Hendrick Motorsports

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The No. 88 Chevrolet goes camouflage this weekend

When the National Guard decided to run a camouflage car this year, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. wanted the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet painted. He asked Donnie Floyd, the head of graphics, if it would be possible.

“He likes paint,” Floyd said. “Paint looks better and it honors our commitment to DuPont, our sponsor. Also, we just thought it would be neat, something cool to do to honor our troops. We put a lot of time and effort into it.”

The crew spent two days working on the No. 88 Chevrolet that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will pilot at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on July 5. (Champions Club members can visit the No. 88 team photo gallery on www.hendrickmotorsports.com for more images.)

The paint scheme resembles the camouflaged car Casey Mears took to Victory Lane during the 600-mile event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 2007. However, Earnhardt’s version has one big difference—it’s painted instead of wrapped. This is the first time Hendrick Motorsports has painted this design.

When a car is wrapped, it’s basically covered with a giant decal. Cars generally are wrapped if the image on them is too hard to paint or if there are strict time restraints.

Floyd, who grew up in Charlotte, N.C., headed up the project in Hendrick Motorsports’ Nos. 5/88 team shop. Scott Nicholls, of Redding, Calif., and Ronnie Sipka, of Coventry, R.I., painted the body of the car and assisted Floyd with the decals. Corey Souliere, a native of Biddeford, Maine, painted the hood and roof rails.

Nicholls and Sipka started the project by priming the car. Then they applied the beige color, let it dry and applied a stencil. Similar to a wrap, the stencil had to be laid all the way around the car. The car was painted a light green color, while the stencil covered spots that would remain beige. The process was done one more time with a dark green. The next morning, the group cranked up the rock ‘n’ roll and had a “peeling party” while removing all the stencils from the car.

The finished product was a beautifully camouflaged, painted car. Floyd, Nicholls and Sipka placed each decal on the No. 88 Chevrolet. Everything, from the National Guard emblem to the No. 88, was laid by hand. Finally, a clear coat was added.

Floyd says that painting a car is usually a half-day process. “Usually if they start after lunch,” he said, “they’ll be done by the end of the day.”

The camouflaged No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet took two full days to complete.  That’s four times longer than an ordinary paint job.