Special Season

Special paint schemes in NASCAR have become a common occurrence every race weekend, whether you like it or not, corporate sponsors and teams have put together promotions to sell more die-casts and apparel, and this collectible phenomenon has seemed to work.

From Major League Baseball, to movies, about everything has been adorned on a Winston Cup car. Even an artist has had his work promoted on the late Dale Earnhardt's car that he drove in the 2000 Winston.

Peter Max, one of America's most-renowned pop artists, designed Earnhardt's Chevrolet Monte Carlo with vivid colors for the all-star event. Earnhardt finished 3rd in that car, in what turned out to be his last Winston, but it was a memorable one, as he shared Victory Lane that night in Charlotte with his son Dale Jr. as he became the first rookie to win the event.

The special paint scheme wouldn't be where it is today if it wasn't for Earnhardt and Richard Childress Racing. The trend started when Earnhardt switched his regularly black ride for a silver one in the 1995 all-star race, using the new color as a tribute to sponsor R.J. Reynolds' 25th anniversary in NASCAR.

Earnhardt also ran an U.S. Olympics, Wheaties, Bass Pro Shops and Wrangler scheme in previous Winston's.

The special paint scheme program has even moved into the Busch Series, NHRA, and World of Outlaws.

What was your favorite special paint scheme of 2003? Read on to see if yours made RacingOne's Top 10 special schemes (Excluding multi-car promotions: Looney Tunes, Rock & Roll, and "Victory Lap") of the NASCAR season, where Jamie McMurray's Davey Allison Tribute Dodge took home the No. 1 honor

RacingOne's Top 10 Special Paint Scheme's of 2003

1. Jamie McMurray's Davey Allison Tribute Havoline Dodge: This car, raced at Talladega in September, featured the retro Texaco "Battlestar" paint scheme on the No. 42 Dodge. The scheme resembled the car Allison drove during his 1987 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rookie campaign. Although the scheme was on a Dodge, it was a perfect tribute to Allison, who was an important part of Havoline Racing's history, on the 10-year anniversary of his untimely passing.

2. Ryan Newman's Penske's 50th Win ALLTEL Dodge: To commemorate Penske's 50th NASCAR Winston Cup victory Newman had his No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge painted to replicate the 1973 American Motors Matador that Mark Donohue drove to Penske's first win. Newman, who won Penske's 50th race at Michigan in August, drove this car to the pole and a 5th place finish at Rockingham in November.

3. Jimmie Johnson's SpongeBob SquarePants Lowe's Chevrolet: Johnson teamed up with Nickelodeon's own SpongeBob SquarePants for one of the most popular single-driver-merchandising programs of the year. Lowe's American Tradition Signature Colors Design Centers and SpongeBob's friend Patrick also were on the No. 48 Monte Carlo at Daytona in July. Be sure to check out the FanShop's great selection of SpongeBob NASCAR merchandise that will make the perfect gift for any Jimmie Johnson fan.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr's DMP Chance 2 Chevrolet: This paint scheme was designed by Dale Jr. and represented the Dirty Mo' Posse (D.M.P.) - Junior's close circle of friends. He drove this car to victory (His third-straight Busch victory of the season) at Daytona in July after leading every lap.

5. Dave Blaney's Panther Power Ford: This mean looking car, which featured eyes in the headlights and fierce looking teeth similar to a fighter plane, finished second in The Winston Open at Lowe's Motor Speedway. After its strong performance, the black and green "Panther Power" car was brought back for the Coca-Cola 600 where it finished 14th.

6. Ricky Rudd's 700th Consecutive Start Motorcraft Ford: Ricky's eight-year-old son Landon helped Motorcraft pay tribute to his dad, who made his 700th Consecutive start at Pocono in July, by designing a wild looking paint scheme for the No. 21 Ford. The car also carried a personal message from Landon to his father behind the car number and on the back of the car that says, "Go, Dad!"

