Cup Series Paint Schemes - 2023

Jacob Craigo

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#2 | Wayne Foster
Team: Team Penske
Active Seasons: 1982- 2004 (Debuted in 1979)
Starts: 694
Wins: 47 | 1997 Cup Series Champion, 2-Time Daytona 500 Champion


Wayne Foster was an aggressive driver, but oddly was more cautious than one would expect from a racer of that type of driving discipline. An advocate for safety, Wayne did his best to make sure that those around him didn't do anything stupid on track, even going as far as to give a rousing speech during the drivers meeting ahead of the 1994 Daytona 500 in light of a driver's death during practice and two more drivers being injured during the weekend and having to sit out for at least a few weeks. While he ran near or at the front more often than not - especially once the team he was racing for at the time was bought out by Roger Penske in 1987 - most of his success came in the back half of his career. In the 1990s alone, he scored two Daytona 500 victories (1991 and 1999) as well at the 1997 Cup Series championship. Ahead of the 2004 season, Foster announced that that year would be his last behind the wheel of a racecar, as he was retiring at season's end. But throughout his career, one sponsor is associated with him moreso than any of his earlier backers, as Miller was aboard his car for nearly every race he was in from the start of the 1985 season to his final career start in the 2004 season finale.


Schemes:
2000 Miller Lite - 2000 was Wayne's best statistical season, even though the numbers of his "best" might not match the numbers of other drivers' "best" seasons in terms of wins, or even top 5/10 finishes. With the turn of the new millennium, Miller and Team Penske slightly changed the classic blue/white Miller Lite scheme by introducing a gold accent to pair with the red, as well as having a stripe with the accent colors run along the sides and back end of the car.
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2002 Miller Lite - With Miller having a slight update to their branding of their Lite beer, so too did the scheme in 2001.... But in 2002, Foster had his "worst" statistical year, at least since Miller became his sponsor. It was his first winless season in over a decade, and just his 4th since going full time in 1982. In fact this is still the longest record of consecutive seasons with at least 1 victory in NSCA history, having won at least 1 race for 14 years in a row from 1988 to 2001.
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2004 Miller Lite - A complete rebrand of Miller Lite and an announcement of his retirement later, 2004 saw what would technically be the 3rd named "tour"/retirement season for a driver, but the first that kicked off a trend of drivers having their own retirement tours that celebrated their careers. As such, Wayne Foster's "Last Call" Tour wasn't without it's ups and downs. 2 wins, but 5 DNFs during the season and an 11th place points finish that year. The season did end on a high note, however, finishing 2nd in the season finale as his teammate, Chuck Magnum, took home the victory.
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#4 | Steven Merzlak
Team: Steven Merzlak Racing
Rookie Season: 2018
Starts: 148
Wins: 15 | 2-Time NSCA Cup Champion
Top 5s: 46
Top 10s: 77


Steven Merzlak didn't quite get a third championship last year. As stated earlier, Cody Llamas won it instead. That hasn't deterred Merzlak though. With a new primary sponsor in FedEx, and Advance Auto Parts returning, he looks to take the top spot once more....... Also, just a small side note: Somehow, Steven scored the exact same number of top 5s and top 10s in both 2021 and 2022 at 11 and 18, respectively. And if you don't think that's consistent, Steven actually scored 18 top 10s per season three years in a row now, as he scored 18 top 10s in 2020 as well.

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#38 | Robert Dobbs (R)
Team: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport
Rookie Season: 2023 Rookie of the Year Contender

With the addition of Mercedes as a 6th manufacturer to the NSCA Cup Series, naturally the German auto manufacturer also decided to open a branching Cup Series team to serve mainly as a development program for it's NSCA efforts. They also hired rookie Robert Dobbs to race their car, Dobbs being a decent driver in the National Series. The team will run the full season, though a good majority of it effectively unsponsored, thought the few races that are covered will have Western Digital as the sponsor. Mercedes-AMG will follow suit to their Formula 1 cousin team and honor Niki Lauda with a red star on both sides of the car.

