What Happened at the Carolina Nationals Yesterday?

By David G. Firestone

Yesterday, I called out NASCAR, today, I’m calling out the NHRA. I’m demanding an explanation for what happened during the Carolina Nationals on Sunday! Here is how I watch racing, I’ll watch a live telecast whenever possible, but I’ll watch the NHRA whenever it’s on ESPN or ESPN2 since I don’t get ESPN3. So after watching NASCAR on Sunday, I sat down to watch the Carolina Nationals Final Eliminations. The first round of top fuel and funny car went well, at least from my perspective. Then, pro stock started their first round, and the Allen Johnson/V Gaines race started, and I’ll let the video speak for itself.

The 67 year old Vieri Gaines was unhurt, but what happened next stunned me. What followed was an hour of discussion between the crews and the NHRA officials concerning track conditions. The wreck itself did damage to the track, but there were problems leading up to that race. The track had been dealing with concrete issues on the racing surface. Allen Johnson was interviewed while the wreck was being cleaned up, and he slammed the NHRA for letting the cars race on the surface. John Force was very upset, and Tony Schumacher called the racing surface “un-race-able.” Obviously the NHRA officials were aware of the fears of the drivers and of the conditions of the track. There were attempts made to solve the issues, but rain and a bad surface caused the cancellation.

I want an explanation, from Z-Max Dragway, the NHRA or someone involved as to how a racing surface can get that bad. Obviously there was a failure somewhere, and something like that happened. How could the NHRA and Z-Max Dragway allow the competitors to race on a surface that was obviously not capable of holding races safely! I normally wait until Saturday to post new blogs, but this needs to be discussed right now!

I’m demanding an explanation, and the NHRA and Z-Max Dragway owe not just me, but all of their drivers, crew members, sponsors and fans an explanation. Many fans left disappointed, fans watching from home were too, and there was no reason for this. Why wasn’t the racing surface safe? Why was concrete lifting off the track? Why in the world was the track sub par? What makes it even worse is that someone high up on the NHRA chain of command made a decision to allow the race to go ahead despite an unsafe racing surface, and I want to know why they would risk driver safety in that respect!

Both groups have a duty to ensure the safety of the competitors and fans, both groups failed horribly in that respect. V Gaines got lucky, and wasn’t seriously hurt, but that could have been a lot different. How could something like this take place in this day in age? Tom Compton, Dallas Gardner, Bruton Smith, you owe everyone involved, drivers, crew members, sponsors and fans an explanation for yesterday’s debacle. What happened was unacceptable, and someone needs to stand up and explain what decisions were made prior to the event, what the officials knew, and why the decisions were made the way they were.

Introduction to Sports Memorabilia-Autograph Collection

A collection of baseball, basketball, football, hockey, auto racing, and other autographed items.

The Chase Design Elemets…Too Much of a Good Thing!

By David G. Firestone

Well the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has begun. What that means for the 16 drivers in the Chase is special paint scheme rules. Specifically, all Chase drivers will have yellow numbers on the roof, a yellow windshield banner, a yellow front splitter, and special decals. I waited on discussing this issue because I wanted to see how the cars looked on track. While some cars looked good, with the yellow elements working well, other cars looked awful, with the yellow clashing with the current design scheme. No car suffered as much as Brad Keselowski and the Miller Lite Ford. I can live with the yellow roof numbers, it has been done before, the and I can live with the windshield banners and decals, I’ll comment on that later, the splitter design is pointless and it makes the car look ugly. Why in the world did NASCAR make the splitter yellow? It serves no purpose, and clashes with the rest of the paint scheme.

Now I wanted to comment on something I noticed that NASCAR is doing. I was worried about this and these fears are now coming true. When the windshield banner was introduced with the Gen 6 cars in 2013, I did not like it. I thought it was pointless, and it didn’t add to the car at all. What I was worried about, but I didn’t discuss it was what else NASCAR had planned for the banner. Well we found out this year. In addition to the plain black, there have been green designs for environmental awareness, patriotic designs for memorial day and the 4th of July, and of course the yellow Chase designs. NASCAR is using this as their vehicle for promoting causes. Like pink bats on Mother’s Day, or patriotic jerseys for Memorial Day in baseball. October is around the corner, and the Pink-washing will begin in earnest, and I’ll be shocked if there aren’t pink banners on the windshields.