7. Kyle Petty's "Hands to Victory" Brawny Dodge: This car, raced at Rockingham in the fall, featured the handprints and autographs of 46 Winston Cup drivers to help celebrate and recognize those who are currently lending a hand to build the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

8. Mark Martin 500th Consecutive Start Viagra Ford: Martin raced a special gold and black paint scheme at New Hampshire in September to celebrate his 500th consecutive start. The scheme also carried a logo commemorating Major League Baseball star Rafael Palmeiro on becoming one of only 18 players in MLB history to hit 500 home runs.

9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt Tribute Concert Chance 2 Chevrolet: This special guitar-themed No. 8 was raced in the Busch event at Talladega superspeedway in April. The car promoted The Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert, which was the first major benefit for The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. The concert, held on June 28th, was a huge success as an overwhelmingly large crowd was treated to seven, Grammy Award-winning acts.

10. Jeff Gordon's Wright Brothers Dupont Chevrolet: The best of four special paint scheme's featured on the Dupont Chevrolet this season; this car honored the historic 100-year anniversary of that first gasoline-powered flight at Kitty Hawk. Gordon, a driver that is famous for his unique special paint schemes, finished 8th in The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Wilbur and Orville Wright machine.

Worst Paint Scheme of 2003

Elliott Sadler's "Groovy Summer" M&M's Ford: Raced at Daytona and Chicago, this hippie-mobile looked liked Elliott lost his lunch all over the car.

Best Standard Scheme of 2003

Kevin Harvick's GM Goodwrench Chevrolet: This season the No. 29 Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo featured more of the traditional black that Dale Earnhardt made famous in the past. This was Harvick's third different paint scheme in his third season in Cup, and it looks like they now have got a keeper.

2004 Special Paint Scheme Preview:

Kevin Harvick: This year the Hershey's is giving one lucky couple the chance to make race day their big day with a special wedding event hosted prior to the green flag start of the Hershey's Kisses 300 Busch race. Harvick will run a Hershey's Kisses car in conjunction with Hershey's Tie the Knot contest.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: For third-straight year Junior will run a Blue Nabisco/Oreo Car in the season-opener Busch Series event at Daytona. He will also run a white and red "Born on Date" car at Daytona in the Bud Shootout and 500.
Dale Jarrett: Jarrett is scheduled to run a "Tribute To A Legend" paint scheme at Atlanta in March. This scheme will honor Arnold Palmer as he will be competing in his 50th consecutive run for the famous "Green Jacket" in the April Masters Tournament.
Tony Stewart: Not exactly sure when this will run, but I'm hearing Stewart will have a Home Depot reverse paint scheme in two races that will probably be similar to Robby Gordon's reverse scheme in the past. Stewart will also run a SHREK 2 car in the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Bobby Labonte: Labonte will follow-up Stewart and run a SHREK 2 scheme in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's.
Sterling Marlin: Marlin is scheduled to run a Kentucky Derby 130th Anniversary paint scheme at California in May.

2004 Standard Paint Scheme Preview

Brian Vickers: The 2003 Busch Series champion will bring his sponsor-GMAC Financial over to Winston Cup. Kyle Busch's sponsor-ditech.com will also join GMAC on the No. 25 next season.
Terry Labonte: The Red, Yellow and Black Delphi colors from the No. 25 in 2002 will join Kellogg's on the No. 5 next season.
Jamie McMurray: NASCAR fans got a sneak peek at the 2004 Havoline Dodge at the Bristol race in August. Next season the No. 42 will return to the familiar black, red and yellow paint scheme that was made famous on the No. 28 Ford. The famous "Texaco Star" will also return on the hood.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: It appears Junior's No. 8 will remain the same in 2004 except the Budweiser "Crown B" logo will be on the decklid.
Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch: Proposed layouts have Roush's entire fleet of cars changing in some way. Busch's Sharpie Ford will be black and gold and Biffle will have a red, white and blue car with sponorship from the National Guard and Subway-not Grainger.


Paint Scheme Poll Results

Discuss your favorite: Best Scheme, Worst Scheme

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2003

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