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#29 | Randy Carpenter
Team: Team PepsiCo Racing
Active Seasons: 1987-2012 (Debuted in 1985)
Starts: 848
Wins: 55 | 7-Time Cup Series Champion, 3-Time Daytona 500 Champion


Randy Carpenter is one of the most well known and respected drivers to have been part of the Cup Series garage, but his career nearly ended before it could begin, as a wreck at Rockingham Speedway in 1985 nearly took his life. Randy bounced back, however, and was able to make a few more starts before landing a full-time ride in 1987 where he ran for and won Rookie of the Year honors. A few years later, he would go on to win his first championship in 1991, then go back-to-back in 1992. Eric Reinhardt would deny him a 3-peat in '93, but Carpenter topped the pile again in '94, solidifying himself as one of the legends of the sport. An injury as a result of a crash in late 1996 would see him have to sit out until 1997, but from 1999 through to 2001, Carpenter would pull off the second ever 3-peat championship run, previously done by Homer Parsley from 1979 through 1981, just 20 years prior. After his 6th championship, his performance on track started to slip, and by 2005 he was only managing mid-pack finishes with the occasional top 10 and rarer top 5. Fans were wondering if he was going to hang the helmet up, as it looked like he was never going to beat Parsley's 6 championships, only match it. However, in 2007, Team PepsiCo Racing brought Carpenter in, and it began a career resurgence for the now older driver. Consistent top 10s, with a few more wins clicked off left and right, but never quite in the top 5 in points by season's end.


Schemes:
2009 Rockstar - I'm going to be perfectly honest.... I have no real rhyme or reason for the 2009 scheme being here other than it being the one I made for the 2022 set and labeling it as the 2009 scheme. As such, I don't really have any history for the scheme ready to go......
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2012 Rockstar - .... 2012 on the other hand, should be obvious, if you remember the final couple of sentences from the paragraph within Carpenter's original introduction (and the introduction for the Legend drivers in general) last year, which I have conveniently cut from said paragraph (which I also just copy/pasted above) and pasted to follow this sentence: Content with is career, Carpenter announced his final season would be in 2012 towards the end of the 2011 season. While the season didn't start off great, being down in 30th in points after 7 races, Carpenter was able to claw his way back up, and went out on top, earning his 7th and final championship.
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#8 | Ricki Fawxson
Team: Bledsoe Brothers Racing
Rookie Season: 2020
Starts: 87
Wins: 4
Top 5s: 13
Top 10s: 24


After mutually parting ways with Craigo Autosport following the 2022 season, Ricki signed with Bledsoe Brothers Racing to become a team leader after the signing of rookie teammate Erica Reinhardt for the 2023 season. While the #8 car might've finished towards the bottom of the points list last year, that's technically not which entry Ricki will be racing in 2023. Bledsoe Bros. renumbered both of it's teams during the off season. What was the #24 i now the #8 and what was the #8 is now the #81. Haas follows Ricki once again, continuing to advertise their tooling brand in addition to their normal branding, and as stated earlier with Eric Reinhardt's post, Texaco/Havoline has expanded their partnership with BBR, and thus Texaco will be the sponsor of Ricki's car for several races in 2023 as well.


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#44 | Amie Walsh
Team: Pathfinder Racing
Rookie Season: 2022
Starts: 32
Wins: 0
Top 5s: 4
Top 10s: 6

While Amie might've been a ways off from teammate Hunter Keero, one couldn't give her too hard of a time, after all she was a rookie last year and Pathfinder Racing hasn't been the most consistent team the past few years. Irregardless, she was able to nab a few top 5s and earned a 17th place points finish amidst the chaos of the midfield. Changes to come her way though for 2023. To start, while the team overall remains the same, her car has been renumbered to the #44, as Pathfinder Racing expands to 3 cars for the coming season. Additionally, while Amie will continue to have backing from Target and Nurtec, DXC Technology and Bojangles will jump aboard to replace Roofclaim and Cook Out.

