive starts streak among active drivers behind only Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace—it was also the seventh-longest streak in NASCAR history.
The five-time runner-up started the day in the 33rd position, but he struggled throughout the day.
At the time of the race's completion, Martin finished a disappointing 28th, as Jimmie Johnson won the race. Ricky Rudd, Joe Nemechek, Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five.
In any case, it was still a spectacular-looking paint scheme and was definitely a nice transformation from the familiar Viagra Ford we were all used to seeing.
42. No. 71 Dave Marcis, Olive Garden
Dave Marcis may not be known to the average NASCAR fan, but he had one of the lengthiest NASCAR careers of all-time. Marcis started 883 Sprint Cup Series races, spanning an astounding 35 years, starting in 1968 and ending in 2002.
Back when The Olive Garden sponsored Marcis, it was not the popular chain-restaurant that we all know today. But it gave us a pretty nice paint scheme.
This car first appeared in the 1994 Pepsi 400 at Daytona, as Marcis started 32nd and finished 27th. He would race the scheme four more times over the rest of the season, compiling finishes of 28th, 29th, 35th and 24th, respectively.
The Olive Garden would return for multiple races the following season, sponsoring him for a total of eighteen races.
Since Marcis was at the tail-end of his lengthy career, he was not able to post the finishes he was once used to back in the 1970s.
This is going to be long, but in those 18 races, Marcis accumulated finishes of 36th, 20th, 28th, 34th, 23rd, 27th, 37th, 36th, 31st, 15th, 25th, 29th, 24th, 27th, 35th, 28th, 40th and 37th.
Although they were sub-par finishes, it was still an awesome paint scheme. It's funny to see a restaurant come from very small to one of the biggest chain restaurants in the United States.
41. No. 7 Kyle Petty, 7-Eleven
Kyle Petty, probably best known for being Richard's son than for his racing career, raced at the Sprint Cup level for 30 years after retiring at the end of the 2008 season.
Over those thirty years, Petty had some awesome paint schemes whether it be his No. 44 Hot Wheels car or his No. 21 Citgo car or the one pictured in this slide.
Petty ran the No. 7 7-Eleven Ford from 1983-86 with a few variations of it along the way.
Petty had practically just started his Winston Cup career at this point, as he was driving for the legendary Wood Brothers.
During that four-year span in the No. 7, Petty registered 12 top fives, 34 top tens and a win at the 1986 Miller High Life 400 at Richmond.
He also had a good run in the standings in that span as well, as Petty finished 13th, 16th, ninth and 10th in the final standings from 1983-86.
I've always been a big, big fan of this car, probably because of my love for Slurpee's. But oh well, it was still a cool car regardless.
40. No. 94 Bill Elliott, McDonalds' McFlurry
Yes, this is Bill Elliott's car, but he did not drive this car in the 2000 goracing.com 500 at Bristol.
Prior to the Aug. 26 race in Tennessee, Elliott fractured his left kneecap in an accident at his home. Apparently Elliott tripped and fell on his knee and he was forced to require surgery. He was discharged from the HealthSouth Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama four days prior to the 500-mile race.
Since he was unable to drive in the race, then-Busch Series regular David Green filled in for the injured veteran.
Green qualified the car and started the race in 26th. His luck did not get much better as he did not even finish the race and came home in 36th—Rusty Wallace won the race.
Green also filled in for Elliott the following week at Darlington, qualifying 40th and finishing 25th.
I've always been a big fan of this car even though Elliott didn't officially drive it in any race.
It was the first time that McDonald's used their most popular dessert item, the McFlurry, as a main sponsor on a race car. The mixtures of red, blue, white and yellow has always seemed like a nice look, especially with the white and blue on the rear sides.
It's definitely an awesome paint scheme. I just wish Elliott was able to drive it.
The following season, Elliott sold his team to Ray Evernham, and Elliott started driving the No. 9 Dodge. That season, Elliott won the Pennzoil Freedom 400 at Homestead, which became his first victory since 1994.
39. No. 47 Marcos Ambrose, Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes
Over the last few years, the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Toyota has had some random, yet cool paint schemes. This is just one of them and unfortunately the only one on this list.
Marcos Ambrose drove the No. 47 car in 2009 and at the season finale at Homestead, Ambrose's car featured a sleek blue scheme sponsored by Little Debbie's Chocolate Cupcakes.
He qualified third for the event, but had a lackluster Sunday as he finished in 35th.
Even though he didn't have the day he wanted, it was still an awesome paint scheme.
38. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Budweiser/MLB All-Star Game
The MLB All-Star Game sponsored a few races throughout the years (as seen by Bobby Labonte's 2000 scheme).
After a tumultuous year in which is father died at the Daytona 500, "Junior" was sponsored by the All-Star game for that year's Pepsi 400.
It turned out to be one of the greatest NASCAR moments in recent memory, as he collected the checkered flag after starting in the 13th position. It was truly a great moment and his first of two wins of the 2001 season.
After he took the checkered flag, his teammate Michael Waltrip, who won his first career race at the Daytona 500 that season, joined him in the infield as both of them celebrated. Waltrip was the one that carried him to the victory, as he came in second place.
Dale Jr. hopped out of his car and stood at the driver's net with his hands up in the air. Like I said, it was a great moment and by far the best of the 2001 season.
Here's a picture of the two drivers celebrating.
37. No. 24 Jeff Gordon, Nicorette Gum
Jeff Gordon did something different in 2008, even though it was a down year for the four-time champion. For the first time since 1994, Gordon did not visit victory lane as he would finish seventh in the final points standings.
However, Gordon did have a couple of different paint schemes throughout the 2008 campaign, including sponsoring by Pepsi, DuPont Cromax Pro, Nicorette White Ice Mint, his main sponsor DuPont and of course, Nicorette Gum.
Gordon ran this paint scheme five times during the season, with races at Las Vegas, Phoenix, Chicagoland, Richmond and Texas.
