NASCAR artist Sam Bass poses with Jeff Gordon and the car he designed –
the 2012 No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
Photo credit: Phil Cavali.

Several of Sam Bass’ artistic creations have gone down in NASCAR history.

Like the Atlanta Motor Speedway race program honoring the track’s 50th year. Or the Nashville guitar trophy Kyle Busch smashed in Victory Lane back in 2009.

But there is one Bass creation that supersedes them all – a car design that changed the face of the modern paint scheme and created an iconic look for one of the most successful drivers of all time.

In 1992, Bass’ design for the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, to be driven by an unproven Jeff Gordon, was chosen by the executives at DuPont to be THE paint scheme of Gordon’s car. The rest, as they say, is history.

In the 20 years since the car that has become known as the “Rainbow Warrior” first took the track, Bass has become an admired and prolific licensed NASCAR artist and his work can be seen, in some form or fashion, at every race on the schedule.

Still, Gordon’s DuPont Chevrolet holds pride of place in Bass’ heart. To commemorate the 20 years he has been working with Gordon and the DuPont team, Bass recently designed a special die-cast tribute, which tells the story of Gordon’s 20 Years of Racing with DuPont.

The No. 24 20 Years fantasy die-cast designed by Sam Bass
as a tribute to his 20-year-relationship with Gordon and DuPont.

Bass is a busy man, but he took time recently to answer a few of our questions about Gordon’s 20 years in the sport and how he feels about his own long-standing partnership with the No. 24 team.

Q: Just like Jeff Gordon, you’ve had a relationship with DuPont that has lasted for 20 years. Tell us about the DuPont 20 Years fantasy die-cast you designed. What was the inspiration for this car?

A: “The DuPont 20 Years fantasy car was inspired by the four primary base paint schemes that I have created for Jeff in the past two decades. The front of the car features the neon red nose with the blue DuPont oval and striping pattern of the original ‘Rainbow Warrior’ design that started it all. The deep metallic blue above the rainbow flows back along the sides and up onto the roof as the neon red graphic from the ‘Fire and Flames’ scheme emerges from the windshield and front fender well. Those flames roll back and transition in the flames from the ‘Fire Storm’ design, as the blue base transitions and fades to black. The rear of the car sports the DuPont 20 Years logo I designed, completing the front-to-back evolution of the iconic No. 24’s look.”

Q: Tell us about the first DuPont car you designed. How did your design get chosen for Jeff’s car?

A: “Jeff’s first crew chief Ray Evernham asked me to submit some design concepts to Hendrick Motorsports in the summer of 1992. They were among 43 different concepts that were submitted to DuPont from various artists, ad agencies and marketing firms, as I understand it. DuPont picked my favorite design, which was inspired by the top arc of the DuPont oval itself, and my desire to express that the company offered a ‘rainbow of colors’ in its massive selection of automotive finishes. That car became known as the ‘Rainbow Warrior,’ and debuted at the season finale race in Atlanta.”

Q: What’s your favorite DuPont paint scheme that you’ve designed?

A: “The original ‘Rainbow Warrior’ paint scheme will always be my sentimental favorite. It was so colorful, unique and different to the sport in 1992. The fans really embraced it, and it quickly became associated and branded as ‘the look’ of Jeff Gordon and DuPont. It also was tremendously impactful on my career as a designer and artist due to the attention it received through the world of motorsports.”

Q: What has it been like to partner with Jeff, Hendrick Motorsports and DuPont for 20 years?

A: “It has been such an honor to work with Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports and DuPont for the past 20 years. They are all first class in every way they do things, and I am extremely proud of their loyalty to me, my art and design work. Jeff, his stepfather John Bickford, Rick Hendrick and Edd Stonich with DuPont have all put their faith in me from the beginning and I am tremendously thankful and appreciative of that. It has been an incredible ride to have been on with them through all of their amazing success and accomplishments.”

Q: Do you have a favorite memory with Jeff that you’d like to share?

A: “My favorite memory with Jeff would be hard to single out, as there have been so many. It has just been amazing to watch him transform from the up-and-coming ‘racer kid’ I met in 1992 into the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and sports icon recognized around the world that he is today. All of his success and accomplishments have not changed him though. He is still the nice, sincere, grounded and inspired person I met over 20 years ago, and that is the biggest compliment I could ever pay him.”


Editor’s note: To order the No. 24 20 Years fantasy die-cast designed by Sam Bass, click this link: http://www.lionelnascarcollectables.com/JEFF-GORDON-2012-DUPONT-20-YEARS-OF-RACING-SAM-BASS-SPECIAL-124-ELITE?sc=7&category=6