By David G. Firestone
With the sad passing of Dick Trickle, as well as the All-Star Race, and the Memorial Day trifecta next week, I decided today I needed a change of pace, and I wouldn’t think about racing or driver suits today. So with my uncle in town, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It’s an amazing museum with a lot of fun things to see and do, and we had a great time.
There is a new exhibit as well, Science Storms, an impressive state of the art exhibit detailing the science of natural phenomena, and how modern society has to interact with it. It is on two floors in the main gallery. On the second floor, there are displays for physics, magnetism, electricity, and fire among other things. At the end of the balcony, there is a large Tesla coil mounted in the ceiling. Nearby, I was shocked to see this display:
Now first off, why is the picture of Jeff Gordon from 2011 when the suit is from 2002? I think that it would be better if the picture of Gordon featured him wearing the suit on display. But that’s a minor complaint compared to some of the other issues the display has. The bag in the display clearly states “Jeff Gordon 2003.” So that might lead one to believe that the suit was from 2003. However after doing some research, the suit is from 2002. Looking at a 2003 suit, The Quaker State logo is different, the Lowes logo is gone, and the GMAC and Goodyear logos are in different places. So kudos to the museum for catching that.
The biggest issue is with the helmet cut in half. The sign clearly states “Jeff Gordon’s Helmet, Circa 2002.” Just taking a look at it, and I can clearly tell it’s not race-worn. I can tell for a number of reasons. Let’s start with the obvious fact that the color schemes on the helmet and driver suit are completely different. Second off, there are no ventilation ports or microphone equipment present. Since Gordon was wearing the vent on the left side of his helmet, the fact it is not there is very telling. Considering that DuPont Automotive Finishes paid nearly $12 million total to sponsor Gordon in 2002, his sponsor logos are conspicuously absent, and for a helmet that was supposedly worn for an entire racing season, it seems to be in very VERY good condition, almost new. It should also be noted that there are no HANS anchors present. At first I thought it was because the helmet was not meant to have them, but it turns out they were either supposed to be there, or have been removed. Why this occurred is not clear, but it clearly was NOT worn by Jeff Gordon. In fact, I would be shocked if he ever held this helmet.
But there is one other issue with this display. The whole display is geared around fire protection, but there is no mention of safety certification. This is not a minor complaint, as the suit has a FIA certification on the back of the neck, but in the display is almost invisible.
That picture, as bad as it is, is the best I can do, because the side of the display is inaccessible to viewers. If a display discussing fire safety, at least mention that the suit is certified to do just that!
Outside of that display, I had a great time at the Museum of Science and Industry, and I can look past those complaints to say that it is a really nice display that tells viewers a lot about racing safety. So if you are ever in Chicago, stop on over. I promise it is worth the time!
Now on to NASCAR All-Star Showdown Special Schemes…
First the All-Star Showdown Schemes…
Jamie McMurray #1 Bass Pro Shops/NWTF Chevy SS-Great Color Scheme, Awful design, C+
Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Cares Chevy SS-The racing stripe makes the scheme look better, and the hood logo is good as well A
Mike Bliss #19 Gentry Plastics Inc. Toyota Camry-Good color scheme and simple design work well here, A
Landon Cassill #33 Bicycle NASCAR Playing Cards Chevy SS-Decent color scheme, but the design is all over the place, way too chaotic, C-
JJ Yeley #36 World TradeX Chevy SS- Not much to say here…other than make the logo bigger. D-
Brian Keselowski #52 Supportmillitary.org Toyoa Camry-Eww…Too much going on, with the oversized camo in too many different colors, and the door design which is awful. F-
Now On to All-Star Race Schemes.
Brad Keselwoski #2 Miller Lite Fan Mosiac Ford Fusion. It looks really good, and the pictures of the fans give it a condensation on the can effect that is really cool. A+
Greg Biffle #16 3M Filtrete Ford Fusion-Could you please pick a color scheme and stick with it? Two different color schemes on the same car is just awful. But they are two good color schemes. C-
Ryan Newman #39 Aspen Dental Chevy SS-Good colors, but awful design…what does this have to do with teeth? C-
Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Patriotic Chevy SS-Not the best scheme he has run all year, but I would love to see the car in that shade of red on the bottom C-