BUSCH: Roush Racing keeps busy with paint

TRADING PAINT OFF TRACK, THE RECIPE FOR LOOKING GOOD Concord, NC (March 8, 2005) -- While 43 cars trade paint on track Sunday afternoons, there are seven guys trading paint back at the No. 99 Roush Racing shop Monday through Saturday. To date...

TRADING PAINT OFF TRACK, THE RECIPE FOR LOOKING GOOD

Concord, NC (March 8, 2005) -- While 43 cars trade paint on track Sunday afternoons, there are seven guys trading paint back at the No. 99 Roush Racing shop Monday through Saturday. To date the No. 99 Ford, driven by Carl Edwards, has taken on two different looks and is about to undergo a third when the No. 99 World Financial Group Ford takes to the track in Las Vegas. Jeff Silver heads up the No. 99 paint shop, which is the same shop that also paints the No. 6 and No. 16 Cup cars and the No. 9 Busch car. It is the responsibility of Silver to keep the paint shop organized and running as efficiently as possible so all the Roush Fords are ready to go racing each weekend.

The No. 99 Cup team has seven different paint schemes to implement in 2005 and that number is growing. To paint and decal a car from start to finish looks a lot like a recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook, baking included. It can take three to four days so planning is key. Once a chassis is painted gray and the suspension and body put on, it's off to the paint shop where Silver and crew work their magic.

When a car arrives to the paint shop it rarely fits the templates to a tee, so it's up to the paint and body shop to make the appropriate adjustments. "The body shop usually has to fine tune each body to meet the template specifications by using a special mud," says Silver. Although only off by small measurements, it's important to get a car as close as possible to the templates so the teams pass tech inspection at the track. Once a car fits the templates then it's primed, sanded and finally painted.

Once a car is painted it goes into a heated booth where it's baked at 125 degrees for one hour. This speeds up the drying process and allows for a quicker turn around time when preparing a car for a race. The car will then sit for ideally, one to two days while it completely dries before decals are placed on the car. During this time, the set up is put onto the car for the upcoming race.

The decal process takes anywhere from two hours to a full day depending on the design and number of people decaling a car. The difficulty of decaling depends on the size of the decal. To help eliminate mistakes, there is a special solution used to place the larger decals on the car that allow the decal to be moved around without being destroyed. With so many special paint schemes, today's technology has now introduced the wrap to race teams throughout NASCAR. A wrap is one big decal that is fitted onto the car, similar to Saran Wrap, by using a heat gun. This allows for one paint scheme to be placed on top of another without consequence. Case in point, the No. 99 Scotts car Edwards drove in the 150's was un-wrapped to reveal the No. 99 Office Depot paint scheme for the Daytona 500.

The busiest time of the year for the paint shops is winter when they are not only preparing race cars but pit equipment as well. Although with the hectic 36 race schedule, there is rarely down time in the paint shop. "I would say about 80 percent of the cars that return from the race track come to us for some type of work whether it be body work, paint and/or decals," said Silver. With Scotts, Office Depot, World Financial Group and AAA on board in 2005, the No. 99 team presents a whole new challenge for Silver and his group. With a combination of paint, decals, wraps and time, Edwards's car will evolve each week to represent the respective sponsor partner.

"Those guys are awesome back there in the paint shop," said Edwards. "They work hard each day to make the No. 99 car look good for the upcoming race weekend. It's amazing how a car can carry a red and black Office Depot paint scheme one day then the next day you walk in the shop and the same car is painted blue and yellow with the World Financial Group logos on it. I'm really proud of Jeff and all his guys; they do a great job for us and help to make us look good each week."

Each day brings a different challenge to the painters and every day they rise to the occasion. It is the hard work of these talented individuals that make the No. 99 Ford one of the best looking cars on track week in and week out.

Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates ten motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards; three in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth and Edwards, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Ricky Craven and Todd Kluever.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ricky Craven , Carl Edwards , Todd Kluever , Mark Martin
Teams CIP