In 1949, NASCAR officially began and since then it has turned stock car racing into one of the most profitable sports in the World. The idea came from prohibition in the 1930’s when drivers of illegal moonshine had to modify cars to be faster, sharper, and better overall just to be able to avoid law enforcement when necessary.
NASCAR took the idea of turning cars into modified cars into a sport that has lasted ever since.
Fans of the sport come from all over and they love to watch the races, not just for the crashes, but also for the drama of a last second finish or two drivers going at each other following a tough race. There are many things about the sport the fans love to see but the number one thing they love most, the paint schemes.
Over the years, the paint schemes and sponsorship of the cars have become the biggest part of the sport. Each year it seems that drivers have a new paint scheme for each race.
Part 1 of a 4-part series is going to cover the beginning of the sport up until 1989.
Here are the 30 best paint schemes from NASCAR’s 40 years.
30. 1985 No.1 Davey Allison, Lancaster
Davey Allison is one of NASCAR’s legends that died too soon.
29. 1987 No.6 Mark Martin, Stroh’s Light
Have you ever had a Stroh’s Light? It isn’t around anymore but the company was purchased back in 2000 by Pabst Brewing Company.
28. 1986 No.88 Buddy Baker, Crisco
This paint scheme is as funny as it is beautiful. Buddy Baker didn’t drive it for many years but when he did, it left a lasting impression along the way.
27. 1988 No.98 Ed Pimm, Sunoco
When you say they are filling up a race car with Sunoco, you have won as a sponsor. Now your brand has replaced the word fuel in NASCAR. Ed Pimm drove the Sunoco No.98 back in the 80’s.
26. 1971 No.21 David Pearson Purolator
David Pearson is one of the better drivers in the history of NASCAR and he drove the No.21 Purolator for many years. He won several races in this vehicle making the paint scheme even better than it looks.
25. 1983 No.27 Tim Richmond, Old Milwaukee
Nothing is more classic than Tim Richmond’s No.27 Old Milwaukee stock car.
24. 1974 No.15 George Fullmer, RC Cola
There is not much to say about RC-Cola except for how popular it was in the early 70’s.
23. 1981 No.28 Cale Yarborough, Hardee’s
Orange isn’t a good idea for a stock car, at least not in the 80’s. But the No.28 Hardee’s was perfectly painted to use the color scheme of its’ sponsors to perfection.
22. 1979 No.3 Richard Childress, CRC
Before Richard Childress was running racing teams, he was racing the CRC No.3.
21. 1989 No.21 Neil Bonnett, Citgo
Citgo has a logo made for NASCAR and it comes as no surprise to see the paint scheme make this list.
20. 1989 No.42 Kyle Petty, Peak Antifreeze
Kyle Petty was never as good as his brother Richard Petty but he did manage to have some of the best paint schemes in NASCAR’s early years.
19. 1983 No.3 Ricky Rudd, Piedmont Airlines
A paint scheme doesn’t have to be lavish and colorful to be good. It can be as simple as this one and still earn a spot on the list.
18. 1972 No.29 Red Farmer, Long-Lewis
The gold paint on the sides matched perfectly with the white on the hood and top to create a beautiful paint scheme from the early 70’s. This was one of the few paint schemes that used gold as the main color.
17. 1984 No.47 Ron Bouchard, Majik Market/Hawaiian Punch
If only Hawaiian Punch could have been the main sponsor and we could have seen a crazy dude with a drink playing in the waves on the hood.
16. 1977 No.28 Buddy Baker, NAPA
NAPA and NASCAR go together like milk and cookies. Buddy Baker spent a lot of time racing the No.28 NAPA sponsored stock car.
15. 1985 No.28 Davey Allison, Texaco-Havoline
Texaco-Havoline has been a sponsor for NASCAR for a very long time. Davey Allison was lucky enough to call this his own vehicle during the 1985 season.
14. 1985 No.7 Kyle Petty, 7-11
Kyle Petty worked out a great sponsorship with 7-11 that turned into one of the best ideas for a paint scheme ever when he used his own car number as part of the sponsor’s design.
13. 1971 No.12 Bobby Allison, Coca-Cola
The biggest sponsor missing from the paint schemes of today is Coca-Cola. During the 70’s, it was one of the best and for some reason, it hasn’t had much of a presence since.
12. 1983 No.1 Buddy Baker, UNO
Are you laughing yet? The No.1 UNO car is as real as it gets.
11. 1985 No.55 Benny Parsons, Copenhagen
If a NASCAR shows up with snuff written across the grill, you can bet all the money in your pockets that it will be banned. Benny Parsons rode the Copenhagen Snuff long before NASCAR started banning certain sponsors.
10. 1982 No.11 Darrell Waltrip, Mountain Dew
For Darrell Waltrip, you can pick either the Mountain Dew or Gatorade as your favorite paint schemes of his illustrious career. However, as amazing as the Mountain Dew sponsored paint scheme was, it was not nearly as great as the other one. Not even close.
9. 1988 No.12 Bobby Allison, Miller High Life
Bobby Allison turned the Miller High Life No.12 into a vintage NASCAR. Not only is he one of the best drivers of all-time, the car has become a legend in its’ own right.
8. 1987 No.27 Rusty Wallace, Kodiak
If your sponsor is a bear, why not feature it on the hood of your race car?
7. 1986 No.33 Harry Gant, Skoal Bandit
Harry Gant drove around in a green stock car with the Skoal Bandit paint scheme for a very long time. So long that he made more than just this list.
6. 1989 No.30 Michael Waltrip, Country Time Lemonade
What is it about the color yellow that makes a bland NASCAR paint scheme jump out?
5. 1976 No.11 Cale Yarborough, Holly Farms
Cale Yarborough wasn’t just good, he was great. He rode the No.11 Holly Farms NASCAR for a long time so the paint scheme has become legendary amongst NASCAR fans.
4. 1985 No. 5 Geoff Bodine, Levi Garrett
As far as classic paint schemes go, the No.5 Levi Garrett one was one of the all-time best.
3. 1986 No.3 Dale Earnhardt Sr., Wrangler Jeans
Before Goodwrench, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was driving around in the Wrangler Jeans No.3. Not only was it a classic stock car, it was the blue and yellow paint scheme that earned it a spot on this list.
2. 1978 No.88 Darrell Waltrip, Gatorade
If you watch NASCAR on FOX, you have heard about DW. Before he was in the booth, he was a one man wrecking crew that helped turn NASCAR into the sport it is today.
1. Richard Petty’s No.43 STP
Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth, Joe Montana, and Richard Petty are all synonymous with winning and are the faces of their respective sports. Sports fans that don’t follow NASCAR can tell you about Richard Petty’s dominance in the sport, he was just that good. He drove just about everything you could think of but stayed true to the STP sponsorship making his paint scheme easily the best NASCAR has seen in its’ first 40 years.