The top 10 paint schemes of the 2023 season were voted on by members of the Frontstretch staff.
All schemes had to be a NASCAR Cup Series scheme that ran during the season, and no Darlington Raceway throwbacks were permitted in the vote.
A points system was used to determine the top 10 schemes of the season.
Seventy-five years of NASCAR is in the books, the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car’s sophomore season has wrapped and the holiday season is upon us. While the only NASCAR noise is the sound of engines in our heads, there are off-season activities for fans and industry members to enjoy. For some, that is going back and selecting their favorite schemes of the year.
With another year of the Next Gen car down, designers continued to get more creative with the extra space on the door, producing some absolute heat.
For the second year in a row, Frontstretch has you covered on our top 10 paint schemes of the 2023 NASCAR season. Click here to read the 2022 edition.
10. Erik Jones, No. 43 STP Chevrolet
If a race had to be selected for having some of the paint schemes, the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway has to be among the candidates. In NASCAR’s Field of Dreams-like return to the iconic track, Legacy Motor Club decided to dress Erik Jones‘ No. 43 fit for the occasion. It was a return of the STP colors to the .625-mile track.
Like bubblegum and baseball, the STP colors and NASCAR just go together, thanks to a certain seven-time champion in the No. 43. Jones drove the Richard Petty blue-and-tomato-red colors under the lights. The brand’s return to the track after a year off was warmly welcomed, and this scheme became an instant classic of the 2023 season.
9. Tyler Reddick, No. 45 Jordan Brand Retro Jordan 8 Toyota
When it was announced that Michael Jordan would be a co-owner of 23XI Racing, designers immediately fantasized the famed Jumpman logo on a Cup car. They got their wish in 2022, and the brand visited victory lane in its primary debut on Kurt Busch‘s No. 45, our top scheme of 2022. The inspiration only grew from there, as the Jordan logo appeared on the hood of Reddick’s No. 45 several times throughout 2023.
While many schemes earned votes from our staff, the job in the playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a favorite. Inspired by the Retro Jordan 8 shoes, the scheme screams basketball, with bold colors printed over the car to make a one-of-a-kind design.
8. Justin Haley, No. 31 MTN Dew Chevrolet
Mountain Dew returned as a primary sponsor for the first time since 2020, this time on Justin Haley‘s No. 31 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. And what a return it was.
The designer of this car deserves a raise for simply taking advantage of the extra space on the door. Between the logos and design, the scheme flowed easily from its white nose to the dark green rear bumper. The car ran at the Bristol Motor Speedway night race, making it stand out among its peers under the lights.
7. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Coca-Cola Toyota
Not only does No. 7 keep the soft drink trend going, it also brings perhaps the largest beverage rivalry together once again. Just topping Pepsi-Cola’s Mountain Dew is Denny Hamlin‘s No. 11 Coca-Cola Toyota. For the second year in a row, Coke’s famous colors and iconic logo returned on Hamlin’s car at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
What makes this scheme so good is the simple, classic look that it brings. Sure, it doesn’t have eye-popping designs like the Mountain Dew car, but that is exactly how a Coca-Cola car should look. They used the necessary space and finished it off with a chrome number.
6. Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford
How can you leave the champion off this list? Ryan Blaney certainly brought the fire on his No. 12 this year, and for the second year in a row, his Advance Auto Parts scheme made the cut.
This was another scheme that had a simple, yet clean look to it. More yellow was added along the door and quarter panels of the car, pairing it nicely with the black base. The team switched to black in mid-2021 after originally having a red base, and here’s hoping that stays the same in 2024.
5. Bubba Wallace, No. 23 Columbia Star Wars Toyota
“Remember, Bubba, the force will be with you.” In a clever marketing ad featuring Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, 23XI broke out a new scheme for the season finale promoting Columbia’s new line of Star Wars clothing. This scheme was certainly in a whole other galaxy (see what I did there?).
Resembling the X-wing Starfighter that Hamill’s character Luke Skywalker piloted along with the Resistance, Wallace’s final scheme became an instant favorite (and likely made reigning champion Blaney jealous).
4. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Busch Light Ford
As Kevin Harvick toured the circuit for the last time as a full-time Cup driver, he didn’t go without a touching tribute that certainly brought back all the memories for his loyal fans.
At the All-Star Race, Harvick drove the No. 29 one final time, a number that was on his Cup door for 13 seasons. The scheme threw back to Harvick’s first career win at Atlanta Motor Speedway in just his third career start. Of course, this was made even more special considering Harvick had just filled the car of Dale Earnhardt, weeks after the icon passed away in a crash during the Daytona 500. It even won best paint scheme in NASCAR’s 2023 Fan Choice Awards.
3. Tyler Reddick, No. 45 Star Wars Toyota
“Tyler, you will face the power of the dark side.” To combat Wallace’s No. 23 X-Wing, 23XI gave Reddick a fighter jet of his own. This featured a look similar to the TIE fighter from the Star Wars movies.
With a darker, sleeker look to it, the battle for the Resistance vs. the Empire moves into the form of paint schemes.
2. Ryan Preece, No. 41 Wonder Bread Ford
Unfortunately, Ricky Bobby’s “If you ain’t first, you’re last” mantra didn’t quite land the top spot here for Ryan Preece‘s throwback to Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. But it sure came close.
Featuring the “shake ‘n’ bake” duo of Preece’s Wonder Bread car and Chase Briscoe‘s No. 14 Old Spice Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing paid tribute to the movie at the fall Talladega Superspeedway race. Both schemes were instant fan favorites, and Preece’s featured the familiar red, blue, yellow and white colors of Wonder Bread that lands this scheme in the runner-up spot.
1. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Budweiser Ford
As Harvick has closed a championship, Hall-of-Fame-worthy career, he goes out on top in the paint scheme department in our rankings. When the 47-year-old returned to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final time, it was only fitting that it be celebrated by revisiting the pinnacle of his career.
SHR surprised Harvick with the scheme he raced to the 2014 Cup title, complete with Budweiser sponsorship, Harvick’s primary sponsor for six seasons. Not only was the classic red-and-white look back, the team also touched it off with the yellow roof number that mirrored the playoff colors from 2014.
Harvick had plenty of memorable schemes to go out with, but this one takes the cake for 2023.
Alex Bowman‘s No. 48 Ally Chevrolet
Aric Almirola‘s No. 10 IHOP Ford
Chris Buescher‘s No. 17 Fastenal Night Ford
Brad Keselowski‘s No. 6 Castrol GTX Ford
Reddick’s No. 45 Jordan Carolina Blue Toyota
Top NASCAR Xfinity Series & NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Paint Schemes
Xfinity: Justin Allgaier, No. 7 Reese’s Ice Cream Chevrolet
The NASCAR Xfinity Series schemes were no easy choice, as several clean looks hit the track. Overall, Justin Allgaier‘s Reese’s Ice Cream machine stood out above the rest. Featuring the eye-popping orange and yellow colors, bold logos and nicely placed ice cream bars themselves, this scheme was hotter than the Texas heat.
Trucks: Tanner Gray, No. 15 Cosmetic Gasket/Factory Canopies Toyota
What better way to close out 2023 at Phoenix Raceway with a Valley of the Sun look? Tanner Gray‘s Cosmetic Gasket/Factory Canopies ride glistened as the sun hit its golden hour. The truck transitioned from a purple base up top down to a desert valley scene below, fitted with colors of a sunset.
If you’re a Phoenix Suns fan or are familiar with their city edition uniforms the past few seasons, these give off those vibes. It was a great way to ride off into the sunset on the 2023 campaign.
About the author
Luken Glover joined the Frontstretch team in 2020 as a contributor, furthering a love for racing that traces back to his earliest memories. Glover inherited his passion for racing from his grandfather, who used to help former NASCAR team owner Junie Donlavey in his Richmond, Va. garage. A 2023 graduate from the University of the Cumberlands, Glover is the author of "The Underdog House," contributes to commentary pieces, and does occasional at-track reporting. Additionally, Glover enjoys working in ministry, coaching basketball, playing sports, and karting.
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