The car was seen for the first at the third race of the season in the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas. Gordon qualified in the fourth position, but was involved in a crash and wound up coming home in 35th.
The paint scheme would come back a few weeks later at Phoenix, and Gordon finished the race in 13th. The Nicorette Chevy would appear again at the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland, as he earned an 11th-place finish after starting sixth.
The Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond would be the next race and Gordon started the night in the 10th position, while finishing the 400 laps in the eighth position.
This car would last be featured in the Dickies 500 at Texas and it was Gordon's best weekend of the season. Gordon claimed one of his four poles that season for the race, as the former champion finished in second, only behind Carl Edwards.
It was still a great looking paint scheme, though.
36. No. 5 Terry Labonte, Rice Krispies Treats
I swear, I could make a list of the 50 best Terry Labonte paint schemes. He's had so many different great schemes over the years, it's just downright ridiculous (and by the way, this isn't the last one on the list either).
Over the course of a few seasons, including his 1996 Championship upset, we were used to seeing Labonte run the Kellogg's car with a few of their products thrown in.
The Kellogg Company, owner of such cereals as Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes and others, gave Labonte many different paint schemes over the years.
In 1999, the Kellogg Company switched up the paint scheme a little bit, transforming it from that familiar white, yellow and red paint scheme into a blue and yellow scheme mainly sponsored by their hit product, Rice Krispies Treats (and boy are they delicious).
Labonte ran this specific car in two races that season, at the Pepsi 400 at Michigan and at the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte.
However, the two-time champion didn't have the outings he was hoping for. At Michigan, Labonte qualified in the back at 39th and finished the race in 26th. A few weeks later at Charlotte, Labonte did slightly better, qualifying 13th and finishing 21st.
They were decent races, but it gave us the 36th coolest paint scheme of the last 30 years.
35. No. 9 Greg Biffle, Uh-Oh! Oreos (Nationwide)
Greg Biffle, who became the first driver to win the Busch/Nationwide Series and Truck Series Championship, claimed his first and only Busch Series title in the 2002 season.
He would then go on to race full-time in the Cup Series for Jack Roush in the 2003 season and would also run a part-time schedule in the Busch Series for that season as well. He'd participate in 14 races that year, 13 of which were for Ed Evans in the No. 7.
The one race he didn't race for Evans was the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Charlotte in the No. 9 Uh-Oh Oreo's Ford for Roush Racing. It was also his first race in the Busch Series that season.
The No. 9 Ford from Roush would appear three more times during the season, all of which were ran by Jeff Burton.
Uh-Oh Oreo's sponsored just one race that season and it turned out to be a great idea.
Biffle started the weekend with a qualifying effort of 12th and would finish the 200 laps in the same position—his Cup teammate Matt Kenseth would go on to win the race.
Yes, he didn't win, but it was an awesome paint scheme. Now it makes me wish I would have tried the Uh-Oh Oreo's. I wish I had a time machine now.
Johnny Benson Jr. won the 2008 Truck Series Championship, successfully becoming the second driver, along with Biffle, to win championships in both series. Benson previously won the Busch Series Championship in 1995.
34. No. 13 Jerry Nadeau, FirstPlus Loans
Even though this car was short-lived, it needs to be on this list.
Prior to the 1998 season, Jerry Nadeau signed a contract with Bill Elliott Racing to race the No. 13 FirstPlus Ford full-time. What was so cool about it was that the car was also owned by one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Dan Marino (notice the colors and number of the car).
However, Nadeau was not able to qualify for two of the first seven races and it was just horrible from the get-go for Nadeau.
The one-time Sprint Cup winner was let go after the 17th race of the season, the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire.
The car lasted a total of 14 races with finishes of 21st, 28th, 32nd, 31st, 37th, 27th, 37th, 26th, 40th, 38th, 35th, 21st, 43rd and 27th, respectively.
Needless to say, it just wasn't a good fit.
After his dismissal, Nadeau signed on with Harry Melling to drive the No. 9 Cartoon Network Ford for the rest of the season and it got slightly better from there. Nadeau posted two top 20 finishes with Melling over the final sixteen races. He finished the 1998 season 36th in points and third in rookie-of-the-year voting.
After Jerry Nadeau's dismissal from the No. 13 after the New Hampshire race, four different drivers shared the ride: Wally Dallenbach Jr., (two races), Tom Hubert (one race), Dennis Setzer (six races) and Ted Musgrave (seven races).
33. No. 14 Steve Park, Burger King
Like Jerry Nadeau's car in the previous slide, this car was also short-lived. This car was the original No. 14 Burger King car, not the one that Tony Stewart has sometimes driven over the last few seasons.
Regardless, Steve Park ran this car in 1997, attempting nine races but only making five.
For Dale Earnhardt Inc., Park struggled at the highest competitive level, finishing 33rd, 41st, 33rd, 41st and 15th, respectively. He did not make the races at Pocono, Loudon, Dover and Charlotte.
Even though this car was not run that much, it was still an awesome paint scheme and one of my favorites of all-time. I especially like the rear sides of the car with the burger, fries and of course, the Coca-Cola.
I will always be a big fan of this car.
The following season, Park would run a full-time schedule with DEI, running the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet.
It's too bad Park's career was seemingly cut short after that horrific accident with Larry Foyt at Darlington. That was truly a freak-of-nature occurrence. At least he was able to live to tell about it, unlike other drivers in the past.
32. No. 9 Kasey Kahne, Budweiser (Retro Edition)
I'm going to start this off with a bold prediction.. Kahne will finish in the top five in points this upcoming season.
Back to the point, this is one of the coolest paint schemes of all-time, in my opinion.
The paint scheme, which was run at the 2010 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond, was ran to honor Budweiser's paint scheme 25 years ago.
Back in 1985, Darrell Waltrip ran the No. 11 Budweiser Chevrolet for Junior Johnson. 25 years later, Richard Petty and Kahne commemorated the paint scheme with a "retro edition".
