Jeff Gordon Unveils New Paint Scheme on "Today;" Rusty Not So Rusty?

Rob TiongsonSenior Analyst IOctober 1, 2008

NASCAR fans, are you sick and tired of the worst kept secrets in motorsports? Well fear no longer!

Sure, you've seen all those fictional "2009" paint schemes on the net that are being made on the DuPont Chevy on NASCAR Racing 2003 simulator sites. 

This morning, the world caught a bit of a surprise when one of the sport's greatest drivers and ambassadors officially unveiled his new car for the upcoming season.

Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Cup Champ and victor of 81 (so far) career points races, was on NBC's Today Show to reveal the third and last rendition of his famed No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.

Most online rumors (did I say rumors?) had said that the car would have a black base with a paint scheme similar to his Hot Hues ride from the Fontana and Indy races of 2006, while others have speculated that the car will be his current fire scheme altered with black as its base.

Well, fans who loved the flames scheme need not fret. Instead, we'll be talking about the FireStorm scheme. This car takes the current flames scheme to the next level with a black base complimented by sleek and very sharp flames that have some blue/green hues at the end.

The traditional yellow No. 24's remain the same, but it appears that Gordon will gain a new associate sponsor not pictured in this media handout picture from

In case any Gordon fan saw his interview with's Riki Rachtman, J-Go mentioned about a new associate sponsor that would join the team and that new partner will be none other than the National Guard. Seems like some B/Rers know their stuff (see Kelly Crandall's article on this in the comment section)!

Never one to stray away from flashy cars, the 37-year-old driver from Vallejo, Calif., started his Cup career with a bang with the famous Rainbow Warrior scheme that ran from his debut at Atlanta in 1992 to the season finale at the same track eight years later.

The public would then see a leaked flames scheme on the pages of Jayski in the fall of 2000, which shocked some Gordon fans, as the rainbow scheme was a fixture on the circuit to what Earnhardt fans were accustomed to with the black Goodwrench colors from 1988 to 2001.

However the flames look to the car was a popular scheme amongst fans and, as ol' DW put it, flames just make a car look faster and cooler.

This incarnation of his car lasted from the 2001 championship season for Gordon to this season, where Driver 24 sits sixth in points, 143 points away from first in a winless but somewhat decent season. 

Where will the FireStorm take the 24 team? All Gordon fans hope to see their driver have a "hot" year with wins and a much better shot at the title than this unusual year.

Then there's the story about 1989 Cup Champ Rusty Wallace, who's made his living these days owning his Nationwide team and commentating for the ESPN/ABC coverage of NASCAR.

Younger brother Kenny Wallace, from his blog, wrote that his older sibling is considering a return to the Sprint Cup Series driving for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated.

While a seemingly crazy and wild rumor that sounds more like kicks than absolute seriousness, as a fan, it does seem intriguing.

Though Rusty has stated his peace on retirement and work with ESPN and ABC, there surely is some competitive fire left with the sport's King of Short Tracks.

The sport is said to be lacking a personality, although Tony Stewart and Gibbs Racing fans may beg to differ.

And while the sport has tightly limited and then redacted its stance on drivers wearing their emotions on their sleeves, there has not been a true rivalry on the track that has left us thinking of days when we'd go, "Yep, it's Wallace and Earnhardt!" or "Oh DW and Davey Allison, they just can't stop crashing each other."

Rusty Wallace may be just the temporary kick the sport needs. He is definitely not afraid to speak his mind with his mouth and car, and if he adjusts quickly to the Car of Tomorrow brand of racing, we just might see a page of Classic NASCAR coming to life in the New Wave of stock cars.