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#43 | Echo Evans-Ross
Team: Parsley Enterprises
Rookie Season: 2023 Rookie of the Year Contender


A more recent signing to the Cup Series, Echo has been signed to race the famous #43 car for the reopened Parsley Enterprises. Founded by Darrell Parsley and made famous by his son Homer, Parsley Enterprises was the NSCA's (or rather, the ASCA's) original race team. When racing first started, usually is was a couple of guys who bought a car, gathered a few volunteers, and ran whatever event was running locally that week. If the car ran well, then there'd be a few extra bucks in one's pocket. If the car did poorly, one wouldn't be invited back anytime soon. The Parsley family, however, revolutionized the concept of a racing team, taking some inspiration of the NRC's operations. They started a full on business, and hired dedicated mechanics to work on the cars and help Darrell get his car from race to race, and started dominating the Strictly Stock and Sportsman series. Others quickly caught on, and thus began the era of the racing organization. Fast forward to the mid 2000s, and due to a variety of issues, the team was way behind on pace on track. As a result, the team was sold off, and Homer Parsley became merely a brand ambassador for the new owners. Go further forward to 2019, and Factory Dodge Autosport - a mid-field team in Formula 1 - decides to open a branching team in the NSCA. Well, that team failed, never making it to the top 10 in the team standings during it's 4 years of operations (the closest they came was 11th in 2020 due to Ricki Fawxson picking up the team's only victory). In late 2022, the Parsley family purchased Factory Dodge's NSCA operations, and is now coming back after nearly 20 years. STP returns as well, once again becoming primary sponsor of the #43. Tide, Carvana, and Wendy's also jump aboard as additional sponsors.

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#93 | Riley Whiskers
Team: Red Bull Racing
Active Seasons: 2008-2010 (Debuted in 2006)
Starts: 127
Wins: 0

"Wait, no wins? Only 3 full-time seasons? Why is this guy part of your Legends sub-set, Jacob?" you might be asking right now seeing the above stats of Riley Whiskers. Well, buckle up, buckos.... This is a story that ends in tragedy.... Riley Whiskers may have never been successful at the Cup Series level, but that didn't stop him from being one of the most caring individuals you could meet. A lot of folks looked up to him, it was very very rare that someone had something negative to say that involved him, and overall.... People hoped he could get into better equipment at the Cup level. Sadly, that would never even get a chance to happen. In late November of 2010, a tornado touched down in Whiskers' home town. It would be announced to the shock of the racing world a few days later that Riley was one of those confirmed to have died during the event. A few survivors of the natural disaster said that they witnessed Riley trying to help people get to safety, and it's an accepted reality that he died a hero.

Schemes:
2008 Red Bull - Despite making a few starts for the team in 2006, Riley was passed up for a full-time opportunity by Logan Morse for the 2007 season. However, Logan would suffer an injury with only a few races left in the year, and Riley was called up to fill in for the remaining portion of the season. Due to his on-track performances being closer to teammate Caleb Trassen that Morse's were, Riley kept the seat for 2008, where he would remain for the next 3 seasons.
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2009 Red Bull - Ahead of the 2009 season, Riley convinced the team to allow him to run a silver-colored car instead of the white-colored car that Red Bull usually ran for it's 2nd entry, stating that it would be better to give the car's look a change beyond the usual tweak of the base design to help it stand out more. There was also the fact that the team had a reputation of rotating drivers in it's first couple of years, especially in the seat Riley currently filled, so moving away from a primary color could help dissolve said reputation. The team agreed, and it mostly worked. This is a tradition that would continue even beyond his passing in 2010, as Red Bull would have at least 1 of it's cars run with a significant portion of it's base scheme being silver.
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2010 Red Bull - Despite the stability of it's driver roster in 2009, Red Bull would see issues with the primary car rather than it's secondary. Midway through the season, Caleb Trassen had to begin sitting out many key races due to medical issues that arose. As a result, that entry saw several drivers in that car, many of them one-offs. The only lick of consistency and stability within the team that year was Riley Whiskers and the #93 crew, who did respectable in the points that year despite all the behind-the-scenes issues within the organization overall.
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#77 | Tyler Bladerunner
Team: Steven Merzlak Racing
Rookie Season: 2015
Starts: 184
Wins: 2
Top 5s: 33
Top 10s: 67

Tyler Bladerunner was the worst performing of the 3 Steven Merzlak Racing teams in 2022..... With a 12th place point finish. It's no wonder how the team was able to capitalize and win the team championship and leave everyone else to fight for 2nd. That said, it didn't match what we saw from Tyler in 2021, though to be fair 2021 wasn't a fluke, either. In any case, SMR believes in Bladerunner, and Bladerunner believes in SMR, so he will return to the #77 for 2023. So will Bass Pro Shops and CarQuest, who continue to partner with the team.