Here's a look at the classic.
Even though he ran a very slick paint scheme, Kahne managed to struggle all weekend.
After qualifying 22nd, Kahne finished the race one lap down in 21st—Kyle Busch won the race with Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick right behind him.
31. No. 00 Bill Elliott, Burger King/XBox
For a better picture, click here.
After leaving Evernham Motorsports and deciding to run part-time after the 2003 season, Elliott has run for many different owners in that span. Some of these owners include Michael Waltrip, the Wood Brothers, Ray Evernham, John Carter, Turner Motorsports (for this year's July Daytona race), among others.
But during the 2006 season, at the age of 50, Elliott attempted 12 races and made 10 of them.
In that season, Elliott bounced around to different teams, offering his services. This led to "Awesome Bill" driving the No. 00, No. 19, No. 36 and No. 37. He also attempted to make the second Charlotte race in the No. 83 for Team Red Bull, but failed to make the cut.
He ran five races for Michael Waltrip Racing in the No. 00 Burger King Chevrolet during the 2006 season with races and finishes at Chicagoland (35th), Loudon (32nd), Indianapolis (22nd) and Fontana (42nd).
At the season finale at Homestead, Elliott appeared in the Burger King car yet again, but with XBox as an associate sponsor.
Personally, I'm a Playstation man myself, but it was still an awesome paint scheme, regardless. I've always been a fan of the different shades of green and what appears to be something like a lightning bolt on the side behind the car number.
Elliott started last in the race and finished 25th—Greg Biffle won the race.
30. No. 28 Travis Kvapil, Lafayette Ford/Fred Lorenzen Tribute
Travis Kvapil, a former hotshot, was thought to eventually become a top contender at the Sprint Cup level, but it just didn't happen.
The former Truck Series Champion got his first chance driving the No. 77 Kodak/Jasper Engines Dodge in 2006, but didn't fare that well. The following season, Kvapil latched on to Cal Wells' No. 32 Tide Dodge and didn't do that well there either.
He was out of Sprint Cup in 2007, but returned in 2008 to drive the No. 28 Ford for Yates Racing.
That season, at the 2008 Dodge Avenger 500, Kvapil's No. 28 Ford featured a Fred Lorenzen throwback of his LaFayette Ford.
It apparently helped him during the race, as Kvapil posted his second (eighth place) of four top tens of the season.
29. No. 60 Mark Martin, Winn-Dixie (Nationwide)
Before Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards were dominating the Nationwide circuit, Mark Martin was doing so in his No. 60 Winn-Dixie car for Jack Roush.
The No. 60 Winn-Dixie Ford first appeared in the 1992 Busch Series season and was run until the conclusion of the 2000 season, as Martin would take a three-year hiatus from the Busch Series and wouldn't return until he raced five races in the 2004 season.
From 1992-2000, Martin was undoubtedly the best driver in the Busch Series, although he didn't race more than 15 races in any of those seasons.
Over that span, Martin ran 129 races in the No. 60, collecting 39 victories, 77 top fives, 94 top tens and 20 poles. His best season perhaps came in 1993, as Martin accumulated seven wins, seven top fives and seven top tens.
He'd also win six races each in the 1996, 1997 and 1999 seasons. In 2000, his last season in the No. 60, Martin had an amazing 13 races, compiling five wins, 12 top fives, 13 top tens and four poles—his average starting position was 3.1, while his average finish was 2.2, an amazing statistic.
His No. 60 Winn-Dixie Ford is probably the most well-known Busch/Nationwide Series car in the series' history, which is definitely deserving of the 29th spot on this list.
28. No. 89 Dennis Setzer, McDonald's McRib
This car was run just once—by Dennis Setzer at the 1998 DieHard 500 at Talladega.
As you can tell by the paint scheme, the car celebrated the beginning of the infamous McRib sandwich that is currently and seldomly served by McDonald's, the primary of sponsor of Bill Elliott at the time, who was the owner of this car.
It was a legend around NASCAR that green was bad luck for whatever reason. Every driver seemed to believe in it at some point except for Harry Gant, who drove the No. 33 Skoal Bandit car for many years. And by 1998, there were rarely any green cars that appeared on the track.
But Bill Elliott felt that it was a good idea to build a green car for at least one race -- this was also the same owner that fielded a No. 13 car during the 1998 season for Jerry Nadeau and as we all know, the No. 13 has always been considered bad luck (Nadeau's car was also previously mentioned in this slideshow).
Setzer had a decent weekend for his first ever Sprint Cup (then Winston Cup) event. Setzer qualified in the middle of the pack at 26th and on Sunday, he came home 19th. He was the highest-finishing car for the Elliott stable as Nadeau finished the day in 37th (started 12th) and Elliott came home in 39th (started 17th).
After Nadeau was relinquished of his duties in the No. 13 car, Elliott replaced him with Setzer, starting with the 21st race of the season, the Pepsi 400 Presented by DeVilbiss at Michigan. Setzer did not have a finish higher than 24th in the six races he ran in the No. 13.
Back to the paint scheme, I have always adored it since I was at that Talladega race in 1998. I wish it would have been run more often since it was such a cool paint scheme. But oh well.
27. No. 94 Bill Elliott, McDonald's/Batman Forever ("Thunderbat")
Nope, not the Batman: Dark Knight movie. The Batman Forever movie that came out in the mid 1990's—you know, the one with Jim Carrey as "The Riddler" and Tommy Lee Jones as "Two-Face." And by the way, Val Kilmer played Batman (I think the last time I saw Kilmer was on the movie, MacGruber).
This was such a cool paint scheme and I'm not saying that because Bill is my favorite driver of all-time. It was honestly just a really spectacular paint scheme, especially since his car was primarily red and all of a sudden, it's all black the following week.