I noticed something else when it comes to banners. There are two decals that cars carry, one is the Sprint Cup Series decal, and above that is a NASCAR Race Car decal. When the windshield banner is a special design, the NASCAR decal is a matching design. Let’s look at that Brad Keselowski Memorial Day scheme again. Notice the decal just above the Sprint Cup Series decal? It is a star with NASCAR written on it. Now let’s look at Brad’s car from the Brickyard 400. The NASCAR decal is a simpler, more plain design. This is Kevin Harvick’s car with the green banner. Notice the NASCAR decal…it matches the banner. Why is this important for the Chase schemes? Well because whoever came up with this idea felt the need to give the Chase drivers special NASCAR decals. 16 drivers get yellow decals, the rest get silver. I’m reminded of the Star-bellied Sneetches in this situation…the second time that reference has been made in regard to sports uniforms this year.

I’m really wondering how much more NASCAR can over-complicate this, I really am. Why not add yellow wheels and yellow spoilers? I’m amazed that NASCAR could mess this up they way they did. Get rid of the yellow spoilers and NASCAR decals, and I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but too much salt spoils the soup…every time.

The SCCA Set

jonesBy David G. Firestone

I’ve been getting off track(pun intended) lately, and I’m gonna get back to basics. I’ve been wanting to do an article on a set like this for a while. I bought a set of items used by one driver at the same time, namely a driver suit, driving gloves, shoes, goggles, and arm restraints worn at the same time by a driver by the name of Jim Jones, an SCCA racer in the late 1970’s through the late 1980s. He was a weekend warrior who raced for the love of racing. In the late 1980’s he raced a Pontiac Trans Am and was sponsored by Boston-based Nimrod Press.jones

The first and most prominent item is this driver suit. It was worn by Jones in the 1980’s, and is black with red safety stripes and a quilt pattern.jones jonesb The suit shows a nice amount of wear. There are a number of small sponsor patches on the chest and it has a blood type indication sewn into the suit under the number. jones-rchest jones-lchestThis is so that in the event of a very severe accident, the hospital can know quickly what blood type Jones is and get him a transfusion. You also often see this on motorcycle helmets. The shoulders have safety straps, the sleeves have safety stripes in red, and the old school SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS patch on the sleeve. jones-rshoulder jones-rsleeve1 jones-rsleeve2 jones-lshoulder jones-lsleeve1 jones-lsleeve2The belt,jones-belt legs,jones-legs and back jones-bhave no decoration to speak of.  There is a small tear just above the belt.jones-wearThe second item is a pair of Worth racing gloves. jones-gloves-1The gloves show a large amount of wear, with the Worth racing logo damaged on both gloves, and the padding on the gloves is highly soiled.jones-gloves-2 jones-gloves-3 jones-gloves-4 jones-gloves-5 jones-gloves-6 jones-gloves-7 jones-gloves-8 jones-gloves-9

The third item is a pair of Simpson racing shoes, jones-shoes-1which show a decent amount of wear. I love the fact that the inside of the shoes is neon yellow, whereas the outside of the shoes are all black.jones-shoes-2 jones-shoes-3 jones-shoes-4 jones-shoes-5

The third and fourth items are pairs of goggles. The first is a French pair of Bolle goggles, which show a decent amount of wear. jones-goggles1-1 jones-goggles1-2 jones-goggles1-3 jones-goggles1-4 jones-goggles1-5The second pair is an Italian pair of Carerra goggles, which also show a large amount of wear.jones-goggles2-1 jones-goggles2-2 jones-goggles2-3 jones-goggles2-4 jones-goggles2-5 These were from a time when drivers wore helmets that mandated goggles. Even full-faced helmets needed goggles.

The last item is a pair of arm restraints. Many racing series mandate these to prevent arm injuries that occur from crashes when the drivers are in restricted driver cockpit. This particular pair of restraints were made by Auto Pro, and show a decent amount of use.jones-arm-1 jones-arm-2

Now we move on to…

TAILGATING TIME!

