How Stock Car Painting Works

Stock Car Decals

So we understand more about the extensive painting process that goes into finishing a stock car, but why is it that these teams put so much effort into achieving outlandish looks? Not only will these designs help the cars stand out but with any luck, they'll also make the car look faster than it already is. At least, that's what Jeff Gordon is hoping for with his No. 24 car's new look of "fire and flames." He'll introduce his new look -- orange, black and yellow -- for 2009 [source: Murphey]. What about his trademark DuPont logo? It will still be there -- but it won't be painted.

Decals and logos play an important part in this advertising-driven sport, and these days they can be slapped on right before a race with the creation of vinyl wraps [source: Graves]. Currently logos and decals are made from vinyl and plastered, not painted, all over a car as a means of earning sponsorship dollars. Numbers, which are leased from NASCAR, "belong" to a team only as long as their contract is good [source: Sporting News].

Most fans don't question the colors of their favorite team, but they may wonder how a certain number is assigned to their driver's car. As with all of the rules and regulations, that is up to the team to pick, with approval from NASCAR, of course [source: Newton].

­Now that you have the knowledge on how stock car painting -- or vinyl wrapping -- works, check out the links on the following page for even more stock car topics.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


  • Auto Paint Work 101 - Let it Shine." Mopar Muscle Magazine. (accessed 12/11/08)
  • "Body Shop." Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (accessed 12/11/08)
  • DeStefani, Jim. "Tradin' Paint." Products Finishing Magazine. (accessed 12/14/08)
  • "Earnhardt Can't Bring No. 8 to Hendrick." Sporting News. 08/15/07. (accessed 12/14/08)
  • Fan Guide. NASCAR. (accessed 12/08/08)
  • "FAQ." Meguiar's. (accessed 12/13/08)
  • Fitzsimmons, Jon. "NASCAR Design Schemes that Work." Circle Track Magazine. (accessed 12/11/08)
  • Gibson, John. "Race Car Painting - The Painting Process." ml (accessed 12/09/08)
  • Gomez, Sleepy. IMCA Stock Car October 2000 - Getting Started." Stock Car Racing Magazine. (accessed 12/11/08)
  • Graves, Gary. "Hold the phone: AT&T, NASCAR agree on sponsorship." USA TODAY. 09/07/07. (accessed 12/14/08)
  • "Hamlin and March of Dimes Unveil Special Design for No. 11 Car." FedEx. (accessed 12/14/08)
  • "Kodak and Universal Pictures Partner to Promote The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." Reuters. 07/10/08. (accessed 12/14/08)
  • Leasers, Ron. "Racewraps: Devil is definitely in detailing." NASCAR. 02/01/07) (accessed/ 12/13/08)
  • Livingstone, Seth. "Plenty goes into designing NASCAR paint jobs." USA TODAY. 05/03/06. (accessed 12/12/08)
  • Murphey, Kerry. "Jeff Gordon Sports new Paint for 2009." The Final Lap. 10/02/08. (accessed 12/13/08)
  • Newton, David. Chat with David Newton." ESPN. (accessed 12/13/08)
  • "Paint and Coatings for Metal Exterior." DuPont. (accessed 12/12/08)
  • Pfefier, Jay. "Hand Painting Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Car." Scene Daily. (accessed 12/11/08)
  • "Racing Graphics." MotorSports Design. (accessed 12/14/08)
  • Sherman, Don. "NASCAR's Quest for Speed." Popular Mechanics. 03/04. (accessed 12/08/08)
  • Siska, Ellen. "Sponsors, naturally, play key role in approving paint scheme." ESPN. (accessed 12/10/2008)
  • "The cost and value of team sponsorships." NASCAR. 05/20/04. (accessed 12/10/08)
  • "Ultimate Paint and Body Guide Part 6." Hot Rod Magazine. (accessed 12/14/08)
  • "What Color Will You Paint Yours?" EYEMG. (accessed 12/12/08)
  • Young, Dave. "How to Paint a Car - So you Want to be a Painter." Mopar Muscle Magazine. (accessed 12/10/2008)