"Million Dollar Bill" ran this car at the UAW-GM Teamwork 500 at Pocono in 1995, the 17th race of the season. Elliott was on the pole that day and eventually finished the day in fifth—Terry Labonte won the race.
While driving the No. 94 McDonald's Ford, Elliott had some of the coolest paint schemes of all-time, as evident by some of the cars on this list.
26. No. 92 Stacy Compton, Levi Garrett/25th Anniversary
Stacy Compton was another one of those drivers with lots of potential, but just turned out to be mediocre at best.
Compton was given the opportunity for a full-time ride by Mark Melling prior to the 2000 season, driving the No. 9 Kodiak car. It switched to the No. 92 for the 2001 season with the same sponsor.
Levi-Garrett, once a sponsor for Geoff Bodine's No. 5 car in the mid- to late-1980's, sponsored Compton for three races in the 2001 season to celebrate the company's 25th anniversary.
The Levi-Garrett Dodge first appeared at the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte, as Compton qualified 16th and crossed the finish line in 32nd.
It would appear again a few weeks later at Talladega, as Compton qualified on the pole (he also qualified on the pole position in the first Talladega race, thus earning the season-sweep). Compton would come home eleventh at the EA Sports 500.
The car would make its final appearance at the NAPA 500 at Atlanta, qualifying ninth and finishing 18th.
Even though it wasn't a brand-name driver, it was still a great paint scheme.
25. No. 29 Kevin Harvick, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Kevin Harvick's No. 29 Reese's Chevrolet has become a consistent staple and one of the most recognizable paint schemes in the Sprint Cup Series over the last few years.
I'm ranking this paint scheme so high because of the years and years dedicated to the company. It has become a consistent sight to see an orange No. 29 on the track for at least one race per season.
Harvick was sponsored by Reese's in some shape or fashion for a few races each season from 2005-10.
The car first appeared at the 2005 Sharpie 500 at Bristol, and Reese's began to advertise their "Big Cup" edition. Harvick started the race in 19th, but finished in 37th.
The following season, Reese's would come back to sponsor the No. 29 at the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas. This time, his orange and yellow Chevrolet was sponsored by their newest hit, the Caramel Cup. Harvick started the day in 24th and worked his way up to finish the day in fifth.
In 2007, the former Busch Series Champion was sponsored by the company yet again for two races—the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond and at the Brickyard. He tallied finishes of seventh in both events.
Over the course of the next three seasons, Harvick would bring out the familiar orange scheme in a total of five races, twice in 2008 and 2009 and just once in 2010.
At the end of the 2010 season, we saw Shell and Pennzoil leave Harvick for the No. 22 and instead, his No. 29 would be sponsored by Budweiser, formerly Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s and Kasey Kahne's sponsor. This meant a new era was being ushered in and we did not see Reese's sponsor Harvick last season.
But over those six seasons, Reese's and Harvick put together one of the most familiar paint schemes and one of the perennial favorites over that span, as well. It was a classic paint scheme and hopefully it'll return again at some point.
24. No. 3 Dale Earnhardt, Goodwrench/1996 Olympics
Here's yet another Dale Earnhardt paint scheme.
Dale Sr. ran this car at the 1996 Winston to celebrate the Summer Olympic Games, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia—the first time the Olympics were held in the United States since 1984 and for just the fourth time ever (St. Louis in 1904 and Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984).
The paint scheme was also honoring the Olympics' 100th anniversary.
It was undoubtedly an awesome edition and the night was perhaps even better as Michael Waltrip, in his No. 21 Citgo Chevrolet, pulled off a massive upset and won the Winston—his first victory of any sort at the Sprint Cup/Winston Cup level (he'd go on to win his first ever points race less than five years later at the Daytona 500).
It was truly an amazing paint scheme.
23. No. 3 Dale Earnhardt, Goodwrench (Silver Edition)
The paint scheme that started it all. Before Dale Sr. ran this car at the 1995 Winston, there were really no cars that had different paint schemes.
But at the 1995 Winston, Earnhardt changed NASCAR history with his "Silverwrench" Chevrolet.
Since Dale Sr. ran that car, there has hardly been a week gone by that there hasn't been a special paint scheme whether it be Carl Edwards or Andy Lally.
That season had one of the most exciting All-Star races as Jeff Gordon took home the victory and the $300,000 prize (the winner's prize was over $1.3 million last year).
Sterling Marlin, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace and Geoff Bodine rounded out the top five. Earnhardt and his No. 3 silver Chevrolet finished the night in 14th, definitely a disappointing night for "The Intimidator."
Earnhardt's scheme may not have been the most flashy or spectacular scheme, but it started a revolution and that's why it is ranked so highly.
22. No. 6 David Ragan, UPS/Ned Jarrett Tribute
When I started putting together this list, I didn't think there was a chance that David Ragan would earn a spot on it. But then I remembered his Ned Jarrett Tribute car and it had to be on the slideshow.
This is one of the most recent paint schemes on this list as Ragan ran the blue car, sponsored by UPS and Ned Jarrett's Hall of Fame induction, at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis last season.
Ragan, who won a his first career Sprint Cup race a few weeks prior at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, got off to a fantastic start during the weekend.
The Georgia native qualified on the pole position, but would struggle as the race went on and eventually finished the day in 23rd—Paul Menard pulled off a tremendous upset, as he claimed his first-ever Sprint Cup victory, finishing ahead of Jeff Gordon, Regan Smith, 2010 Brickyard winner Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth.
Whether he finished first, last or 23rd, it was still a great paint scheme and a great tribute to one of the best NASCAR drivers of all-time.
It was definitely a classic paint scheme.
21. No. 44 Terry Labonte, Kellogg's/Thanks for the Memories!
877 starts. 27 poles. 22 wins. 182 top fives. 361 top tens. 7,070 laps led. Two championships.
Those stats belong to none other than Terry Labonte and his legendary career was celebrated in 2006. Rick Hendrick gave Labonte a shot to run a number of races in the No. 44 Chevrolet sponsored by Kellogg's, the sponsor he had when he won the championship in 1996.