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#60 | Cole Dillon
Team: English Motorsports
Rookie Season: 2022
Starts: 32
Wins: 1
Top 5s: 7
Top 10s: 13

Cole Dillon impressed in his rookie season last year. Over the last couple of years, the "rookie luck" has seemed to die down, but that didn't stop Cole Dillon from taking victory in the season finale at Atlanta. Not only that, but he also won Rookie of the Year honors a race early at Martinsville, and earned a top 10 points finish when everything was all said and done. Now with a full season of Cup experience behind him, Cole looks to take himself up to the next step: the Top 5! Subway continues to be his primary backer in terms of sponsorship. PPG Industries moves over from the #6 to cover the remaining races Subway didn't take, replacing the outgoing UPS.

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#8/#88 | Eric Reinhardt Jr.
Teams: Eric Reinhardt Inc. & Hendrick Motorsports
Active Seasons: 2000-2016 (Debuted in 1998)
Starts: 596
Wins: 27 | 2-Time Daytona 500 Champion

Son of the legendary Eric Reinhardt, and the third-generation in the line of racers in the Reinhardt family, Eric Jr. has much to live up to. Following his father's death in the 2001 Daytona 500, Eric seemed almost lost in his way. But after coming back to Daytona in July and edging out teammate Cole Donnovan in what was then known as the Pepsi 400, Eric Jr seemed to begin healing mentally. It was Jr's first win since Atlanta the previous fall, and his first top 5 of the 2001 season after his 2nd place finish at Daytona in February. On the fanbase side of things, many of Sr's fans came to follow Jr as well, supporting him as much as they did the elder Reinhardt.

Schemes:
2001 Budweiser - The course of the 2001 season was a mixture of triumph and tragedy. The sport lost it's biggest star at the time, but almost lost in the sea of news that followed the 2001 Daytona 500 was that a son had lost his father. It took a while for Eric Reinhardt Jr to move past it, even after his victory when the NSCA returned to Daytona in July. But once he regained traction, he moved forward, and moved forward quickly.
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2004 Budweiser (Daytona 500) - Reinhardt Jr. picked up several wins throughout the early-mid 2000s, and this included the 2004 Daytona 500, where he led 34 of the 200 laps. Driving a special paint scheme, Eric was able to capitalize on what was a race of attrition, where only 18 of the 43 drivers finished the event, and only 6 of those were on the lead lap.
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2007 Budweiser - Unfortunately, many good things come and pass, and this included Eric Jr.'s time at the team his father had founded. Behind the scenes, things took a turn for the downhill. Eric Reinhardt Inc. was facing serious financial issues, even with some big names sponsorship-wise backing the team. After a difference in opinion on how to save the team with his team owner and step-mother, Eric left the team to try and find his own way, landing at Chuck Rinsci Racing for 2008.
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2009 Amp Energy - Eric's tenure at CRR would be short lived, however, as Hendrick Motorsports would pick up Jr for 2009, and where he would remain until he retired from full-time racing after the 2016 season. His first year at Hendrick wouldn't be all that great. Whether it was due to a lack of self confidence, not-so-great equipment, bad crew chief decisions, or just pure bad luck, Jr would find himself outside the top 20 in points at season's end that year while his teammates would finish 2-3-4.
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2010 National Guard - Between 2009 and 2010, several changes were made at Hendrick to try and get all 4 teams to fire on all cylinders, and to the team's credit, it almost worked. While the team as a whole took a few steps back in terms of performance, it was Jr's team that saw forward progress despite this, finishing 14th in points and just barely missing the Chase. Over the course of the next 3 years afterwards, the #88 team continued to make steps forward.
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2015 Nationwide - The hard work that Hendrick made paid off. While Jr. only scored one win in the 5 year span between 2009 and 2013, the best was yet to come. In 2014, Eric Jr. kicked off the season with a bang by earning his 2nd Daytona 500 victory, leading 49 of the 200 laps that year. He then won again at Talladega, and a third time at Pocono. Unfortunately, he would be forced to sit out for the last third of the season due to receiving a concussion in a wreck at Kentucky Speedway (WHY IS IT ALWAYS KENTUCKY?!) later into the season. In 2015, he returned and would wind up scoring his final career win at the fall Texas event, book ending his career with wins at the same track (his first career win in 2000 came at Texas as well). In 2016, his final season, he went winless.
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#92 | Hunter Keero
Team: Pathfinder Racing
Rookie Season: 2008
Starts: 498
Wins: 25 | 2020 Daytona 500 Champion, 2014 NSCA Cup Champion
Top 5s: 86
Top 10s: 120

