Painting a NASCAR Sprint Cup car used to be a labor-intensive, time consuming process, which is why most teams carried a single livery (or paint scheme) throughout an entire season. Unless your primary sponsor changed, repainting a car for a single race wasn’t exactly cost-effective.
The proliferation of printed vinyl wraps has changed all that, and modern race cars can be wrapped in new colors in less than two hours. Printing vinyl wraps costs significantly less than painting a car, too, and anything that saves race teams money is always seen as a plus.
The video above shows the graphics crew from Joe Gibbs Racing going to work on Kyle Busch's 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota Camry. The three-minute video actually represents a mere one hour and forty minutes worth of work for the installers; impressive, given that the entire car is wrapped in that time.
While the process looks deceptively easy, we can tell you from first-hand experience that wrapping a car is harder than it looks. We struggle to put vinyl sponsorship decals on flat panels without bubbles, yet pro installers can wrap even curved surfaces flawlessly using just a propane torch and a squeegee.
We’re not sure that changing paint schemes for individual races is a good thing. While this may help sponsors (who can now benefit from targeted regional exposure), it makes our favorite drivers that much harder to spot.
Can you imagine Dale Earnhart running a white car instead of a black one, or Richard Petty driving a red Charger instead of a Petty Blue one? Sometimes, tradition should win out over change.