Labonte ran a total of five races with his legendary Kellogg's scheme plus the Kellogg's/Thanks for the Memories! scheme he ran in his native Texas.
Although he started last in the race and finished 36th, it was still a nice farewell to a great driver—I might add that Labonte has run 29 races since Texas, but it was still a nice gesture to the two-time champion.
I might also add that there is a decent chance that he will run some races during the 2012 season and we'll see how he does.
Even though he had some awesome paint schemes over the last couple of decades, this one is by far one of the best as it celebrated the career of one of the best drivers over the last 30 years.
20. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Nilla Wafers/Nutter Butter (Nationwide)
I'm not really a big fan of Nilla Wafers or Nutter Butters, but I'm a fan of this bright yellow paint scheme.
Earnhardt, the Busch Series Champion in 1998 and 1999, started racing full-time at the series' highest level starting in 2000.
Since his departure to the Cup level, Earnhardt has run a very limited schedule in NASCAR's second tier.
In 2002, owner Richard Childress brought Earnhardt back to the Busch Series for two races—the season-opening EAS/GNC Live Well 300 at Daytona and the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Charlotte.
For those two races, Earnhardt would be sponsored by Nabisco products. At the season-opener, the No. 3 was sponsored by Oreo cookies for the race. At Charlotte, Earnhardt's ride would turn into this bright yellow paint scheme, associated with Nilla Wafers and Nutter Butters.
The two-time champion won the race at Daytona, but he would not have the same amount of luck a few weeks later at Charlotte.
Starting in 11th, Earnhardt ran up front for the first part of the race. However, he would be involved in an accident on the front stretch with Mark Green on the 84th lap. Earnhardt would receive damage to his car and would miss the rest of the race—he'd finish in 36th.
He didn't have great luck in the No. 3 machine, but it was still a great looking paint scheme.
19. No. 24 Jeff Gordon, DuPont Premier
Like a few paint schemes on this list, Jeff Gordon's gold and black No. 24 wasn't run in an official NASCAR race. Instead, it was run at the 1997 Busch Clash, an exhibition race that is run prior to the Daytona 500.
The Busch Clash, now known as the Budweiser Shootout, consisted of a 20-lap, 50-mile sprint for the previous season's pole-position winners. As of right now, the Shootout is made up of two segments: a 25-lap opening sprint, followed by a 50-lap race to the finish line.
As stated above, this specific paint scheme was run in the 1997 exhibition race, NASCAR's 49th year of existence.
The 50-mile race contained fourteen different drivers including Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, among other big names. There were also lower-tier drivers such as Johnny Benson Jr., Ted Musgrave, Ricky Craven and Jeremy Mayfield who hadn't made names for themselves just yet.
Gordon started the Busch Clash in 14th, the race's final position. He quickly worked his way up through the small pack and by the end of the race's conclusion, he had led nine laps and won the race. Wallace, Earnhardt, Ward Burton and Ernie Irvan rounded out the top five.
Gordon would switch back to his familiar rainbow scheme for the 500-mile race, thus ending that great-looking gold-and-black Premier scheme. Regardless, it was still a sleek paint scheme and even though I'm not a fan of Gordon, it's an awesome car. There's no doubting that.
Gordon would go on to win the 1997 Daytona 500, his first of three victories at the "Great American Race." He was just 25 years old at the time, successfully becoming the youngest driver to win the race (it has since been broken by Trevor Bayne, last year's winner).
Gordon's teammates, Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven, finished second and third, respectively. It was the first time in the race's history that teammates claimed a 1-2-3 finish.
18. No. 5 Terry Labonte, Frosted Flakes/Tony the Tiger
Terry Labonte definitely struck gold with this purple and orange paint scheme, honoring one of the best cereals ever, Frosted Flakes.
Over the course of the 1997 season, Labonte's regular paint scheme was sponsored by Kellogg's Corn Flakes.
But for one race, at the Miller 400 at Michigan, Hendrick Motorsports brought out the special Tony the Tiger paint scheme.
It's a very simple paint scheme, but it is a great one as well. It was a nice change from the typical red, white and yellow paint scheme that Labonte had driven for years, including the season prior when he claimed his second Winston Cup Championship.
Unfortunately, even though Labonte switched things up and featured a great paint scheme doesn't mean that he would have a great car.
The two-time champion started the day in the middle of the pack in 18th. However, handling became a serious issue throughout the race and he'd be out of the race by lap 135.
He finished the day in 39th, his worst effort of the season at that point. Regardless, it was a great, sleek paint scheme.
Prior to the Miller 400, Labonte was holding the points lead. Due to his 39th-place effort, Labonte dropped to third in the points standings. A few weeks later, Labonte posted back-to-back finishes of 35th (Pocono) and 40th (Indy), thus practically putting an end to his championship hopes. Labonte's teammate, Jeff Gordon, claimed his second of four championships.
17. No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Budweiser (Retro Edition)
This is undoubtedly a great paint scheme, even though I'm not a Junior fan. But it's still great and was by far one of the best paint schemes of the 2006 season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran this specific car the 2006 3M Performance 400 at Michigan and it proved to be a pretty good idea.
Junior, as he's so aptly named, started the weekend with a qualifying effort of sixth. He'd be strong throughout the entire day, leading three laps and coming home third.
Kasey Kahne won the race with Carl Edwards finishing ahead of Dale Jr.
As I'm sure y'all have noticed going through this slideshow, I'm a big, big fan of retro paint schemes or tributes to other drivers from the "old days." This is just one of them and it deserves to be in the top 20.
When I created this list, this car was one of the first few I put on there, meaning that it was a definite choice—I just needed to figure out where to put it amongst the other great schemes of the last thirty years. Regardless, it was definitely a great paint scheme that won't be forgotten any time soon.