Hunter Keero wasn't quite a championship contender throughout the 2022 season, but that didn't stop him from trying to run well. Pepsi will return as primary sponsor for the 2014 champion, as will Gearwrench. Interestingly, Pepsi did announce that they will undergo a rebrand later on this year, and as such the scheme will also change with the rebrand coming in.
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Historic Schemes:
2012 Pizza Hut - We've already talked about the 2012 season before with Randy Carpenter, but another piece of the puzzle was teammate Hunter Keero. Yes, Hunter raced for Team PepsiCo Racing in 2012 prior to Pathfinder Racing. In fact, he raced for Team PepsiCo from his rookie season of 2008 all the way until 2013, after which the team shut down, and Hunter had to find a new ride. Many people like to claim that Hunter was Randy's protege, after all they both raced on the same team and had inversed numbers of each other.... However neither Randy or Hunter support those rumors.
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2014 Pizza Hut - When Hunter went to Pathfinder Racing in 2014, no one expected him to be competing for the championship, but he took it all. Despite having only 2 wins to John Mullen's 5 and worse average starts and finishes than Mullen, Hunter had more top 10s and the same number of top 5s, and just edged John Mullen by 2 points.
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#24 | Mikey Willard
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Rookie Season: 2021
Starts: 86
Wins: 2
Top 5s: 15
Top 10s: 27


After a great rookie season in 2021, Mikey Willard kicked off 2022 with victory in the Clash and two early wins in the season at Homestead and Bristol. However, the early championship contender faltered as the season entered the summer months, and Mikey found himself 9th in points after the checkered flag in the season finale at Atlanta. Despite this, Willard will find his sponsors of Axalta and Hooters returning for 2023, and NAPA Auto Parts joins the team after leaving Craigo Autosport. The bigger news though comes in his car number, as with the retirements of both John Mullen and Alan Bledsoe, and with Bledsoe Brothers Racing switching car numbers, this allows Hendrick Motorsports to swap Mikey Willard to the #24 rather than the #88 heading into the upcoming season, and the 4th HMS entry had it's owners points sold to JRM, which we covered earlier in this thread.

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#02 | Rei Takita
Team: Axiom Racing Union
Rookie Season: 2017
Starts: 174
Wins: 0
Top 5s: 8
Top 10s: 16


In 2022, Axiom Racing Union saw a backslide in performance over the course of the season compared to where they were in 2021. It wasn't from a lack of trying, they did arguably improve compared to where they were previously, it's just that most other teams improved that much more. It also didn't help that Rei Takita failed to qualify for two races last year. Irregardless, 3M have decided to return to the #02 car for 2023, bringing some stability in an otherwise rocky period for the team. With Fastenal leaving the team to become title sponsor of the Cup Series and Joshua Michaels retiring, DeviantArt makes the jump from the #04 to the #02 as well.

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#43 | Homer Parsley
Team: Parsley Enterprises
Active Seasons: 1976-1995
Starts: 512
Wins: 200 | 6-Time Cup Series Champion, 5-Time Daytona 500 Champion

Homer Parsley. "The King". First of his name, and dominator of the early years of the NSCA. Back in the days when guys like Parsley, Chandler Riles, Billy Cox, Lee Davidson, and others raced, very few actually had the ability to score a win on pure pace alone, unlike today where you can have over a dozen drivers be capable of winning every week if luck falls their way. Back in the 70s and early 80s, there was very little parity in the competition, and pretty much the only way for someone outside of Parsley or Riles to get a win was for one of them to have a mechanical issue or wreck their car, neither of which happened often. Now granted, these guys had plenty of racing experience from the old ASCA days prior to the ASCA/NRC merger in 1975, and had enough financial backing from sponsors to get back on their feet quickly after the mid-70s recession. Following his retirement from racing following the 1995 season, Homer Parsley continued to act as an ambassador for the sport and even to this day is regularly seen at the track attending fan appearances and providing coaching to any drivers who come up to him to ask for it.