This week, I’m gonna share my recipe for Dave’s Nitro Burning Ribs.  These ribs are easy to prepare and have a unique sauce.  I like to use a Siracha Stout barbeque sauce for my ribs.  So, without further ado, the rib recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

For the ribs:

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon granulated onion

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon white pepper

3 racks baby back ribs, about 5 pounds

For the barbecue sauce:

2 tbs olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 1/3 cup ketchup
4 tbs worcestershire sauce
3 tsp sriracha
4 tsp smoked paprika
2 cup Stout
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp onion powder

DIRECTIONS:

1. Mix together the cumin, garlic, granulated onion, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, white pepper, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the ribs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Unwrap the ribs and place them on a baking sheet. Cover completely with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the foil and let the ribs cool. Refrigerate them, wrapped in plastic, until you are ready to pack, up to 24 hours.

3. While the ribs are cooking, it’s time to make the sauce. In a pot over medium heat, add the oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and stir until you can smell it, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Allow to cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Until you are ready to leave.

4. Just before leaving, Place the racks in a large, seal-able plastic container. Add 1 cup of the barbecue sauce and stir so all the ribs are coated.

5. At the track, Prepare the coals. When the coals are hot, grill the ribs for 10 minutes, until they are lightly charred and heated through, turning them several times and applying several more coatings of sauce.

Serve the ribs hot, accompanied by more sauce.

Introduction to Sports Memorabilia-Race-Used Equipment

A collection of NASCAR, and NHRA race used equipment, including parts and sheet metal.

Oakley…Not Just For Sunglasses Anymore!

98-romesburgBy David G. Firestone

When you say “driver suit” you think of names like Simpson, Sparco, Impact!, OMP, Stand 21, and Momo, you don’t automatically think of Oakley. Oakley started in 1975 as a sunglasses company by Jim Jannard in his garage in Foothill Ranch California. He got the name from Oakley, his English Setter. He went from working in his garage to one of the biggest sunglasses companies in the world. They design eyewear for athletes, the military, skiers, and, starting in the late 2000’s, motorsports apparel.

Oakley makes a number of racing items, the most prominent being driver suits. IndyCar drivers Justin Wilson, Ed Carpenter, Mike Conway, and Josef Newgarden all wear Oakley driver suits as do Alex Bowman, Ryan Truex, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Michael Waltrip, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in NASCAR and Tony Schumacher in the NHRA. While they make suits for the top drivers in the sport, for some reason they don’t seem to sell suits through their own site, you have to go to a third-party site to buy their racing suits…which to me seems odd, because no one else ever does that.98-romesburg 98-romesburgb 98-romesburg-pantThis particular suit was worn by Jason Romesburg, who was the rear tire changer for Paul Menard in 2010. Menard had a decent season, with a top 5, and 6 top 10’s and 17 laps led. The suit shows heavy use, with the right cuff on the pant leg destroyed.98-romesburg-pant-rlogo 98-romesburg-pant-rcuff In addition to the damage to the pant leg, what strikes me about this suit is that the material seems so light. While it is safety certified, it does not feel like a Nomex suit. It is very light for a suit of its size.

The suit is a two-piece and the jacket does not show as much wear as the pants, and I understand the reason. The logo about the Menard’s logo is for Mastercraft Doors. 98-romesburg-flogoPaul Menard races with Menard’s on the quarter panel and a rotating set of sponsors on the hood. Mastercraft Doors was on the hood for 3 races in 2010, the Brickyard 400, the Carfax 400 at Michigan, and the Ford 400 at Homestead. While the jacket doesn’t show as much wear, it does show some staining on the sleeves. 98-romesburg-rsleeve1 98-romesburg-rsleeve2 98-romesburg-rshoulder 98-romesburg-shoulder 98-romesburg-lseeve1 98-romesburg-lsleeve2There are stains on the white area of the sleeves. Since Romesburg was a tire changer, this is to be expected.