16. No. 3 Dale Earnhardt, Wrangler Jeans
Dale Earnhardt always seemed to make a splash at the annual Winston All-Star Race.
In 1995, Earnhardt started the phenomenon of special paint schemes with his "Silverwrench" car. The following season, he came back with his Atlanta Olympics car. In 1997, Earnhardt brought in an all-orange Wheaties Chevrolet.
Two years later, Earnhardt came back with another cool paint scheme—a throwback edition of his old Wrangler Jeans car that he raced from 1981-87.
During those seven seasons, Earnhardt registered 25 wins, 84 top fives, 128 top tens and four poles. He also won two championships with that paint scheme as well.
So for the 1999 Winston, Earnhardt brought back his old sponsor, along with those yellow and blue colors.
Earnhardt started the night in the fifth position and finished the event in fourth. Terry Labonte won the 70-lap, star-studded race with Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon following suit.
That night gave us one of the coolest throwback paint schemes of all-time, thus earning the No. 14 spot on this list.
15. No. 15 Michael Waltrip, Aaron's/Darrell Waltrip Tribute
This is the only Michael Waltrip paint scheme on the list and it reaches the No. 13 spot, so it's got to be pretty good.
The younger Waltrip brother ran this specific paint scheme at the second Talladega race last season, honoring his brother's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
It was one of just three races the 2001 Daytona 500 champion ran last season—Waltrip also ran the Daytona 500, finishing in 40th and the Aaron's 499 at Talladega, coming in at 28th.
But the last race of his 2011 season was by far his best and it may be because his older brother was on the hood.
Waltrip started the day in 23rd and it looked as if there was a possibility that he could end up in victory lane, but that wasn't the case as he crossed the finish line in ninth.
Regardless, it was still a cool paint, while honoring his brother "DW" in the process.
14. No. 18 Kyle Busch, 9/11 Tribute
Sept. 11, 2001 was undoubtedly one of the worst days in our country's history. Over the years, we have seen several NASCAR drivers sport patriotic paint schemes, but none were as great as Kyle Busch's at Richmond last season.
M&M's decided to remove their logo from his car for that race, along with all the decals. The only decal that remained was that of Sprint Cup's. The rest of the car was red, white and blue as you can see.
It was truly a class act of a paint scheme, even though some argue that Busch is not a class act (but that's a different topic for a different day).
The Wonderful Pistachios 400, as we all know, is the last race before the Chase begins, which already adds excitement to the race. Patriotism added even more.
In an exciting race, Kevin Harvick fended off Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon to take the victory. David Ragan and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five, with Kyle and his America scheme coming home in sixth place.
Good race. Great paint scheme. Awesome patriotism.
13. No. 97 Kurt Busch, Sharpie's $1 Million Contest
I don't know why I've fancied this paint scheme since I saw it in the 2002 season, but I just have. Maybe it's because there's money scattered everywhere on the car and like most people, I love money. I think that's why I like it so much.
This is also one of a couple of paint schemes that ran one race and won it as well.
This car was run at the 2002 Food City 500 at Bristol, the sixth race of the season. Needless to say, Busch got off to a hot start for his full-time sophomore season.
Busch started the weekend with a mediocre effort, qualifying in the 27th position and as I stated before, Busch drove his way through the pack and finished the 500 laps in first place. (On a side note, I'd say Busch is one of the best Bristol drivers in NASCAR history).
His win at the Food City 500 was also the first win of his young career and the current James Finch driver has won 23 races since that day.
Busch would also win three more races during the rest of the season, all of which came in the last five weeks with victories at Martinsville, Atlanta and at the season finale at Homestead.
His Sharpie $1,000,000 Contest was definitely a great paint scheme and helped him win the first race of his career. Busch would also win the championship two years later, directly after his teammate Matt Kenseth gave Jack Roush his first Cup championship in 2003.
12. No. 00 David Reutimann, Burger King/The Simpsons Movie
23 seasons. 498 episodes. One movie. The longest-running sitcom of all-time.
What show am I talking about? None other than The Simpsons, which appears regularly on the FOX Network at 8 PM E/T on Sundays throughout the year.
On July 27, 2007, The Simpsons Movie came out in theaters and was celebrated by David Reutimann's No. 00 Domino's Pizza Toyota at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 29.
Although Reutimann did not have the outing he was expecting, it was still an awesome paint scheme, in tribute to the longest-running, American prime time, scripted television series.
Reutimann started the day in the 34th position, only to blow an engine on the 92nd lap. He finished the day in the 38th position (Tony Stewart won the race in case you're wondering).
Regardless, it was a truly cool paint scheme and that's why it earns the No. 11 spot on this list.
11. No. 44 A.J. Allmendinger, Ford: Drive One/Richard Petty Retro
This car may not be as flashy as some of the other ones on this list, but it is a well-designed race car.
Allmendinger ran a total of 44 races in 2007 and 2008 before racing full-time in 2009 for Richard Petty Motorsports.
This specific paint scheme was run in the final three events of the 2009 season—at the Dickies 500 at Texas, the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix and the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead.
"The Dinger" had his best three-race stretch of the season during that span, earning finishes of 10th, 13th and 10th, respectively.
This paint scheme could be considered a throwback, as it has striking similarities to Richard Petty's old paint scheme, most notably the car he ran at the 1984 Firecracker 400. The 1984 race is perhaps best known as Petty's 200th and final trip to victory lane.
Regardless, Allmendinger's paint scheme in the final three races of the 2009 season is definitely one of the best editions of the last 30 years.
10. No. 3 Dale Earnhardt, Wheaties
Dale Earnhardt always seemed to have great paint schemes over the years, ranging anywhere from his traditional all-black Goodwrench car to his blue-and-yellow Wrangler Jeans scheme to the one pictured in this slide.
Yes, this paint scheme is not flashy, nor is it something we'd think "The Intimidator" would drive, but he did drive it in the 1997 Winston, NASCAR's annual all-star race.