Schemes:
1977 STP - STP is a long-time partner of the Parsley family, adorned on the #43 car from the late 60s all the way to the late 90s shortly after Parsley retired and was replaced by Roman Grainger for a few years. 1977 was the year that Homer earned his first Daytona 500 victory, his second championship, and had his best statistical year, winning 13 of the 20 races held that year.
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#59 | Dylan Maddox
Team: Queen City Racing
Rookie Season: 2019
Starts: 110
Wins: 1
Top 5s: 2
Top 10s: 8

So remember how last year I joked about copying/pasting the paragraph for Dylan Maddox's 2021 season for the 2022 season? Yeah, I have good news and bad news.... The good news is, I don't have to worry about doing that! The bad news is because this has been his worst statistical season yet. 2 DNQs, his worst points finish (38th), his worst average start (33rd), and tied with 2021 for least amount of wins, top 5s, and top 10s. When Factory Dodge Autosport was bought out by the Parsley family ahead of the return of Parsley Enterprises, the writing was on the wall when it came to Dylan being sacked for another driver. As fate would have it, he wasn't the only driver released from their team for performance issues. Both Alex Miller and Chase Marks both found themselves out of a drive following their combined 17 DNQs in 2022. Knowing that it can't get any worse, Queen City signed Maddox for 2023, with hope that he, along his new teammate, can drag QCR further up the pecking order. Geico and Quaker State follow Maddox to the #59.

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#52 | Glenn Butler
Team: Copeland Racing
Rookie Season: 2023 Rookie of the Year Contender

The 2nd of 5 part-time entries for the 2023 season, Copeland Racing makes a quiet return to the Cup Series after a less than ideal step down to the National Series following the 2016 season. While the team itself doesn't expect much outside of maybe the Daytona 500, their driver, Glenn Butler, has been a bit feisty when it comes to her expectations of the upcoming season. While AutoZone will be primary sponsor in all of the team's planned starts, they're mainly looking to use this opportunity to gather more sponsors for their National Series program, and even perhaps an additional sponsor to help gradually get the team to move back into the Cup Series full-time.


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#12 | Chuck Magnum
Team: Team Penske
Active Seasons: 1993-2014
Starts: 756
Wins: 69 | 2009 Cup Series Champion

"Hehe, funi name with the funi number" -Me, when trying to come up with names for the All-Time Wins list for my league's history, because I was bored and couldn't come up with something better.

In seriousness, Chuck Magnum (despite his name) actually was a soft spoken person, and wasn't built like a Norse god. That didn't stop him from being a damned good racecar driver though. Having earned at least 1 win in every season he competed (with exception to 2006, more on that later), Chuck was able to capitalize on Penske Racing's rise to the top in the late 90s and early 2000s. Known as "The Rocket Man" (shut up, not like that), Chuck to this day still holds the record for most pole positions in a single season, clocking in in 14 poles in 2003, half of which he translated to wins. Unfortunately, he had a tendency to run every lap like a qualifying lap during the race, and as a result pushed his engines too far, which led to almost as many DNFs as he had wins by the end of his career. In 2011, he would jump from Team Penske over to Chuck Rinsci Racing, where he would spend the last four years of his career, still earning wins....

