Dale Earnhardt Jr Patriotic Paint Scheme Lacking at Daytona in July

Dale Earnhardt Jr tried to run a patriotic paint scheme at Daytona – Too late – Hendrick Motorsports does interesting things to their restrictor-plate paint jobs, preventing the late switch

Dale Earnhardt Jr ran a poll on the Red-White-Blue Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car. Asking fans if he should run it again? This is the same car he ran in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Back in May Dale Earnhardt Jr expressed his likeness of the patriot paint scheme, “I’m digging this weekends Nationwide88 scheme! So much so….”

He asked the fans is he should run that paint scheme again in the July 1st race at Daytona. That race is held during the week of July 4th, Independence Day. 89% said, “Yes, That’s a great idea!” Well, now the poll winning car won’t be allowed to run.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr Patriotic Nationwide Insurance Paint Scheme - Charlotte
Dale Earnhardt Jr runs patriotic Nationwide Insurance paint scheme in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Dale Earnhardt Jr noticed the team didn’t have a patriotic paint scheme in place for the upcoming July event. He tried to change that, “We talked about running the memorial car in the July race. We have not run a patriotic paint scheme on the July Daytona race (in the past). There was outrage.”

Dale Jr tried to step in front of the situation, “I was trying to preemptively avoid outrage. We had a great looking memorial day car for Charlotte. I said, ‘Why don’t we run this at Daytona?’ makes perfect sense.”

It takes awhile for these things to be approved. “Fans said, ‘Yes that’s a great idea.’ but by the time it went all the way up the flagpole, it got to the right people that make that decision. They though, ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea.’ ”

It was approved, just too late, “Well, the Daytona cars are already in the paint booth. Getting painted, with our original paint scheme. So, it’s too late. I think we’re about a day or two, too late.”

So, why not just re-paint it?

Dale Jr voices the feedback, “People are like well, ‘Just paint it the other color.’

But Hendrick Motorsports does something very interesting to their Daytona and Talladega cars. In an effort to reduce the minuscule bumps causing aerodynamic drag, they paint directly over the decals.

Dale Earnhardt Jr Patriotic Paint Scheme used at Daytona International Speedway in 2015
Dale Earnhardt Jr. patriotic paint scheme used in 2015 Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Dale Earnhardt Jr explains the paint process for restrictor plate tracks, “Well the Daytona car and the Talladega car get like 10 coats of paint. It’s not like a traditional car. They get lots of clear coat. They actually paint over the decals. To take all of the edge, that the decal adds. They take all that edge off. So the car feels smooth as glass.”

On most of the other tracks, the cars are painted, then the decals are placed over the paint. This includes team sponsor decals. The series sponsors as well, most of which are seen on the left and right sides, behind the wheel-well. It’s all clear coated and sanded smooth. Removing any underlying edges created from decal placements.

I find that fascinating!

Dale Earnhardt Jr concludes, “I was freakin’ disappointed. I guess, just don’t beat up on me too bad for not having a patriotic paint scheme.”

Author: Shane Walters


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