The two piece suit is very popular with pit crews because it has the same fire protection as a one piece but with less restriction than a one piece. If you have ever worn a one-piece jumpsuit you know that it does restrict movement, as opposed to a jacket and pants of the exact same size. So when you are changing 4 tires in 14 seconds, you need every edge you get. What I don’t see on the jacket are arm gussets. These would be used to add movement without subtracting fire protection. I have two theories on this, either the suit fit well enough that they weren’t needed, or because the crews were switching jackets so often that expense or time dictated that arm gussets couldn’t be used.

One detail I love are the television logos on the sleeves.98-romesburg-lsleeve2 98-romesburg-rsleeve2 The dual logos on the sleeves look good and actually work well for both sponsors. The suit actually looks pretty good, but I do not like the quilt pattern on the legs, because it isn’t represented on the jacket, and it does look pretty odd in this respect. It does look like the two were designed and made by different people. I’m also amazed by how lackluster the warranty label is…98-romesburg-tag2 98-romesburg-tag1 98-romesburg-pant-tag1 98-romesburg-pant-tag2That is the shortest warranty label I have ever seen on a modern suit. Let’s compare it to a Simpson tag…41-craven-tag1Wow that is a short warranty label, also, I don’t think a skull and crossbones don’t belong on this kind of suit, but it does say what it needs to say, just in a much shorter form than most driver suits.

In short, Oakley is making decent suits, and they are doing what they are designed to do, protect the driver from fire. I think Oakley suit could catch with minor league racers, provided they start marketing them better. The fact that they don’t sell them through their own website, and provide more info on the drivers who wear their suits make it hard to sell them to the general public. Puma, which has a lot of talent on its roster too, does not want to sell through its own website. Why they don’t is a mystery, as there is a lot of money in these suits, and people will pay for high quality suits made by a reputable company.

Before I get to the Paint Scheme Reviews, we have some breaking news on a story I had discussed in my Silly Season post a few weeks ago.  I had mentioned at the time that Comcast was in negotiations with NASCAR to become the title sponsor of the Nationwide Series.  Nationwide Insurance is leaving the series at the end of the season.  Well it was announced on Wednesday  that Comcast and NASCAR have come to a deal for a 10 year sponsorship of what will be called the Xfinity Series.  It was not revealed how much the deal was worth, but we are talking hundreds of millions of dollars.   I will be interested to see the series logo and what Xfinity does with the new deal.  Now on to…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!

Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Aluminum Pint Chevy SS A bit cluttered, the solid red works well with Budweiser, and it has a classic look with a modern twist. A-

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS The front is a bit over designed, the ribbon on the side does work somewhat, and the orange, I’d never thought I would say this, is too dull. I’ll give it a C+

Joe Nemechek #66 Friedman Law Firm Toyota Camry Law firms can be good at what they do, and they are apparently great at designing race cars. Clean, simple, attractive with a good color scheme eans an A+

Clay Rogers #75 Beard Oil Chevy SS Beard Motorsports is making their debut with Clay Rogers at Richmond in the Beard Oil Chevy. Their first time car has a great design scheme and a great color scheme and earns an A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SS A great design with a great color scheme and a great simple design. My sticking point with this is that I do not like the silver numbers, the font design just doesn’t work. I’ll give it a B+

David Stremme #90 Junie Donlavey Tribute Chevy SS Junie Donlavey passed away earlier this year, and Circle Sport Racing will run this design based on his 1972 Ford Gran Torino. It looks amazing, and I have to give it an A+

Josh Wise #98 Provident Metals Ford Fusion Looks good, good color scheme, decent design scheme. Too many stripes. I looked Provident Metals up and found that they are a precious metal dealer who make a currency called “Zombucks” which they jokingly market as “currency for the Apocalypse.” I’ll give it an A-

Home Beer Brewing Project Update…

DSCN1093Two weeks ago, I started the work on brewing beer using the Mr. Beer Homebrewing Kit.  It fermented for two weeks, and I bottled it this week.  The recipe will make 2 gallons of beer, which fits into four 2-liter bottles.  I added the sugar to the bottles…DSCN1114added some liquid to the bottom to get the mixture started…DSCN1115then I bottled the four 2-liter bottles…DSCN1116Now I have to wait two more weeks for the carbination to complete….DSCN1117then I have to chill for two days prior to enjoying…Ugh!  Well, I’ll keep you posted, and I’ll have some jam while I wait…

Introduction to Sports Memorabilia-Racing Figurines

A collection of NASCAR, and NHRA Starting Lineup figures from the late 1990’s.