In 1997, Wheaties depicted a race car driver, Earnhardt, for the very first time on one of their boxes.
Prior to Earnhardt's edition, we had seen people and teams such as Walter Payton, Michael Jordan, Lou Gehrig, Mary Lou Retton, the 1987 World Series Champion Minnesota Twins, the 1991 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, among others grace the cover of the famed cereal box.
Then it was Earnhardt's turn.
As stated above, this bright orange paint scheme was run at the 1997 Winston, an event that he had won three times prior in 1987, 1990 and 1993.
Unfortunately, Earnhardt would not claim his fourth victory in the event this time as Jeff Gordon took home the checkered flag. Brothers Bobby and Terry Labonte finished second and third respectively with Earnhardt finishing in fourth.
However, it was still an awesome paint scheme from the seven-time Winston Cup Champion.
9. No. 24 Jeff Gordon, DuPont/Chromalusion
This is perhaps one of the most revolutionary paint schemes of all-time.
The 1998 season, also the sport's 50th anniversary, was an exciting campaign in which we saw Dale Earnhardt win the Daytona 500 for the first and only time in his career after many unsuccessful tries. We also saw this paint scheme hit the pavement in the annual Winston All-Star Race.
Some of you that have never seen this car may wonder why it is so special. Well, why is it?
Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet, also known as the "Chromalusion", changed colors as the time progressed and during the race. We had never seen anything like it at that point in time and it was simply wowing (even though I loathe Gordon more than anybody).
It was a great paint scheme without a doubt.
But back to the race. Gordon, the eventual 1998 Winston Cup Champion, started the night in the fourth position. However, it wouldn't get better from there as he would finish in 12th—Mark Martin won the race and claimed the big money prize.
Gordon didn't win the race, but it revolutionized paint schemes forever. It was truly a classic paint scheme.
Even though Gordon came in 12th in the Winston, he won the third-most money in the race. Martin, the winner, won $257,500 while Bobby Labonte, who came in second, claimed $100,000. Gordon earned a cool $83,500 while 16th-place finisher Jeremy Mayfield won $77,096. No other driver claimed more than $60,000.
8. No. 28 Davey Allison, Havoline
Who knows what Davey Allison could have become? He could have been a Hall-of-Fame caliber driver or a mediocre driver that consistently ran in the middle of the pack in the middle part of his career. Regardless, Allison's life was cut way too short—he was just 22 years old at the time of his passing.
Allison ran three races in 1985 and five in 1986 and then went full-time in 1987, as he won Rookie of the Year honors.
The Hueytown, Alabama native ran this car during the 1987 season, successfully making 22 of the 29 races. Along the way, Allison collected two wins, nine top fives, ten top tens and five poles, while finishing 21st in the final point standings.
He also ran the car in 1988 as well, accumulating two wins, 12 top fives, 16 top tens and three poles. Allison finished the season eighth in points, as Bill Elliott collected the championship hardware.
Allison's No. 28 scheme was truly one of the best of that era and definitely one of the best of all-time.
7. No. 94 Bill Elliott, Get Back with Big Mac
This paint scheme may have that classic "1970's hippie look", but it was a great looking version.
Bill Elliott, who was sponsored by McDonald's for most of the 1990's, saw many different paint schemes in 1998, NASCAR's 50th anniversary.
Some of these sponsors included the one pictured in this slide, Service Merchandise, McDonalds' Happy Meal, Mac Tonight, NASCAR's 50th Anniversary and of course, his typical paint scheme he ran throughout the 1998 season.
Some of you may be wondering: Why did Elliott's car look like this when the special occasion was just the Big Mac?
Well, this paint scheme was put together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Big Mac, perhaps one of the most well-known fast food sandwiches in the United States and maybe, the world.
The former Winston Cup Champion ran this specific paint scheme at two races during the 1998 season -- at the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 at Richmond and two weeks later at the NAPA Autocare 500 at Martinsville.
Starting in 21st at Richmond, Elliott blew an engine and finished in 40th. The following race at Martinsville, the 1988 champion started in 20th but steadily worked his way through the pack and finished in seventh, his fifth and last top 10 of the season.
Elliott may have not had a solid season, but he had some lustrous paint schemes throughout the year.
This car was run a third time during the season, just not by Elliott. A young hotshot by the name of Matt Kenseth filled in for Elliott at the MBNA Gold 400 at Dover. Kenseth started the race in 16th and finished in sixth, his only race of the entire season.
6. No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mountain Dew (Retro Edition)
It came as quite a surprise when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announced that he would be leaving the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet for the No. 88 Rick Hendrick-owned ride prior to the 2008 season.
After the 2004 season, NASCAR announced that they would remove one of the Darlington races from the schedule and instead, the Sprint Cup Series would race there just one time per season.
For the 2008 Southern 500, the No. 88 suffered a flashback and transformed into the car pictured in this slide.
The retro paint scheme honored the old edition that Darrell Waltrip, affectionately known as "Jaws," drove during the 1981 and 1982 seasons. During the two-year span, Waltrip won both championships for Junior Johnson, accumulating 18 poles, 24 wins, 38 top fives and 45 top tens.
Also during that span, Waltrip won the CRC Chemicals Rebel 500 at the track known as "The Lady in Black" and would go on to finish second in the Southern 500 later in the year.
Earnhardt's weekend got off to a great start, notching a second-place qualifying effort. He would go on to run up front throughout the entire race, leading 35 laps and would eventually place fourth. Kyle Busch won the race in his Mint Crisp M&Ms/Indiana Jones paint scheme that was featured earlier in this slideshow.
From 1970-79, the Winston Cup Series ran a total of twenty races at Darlington. During that span, the twenty possible wins were shared among just six drivers: David Pearson (eight times), Bobby Allison (four times), Cale Yarborough (three times), Buddy Baker (two times), Darrell Waltrip (two times) and Benny Parsons (one time).