Schemes:
2000 Mobil 1 - Magnum's first real "big" year in terms of stat block numbers, Chuck found himself thrust into his first championship battle, and would wind up finishing 4th in points despite having the most wins of the championship favorites. His 8 wins were his only top 5s of the season, and he only had a few more top 10s, while everyone else had much greater consistency with running up near the front. Still, nothing to scoff at when looked upon in hindsight.
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2003 Alltel - After 2001, Mobil 1 stepped down from being the #12 car's full-season primary sponsor. With the rise of telecommunications companies expanding services for phones and dipping into being internet service providers, so did their advertising spending in the world of racing, and Alltel was no different. In 2002, the company began sponsoring Magnum's car in it's now vacant sponsorship spots on the schedule. In 2003, the number of races Alltel covered increased from 27 of the 36 events to all but two. Unrelated to his sponsor's coverage, Magnum also posted his best statistical season. 10 wins, the aforementioned 14 poles, 11 top 5s and 23 top 10s over the course of 34 races...... However, the other 11 races saw Magnum DNF due to a mixture of mechanical failures and being caught up in wrecks, including a scary and violent barrel roll in that year's Daytona 500.
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2006 Alltel - While 2004 and 2005 in terms of stats may have paled in comparison to 2003, Magnum thankfully didn't see as many DNFs, however 2006 would wind up being his worst statistical year, and his only winless season of his career in the Cup Series. Meanwhile, on the sponsorship front Alltel had begun to cut back on the number of races per year they covered for the #12 team. With Verizon now the title sponsor of the Cup Series since 2004, other telecommunication companies were pressured to begin bowing out as soon as possible, most of which only had year-to-year or even just race-to-race deals with teams, and as a result left the sport. Only the three companies that had preexisting multi-year contracts stood firm: Cingular Wireless, Sprint-NEXTEL, and Alltel.
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2007 Verizon - In late 2006, however, Alltel would be bought-out and absorbed into Verizon. As a result, Team Penske had to work out terms of their sponsorship contracts with Verizon, whom agreed to see out the end of Alltel's current contract, which would last until the end of the 2008 season. Chuck Magnum, meanwhile, would find victory lane again, albeit only twice: the first time in the All-Star Race, and the second in the fall even at Charlotte Motor Speedway, breaking a winning streak at that track that Cody Llamas held. Team Penske went with a striking red scheme for 2007 - despite input from Verizon - but only because they had already revealed it's light blue counterpart for Alltel prior to the buyout.
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2008 Verizon - For 2008, however, Team Penske did run a scheme incorporating Verizon's input. Chuck Magnum would once again win twice in 2008, but this time both visits to victory lane were in points events. This season was special for Chuck for a different reason, however. His son, Chadwick Magnum, would begin his racing career at the age of 9. Fast forward to 2023 and Chadwick will enter the NSCA Bud Light National Series, and is looking to make the move to Cup and follow in his father's footsteps within the next couple of years.
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#14 | Jaxon McPhrys
Team: Gantry-Kingsmen Racing
Rookie Season: 2023 Rookie of the Year Contender

Co-owned by Hanz Gantry and Zachary Kingsmen, the German-British team will add American stock-car racing to it's lineup of series to run in for the 2023 racing season. Competing in both DTM and IMSA, GKR is already familiar with GT-class styled race cars, which many have said the new Next-Gen car has a partial resemblance of. This team, however, has no current plans of entering the sport full-time, and are mainly just entering a part-time car for fun. In addition to the Daytona 500 and all three road courses, the team does plan to make a few additional ovals over the course of the season. With Scottish driver "The Magician" Jaxon McPhrys behind the wheel and Konica Minolta as their sponsor, the team hopes that this will be a fun side-venture.

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#29 | Max O'Quinn
Team: Pathfinder Racing
Rookie Season: 2023 Rookie of the Year Contender

For 2023, Pathfinder Racing is opening up a third team for the first time in the organization's history. With Amie Walsh having her car renumbered to the #44, this conveniently leaves room for the team to continue using the #29 for it's third entry without having to negotiate a random third number. A relatively unknown driver, Max O'Quinn has been tapped to drive the new entry, with fast food chain Sonic coming aboard as sponsor for the entire season.


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#0 | Cody Haner
Team: RTD Motorsports
Rookie Season: 2017
Starts: 173
Wins: 0
Top 5s: 9
Top 10s: 22


In 2022, Cody Haner had sold off the assets of his own struggling team to jump aboard the then vacant #0 of RTD Motorsports, and while the season started off decent, trending to be better than the last several years he's had, it unfortunately came crashing back to earth, and he wound up only finishing 36th in points, and failing to qualify for Indianapolis. Going into 2023, some big changes come Haner's way. For starters, he's now the team leader as Eugene Demax steps away to fulfill a full-time role as team owner. 2nd, gone are Gatorade and Lay's, as PepsiCo moves what was Demax's Mountain Dew partnership over to Haner, and expanding the list of flavors by 1 to include Diet Dew amongst the rest of the flavors that appeared on Demax's car last year - all of which return for 2023. Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell also return to adorn the #0 Toyota in their respective colors.....

