C.G.R. brought the Gearwrench Camaro to 6 races in 2020. Up one from the previous year. The car raced well at it's first appearance at the Phoenix Spring Race, finishing 6th. It then followed up that run by impressively finishing 7th at Charlotte for the Coke 600. But after those races the Gearwrench Chevy didn't find much success. More on that later.
The bottom line in is that in the 1/64 scale authentic line, with Kurt Busch's sponsor 'Monster Energy' on the car for the majority of races, we don't see the number 1 car frequently available to collectors. The fact that Monster is a constant associate sponsor also means that in order for the car to be released in the Authentics line, the logo needs to be omitted from the entire car. This has in my opinion led to a rather plain looking model. Let's see how it scores.
Paint and Printing: (1 Point/3)
The tricky thing about this car, and any car wrapped or painted in the 'flat black' scheme is how it is translated from 1/1 scale to 1/64. I have seen many examples where it has been executed successfully. On this particular model the base coat is indeed a flat black. The original coating is complete and neatly applied. It covers the whole car and forms a nice base from which the scheme starts. But finding success at the next level is where the problems begin.
On top of the flat black base scheme Lionel has utilized a sticker wrap to apply the numbers, logos, and primary and secondary scheme components. Some areas are perfect, the C.G.R. "1" looks great no matter where it appears on the car. The hood logo and the roof logo are both perfectly centered and show no signs of crookedness. The orange and white side stripes look pretty good flying out from behind the front wheels and the orange fad-to-black running from the forward fender to the upper mid-point of the car look great. It's a clinic on how well Lionel can print phenomenal detail in the scale.
The issue I have though is that there is absolutely no hiding the seam on the forward facing side of the front fender where the front grill decal meets with the side panel decal This really takes away from the over all look of the car and for this, a point must be taken away.
The other area where I have an issue is where the clear components of the printing/decal are not sealed to the body of the race car. Areas where this is a problem are not limited to the roof rails, the driver side window frame, the gap between the engine hood and the front fenders, and the deck lid. I understand that these are largely excusable, but this is a regularly uncommon issue. This time it really takes away from the only KB car we're going to get in 2020. For that, another point is lost.
There are some triumphs, the front end of the car is slick and all the main components are largely in the right place. The only other issue I have is how the white stripe that runs parallel to the hood turns inward by the time it gets to the headlight stickers. The stripe should remain straight and connect to the outermost parts of the front end of the car.
One final issue I have is how plain this car really appears and just because Lionel can't use the Monster logo, there's no excuse. For example, whey can they print the Clover logo on the driver side window frame, but they can't print it on the rear quarter panel? This car didn't cary the logo at Charlotte but it clearly did at Talladege and having a little extra detail on there would help this car go from a 1 to a 2 in Paint and Printing. A missed opportunity. Final score 1/3.
Mould and Assembly: (2 Points/3)
As anybody knows the other important factor is, does it roll well?
In fact the car rolls very well and does not have any 'yaw' leaning or meandering as takes into action. The car also has all four wheels (which are properly detailed I might add) on the ground with good body clearance. These things can be hit or miss but all seems to be in order here. Final grade 2/3.
Historical Significance and Cool Factor: (2 Points/3)
Besides a Las Vegas win that was over two decades in the making and a few solid runs, Kurt Busch never really contended for wins on a regular basis in 2020. And he was also never exceedingly competitive in the Gearwrench scheme. In fact, the car was involved in two of the 5 DNFs in 2020. The worst of which was at the first race in the doubleheader at Dover. The 40th place finish that resulted was a huge impediment to Kurt making the playoffs. He was able to overcome however and later on with that L.V. win, he was able to make it to the round of 8.
This car probably had it's most notable moment starting in the Coca Cola 600. The car started on the pole position and finished 7th. To this day however, C.G.R. has been unable to get to victory lane in the Gearwrench Camaro. Gearwrench will be back with the team in 2021 but its undetermined how many races they will be onboard for. I'm sure K.B. is just as eager to deliver as Gearwrench is to getting that first win. With K.B's career winding down, hopefully this will be the year.
-Phoenix Spring Race, Fan Shield 500- Finish- 6th
-Charlotte Spring Race 1: C.C. 600- Finish- 7th
-Homestead: Dixie Vodka 400- Finish- 17th
-Dover #1: Drydene 311 Race 1- Finish- 40th-crash
-Diver #2: Drydene 311 Race 2- Finish- 13th
-Talladega Fall Race, Yellawood 500- Finish- 32nd-crash
Over all, I love orange and black race cars. They always seem to look great no matter the sponsor. So even though this car isn't really identified as one that's made a major impact on the sport, there's no doubt it looks good and the 1/64 example (minus the paint and printing issues) looks really exceptional as well. When there are so few Kurt Busch schemes to chose from, that makes this car one worth adding to the collection. Final score (2/3).
Conclusion and Recommendation: (1 Point/1)
Here I will investigate 1/64 scale diecast race cars and the on track impact of each car.