Since 2000, there have been 17 races run at Darlington and 13 different drivers have won. The only drivers to win more than once since 2000 are Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle and Ward Burton.
5. No. 24 Jeff Gordon, Pepsi Challenger
The sixth-best paint scheme of the last 30 years belongs to Jeff Gordon, who has appeared on this list quite a bit.
Gordon's No. 24 Pepsi Challenger Chevrolet was in tribute to Darrell Waltrip's No. 11 that he drove for Junior Johnson in 1983.
Gordon ran this scheme at the ninth race of the season, the Aaron's 499 at Talladega.
His weekend got off to a fairly decent start, as he qualified in the 14th position.
However, he would be involved in the "Big One," which occurred on the eighth lap of the race, involving 14 cars including Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and others.
Gordon would get his car back on the track, but he would finish 60 laps down in the 37th position, tied for his worst finish of the 2009 season.
He didn't have the day he wanted, but he gave us an awesome retro scheme to look at.
4. No. 5 Terry Labonte, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Ah, the last Terry Labonte paint scheme in this slideshow.
It became somewhat clear that Labonte was past his prime in 2000 even though he was just four years removed from his second Winston Cup Championship.
Labonte featured a number of different sponsors throughout the season, including his main sponsor Kellogg's, along with Frosted Flakes, Cherry Berry Swirl Froot Loops and others.
The fictional character, The Grinch, even appeared on his Chevrolet for a couple of races. For the idea, Labonte's paint scheme would change into a Christmas-like paint scheme with the green and red colors.
This car would first appear at the Checker Auto Parts Dura Lube 500K at Phoenix and the following week at the Pennzoil 400 at Homestead.
Known for his notoriously bad qualifying efforts during the 2000 season, Labonte started the two races in 38th and 39th, respectively. At Phoenix, the former two-time champion worked his way through the field and finished the 312 laps in 17th. The following weekend, Labonte struggled and came home in 25th.
But it was still a good weekend for the elder brother.
Labonte's younger brother, Bobby, clinched the championship at Homestead and would eventually finish the season 265 points ahead of runner-up and fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt.
The car never seemed to run up front, but it was an awesome looking paint scheme.
Over the 2000 season, Labonte started 30th or worse in 19 of the 34 races. However, he did claim a pole at the DirecTV 500 at Texas, his only top-five start of the season.
Terry and Bobby Labonte are the only pair of brothers to win a Sprint Cup Championship. Darrell Waltrip won three championships, but Michael never won one. Bobby Allison won the 1983 championship, but Donnie only won ten races over his career.
Kurt Busch won the 2004 championship, yet Kyle hasn't won one. Benny Parsons won the 1973 championship, but his brother Phil only won one race. And of course, Richard Petty claimed seven championships over his career, but his brother Maurice never won a single race.
3. No. 3 Dale Earnhardt, Bass Pro Shops
Here's yet another Dale Earnhardt paint scheme that he ran exclusively at The Winston.
So far, we've seen schemes such as the "Silverwrench," the 1996 Olympics edition, the Wheaties edition and the Wrangler throwback run in the annual all-star race.
For the 1998 Winston, Earnhardt was sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and his No. 3 would go from that same black paint scheme to this gold paint scheme with a little black on the hood and top of the car.
However, Earnhardt's gold and black paint scheme would not last long.
On the ninth lap of the race, Darrell Waltrip, driving the No. 1 Pennzoil for Dale Earnhardt Inc., blew an engine in the first turn, causing a wreck involving John Andretti and Earnhardt.
The seven-time champion hit the wall fairly hard and the damage would not be repairable.
Earnhardt started the night 19th and finished the night in the very same position. Mark Martin won the race after Jeff Gordon ran out of gas on the last lap.
The paint scheme may have been very, very short lived, but it is by far one of most classic paint schemes of all-time.
2. No. 94 Bill Elliott, Mac Tonight
Bill Elliott's No. 94 Mac Tonight Ford is just one of many paint schemes featured on this list that were run just one time.
This specific scheme was run in 1998, just like the "Get Back with Big Mac" scheme that was featured a few slides ago.
During the season in which NASCAR honored their 50th anniversary, Elliott ran this car at the Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Bristol on Aug. 22.
The 1988 champion started the race in 27th, but slowly worked his way up to a finishing position of 19th. Mark Martin won the race with his teammate Jeff Burton in second. Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five.
I've always thought this was one of the coolest paint schemes in NASCAR history. And I'm not just saying that because he's my favorite driver of all-time. I'm saying it because it is a truly classic paint scheme.
The familiar red and yellow Thunderbird transformed into this blue, night-looking paint scheme for the annual race. A cartoon moon was put on the hood, directly beside the McDonalds logo.
Elliott's No. 94 Mac Tonight Ford is definitely one of the most brilliant and glistening paint schemes of all-time. Hands down.
With that being said, we now move on to the coolest paint scheme of all-time.
1. No. 3 Dale Earnhardt, Peter Max
And the best paint scheme of all-time is? Drum roll, please.
Dale Earnhardt's No. 3 Peter Max paint scheme.
I have heard some people say it is undoubtedly the ugliest paint scheme of all-time and I've heard some people say it's the best one ever. I happen to side with the latter on this one.
This paint scheme is the last Earnhardt car on this list that was ran at the annual All-Star race. Unfortunately, it would also be the last All-Star race Earnhardt would ever compete in.
However, it was a great race as we saw his son take home the checkered flag for his third-ever Sprint Cup victory, even though it wasn't an official race.
Earnhardt, decked out in his car that resembles people just throwing buckets of paint on it, started the night in 12th. He would go on to finish 70 laps in third, a traditional spot for "The Intimidator" to finish.
After the race was over, Earnhardt joined his son in victory lane for an emotional moment. It was one of the greatest moments in recent memory.
Great paint scheme. Great race. There's not much more you can say about the 2000 Winston.