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#42 | Jerry Walker
Team: Chuck Rinsci Racing (with Mickey Wraites)
Active Seasons: 1977-2008 (Debuted in 1976)
Starts: 936
Wins: 0


While he never had any victories in the Cup Series, Jerry Walker does have the longest career of any driver in Cup Series History, which earned him a spot for the Historic/Legend drivers. As you can imagine, he drove for a plethora of teams, and even at times was a teammate to a few other Legends drivers and even a few of the drivers in the main set! Despite having drove for several teams throughout the 1990s, Jerry Walker had picked up a lucrative sponsorship deal with the Coors Brewing Company, which made him a very sought-after driver despite his usual not-quite-top-10 finishes. In 1998, he would wind up at WADCO Racing, driving the at-the-time infamous #42 Chevy, the flagship car for the organization. However, in late 2000 Chuck Rinsci of Endurance and Champcar fame stepped in and bought a majority stake of the team, thus transforming it into "Chuck Rinsci Racing With Mickey Wraites". It was there that Walker would race until his retirement.

Schemes:
2001 Coors Light - In addition to the mouthful of a team name, the CRR also switched to the new Dodge platform for 2001, and Walker's sponsor switched their branding on the #42 car from Coors to Coors Light. With it, a new metallic silver scheme was unveiled, immediately dubbed the Silver Bullet. However, despite the build up of excitement for the season, it started as a hellscape, especially for Jerry Walker. Just like in real life with Sterling Marlin, Walker's and Eric Reinhardt's car made the smallest bit of contact in turns 3 and 4 of the Daytona 500, which may have contributed to Reinhardt's fatal wreck. And just like with Marlin again, Walker faced many of the same problems in the following weeks - including but not limited to death threats - to the point where Eric Reinhardt Jr had to step in and tell the fans to stop. Despite all of the negativity surrounding the early part of the 2001 season, the team - and Walker - soldiered on.
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2003 Target - In 2003, Jerry saw a change in sponsorship as Coors moved to a teammate. Target jumped aboard the #42, a partnership that would last beyond the rest of Jerry's career. For Walker, 2003 was his best statistical season, with 11 top 5s and 16 top 10s. However, about the only stat block where he wasn't at his best was his points finish, which was 16th. Normally, his finishes of roughly 11th-20th would allow him to sneak into the top 10 in points sometimes, but the consistency shown by many of the top drivers that year relegated him down further than he would've liked.
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2008 Target - In his later years of racing, many fans had noticed that Walker was edging closer to the near-mythical count of 1000 starts, a feat no other driver had come anywhere close to. Much of the NSCA community - fans, competitors, and even Walker himself - wanted to see him reach the milestone, but unfortunately Jerry's increased age and declining health all but forced him to retire from racing at the age of 64 at the end of the 2008 season. To date, no driver has anywhere near touching Walker's record of starts. The next closest driver would be Randy Carpenter, who has 88 less starts at 848.
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#3 | Brendon Hancock
Team: Lionheart Racing
Rookie Season: 2021
Starts: 62
Wins: 0
Top 5s: 3
Top 10s: 12

It was another solid upper mid-pack season for Brendon Hancock in the #31 for Lionheart-Legacy Racing in 2022, though Brendon feels it could've been better. As touched upon way back in the post for Crown Jr.'s schemes, Lionheart Racing is seeing some major changes ahead of 2023. Trace Legacy - co-owner of the team and champion of the series in his own right - passed away over the off-season, and his daughter, Jennifer Legacy stepped away from racing due to that (as well as continued struggles with mental health issues). As a result, the team reverts to what it was named prior to merging with Legacy Autosport - Trace's team that he had opened in the early 2010s. With the flagship car now vacant, Brendon Hancock was promoted to the honor of racing the #3 - a number with steep historical context in the Cup Series. Following him from what was the #31 car are Walgreens, though Best Buy and Xfinity remain aboard. Reese's also jumps aboard, giving the #3 car a full 4 sponsor lineup for 2023, and Hancock hope that he can capitalize on a good opportunity to show what he's capable of.


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#29 | Max O'Quinn
Team: Pathfinder Racing
Rookie Season: 2023 Rookie of the Year Contender

For 2023, Pathfinder Racing is opening up a third team for the first time in the organization's history. With Amie Walsh having her car renumbered to the #44, this conveniently leaves room for the team to continue using the #29 for it's third entry without having to negotiate a random third number. A relatively unknown driver, Max O'Quinn has been tapped to drive the new entry, with fast food chain Sonic coming aboard as sponsor for the entire season.
Following Max O'Quinn's impressive finish in the Daytona 500, Delta Airlines signs on to sponsor a few races in 2023...
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