Die Casts Examined

43-combs1 - CopyBy David G. Firestone

Recently, I came across a design quirk I had never seen on a car before.  Take a look at these two cars above.  These two design schemes were used by Rodney Combs in 1994. He raced in the Busch Grand National Series. He had 3 top 10’s, and led 11 laps. Now while these two paint schemes look completely different, they are a lot more connected than you might think…43-combs1 43-combs2 43-combs3 43-combs4 43-combs5 43-combs6 43-combs1 - Copy (2)Yes this was an actual paint scheme used on a real race car. I had never seen a design scheme like this before or since.  It is one of the oddest paint schemes I have ever seen. Normally if two different companies sponsor a car, one runs their scheme for a number of races, and the other runs their scheme for a number of races. The driver suit is no less unusual. But I bought this for another reason besides just the paint scheme.  This is an example of a NASCAR bank. These were marketed for a number of years to kids as collectibles.  They were marketed to kids in the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s.   They are 1:24 scale, and are the same design as their die-cast toy counterparts. They faded out after a while. After trying to use one, I now understand why they faded from use. Let’s look at the bottom.43-combs6

The bank opens with a key and the door that the coins are supposed to come out of is much too small for a standard American coin to fall out of. I tried to remove some coins and it took me 45 minutes to remove all of them. While they were a good idea on paper, their practicalities made them next to useless and needlessly annoying.

We move from the old to the new, with this Carl Edwards design from 2013.   This is my first die-cast scheme of the Gen 6 car, and I have to say, I’m amazed at the detail.  Check it out.99-edwards1Carl ran the UPS scheme for one race in 2013, at the Quaker State 400, where he started 2nd, led 35 laps, but finished 21st. This is an autographed version, of which only 900 were sold by Lionel. Unlike the bank, this is a very accurate design. It’s made of a more lightweight metal, the window net is cloth,99-edwards1 - Copy (2)the grill is accurate,99-edwards3 - Copyso are the door decals.99-edwards1 - CopyThe hood opens,99-edwards4

the deck lid opens,99-edwards9

the roof flaps work,99-edwards12

the details are really accurate, and the paint scheme is amazingly accurate.99-edwards1 - CopyIt has all the details of it’s on track counterparts at a 1:24 scale, with a nice Carl Edwards signature on the windshield.   My biggest complaint is that the hood is difficult to open, and does not open very far.  It takes away from the appearance.  99-edwards2 99-edwards1 99-edwards3 99-edwards4 99-edwards6 99-edwards7 99-edwards8 99-edwards9 99-edwards11 99-edwards1299-edwards5Now we move on to the real thing with…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!

Michael Annett #7 Pilot /Allstate Peterbuilt/St Jude’s Chevy SS Great color scheme, great simple design, A+

Clint Bowyer #15 Speed Digital Toyota Camry Clint keeps up a streak of bad schemes with his RK Motors scheme but with a different logo. D-

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford Fusion Great color scheme, good design, I give it an A-, the number still looks horrible.

Ty Dillion #33 Rheem Comfort Products Chevy SS From this moment onward, anytime I see camo on the side of a race car it will be an automatic 1 letter grade deduction. In this case it takes a great scheme, and ruins it. It would have been an A scheme, but with the contrasting designs, it earns a C-

Landon Cassill #40 CRC 1 Tank Renew Chevy SS Decent color scheme, but the design is a bit overdone. If it didn’t have the yellow stripes on the back I would like it more, but this is a decent scheme, worth a B-

Justin Allgaier #51 Auto Owners Insurance Chevy SS Can’t say anything bad about this scheme, A+

Michael McDowell #95 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford Fusion Let me get this straight, The Turtles are in a Michael Bay directed movie that to date has made over $242 million and this scheme seems to go out of its way not to use the movie? I’m trying to make sense of that…OK, now the color scheme is good, but the back of the car is very cluttered. Even still it’s a B+ scheme.

Introduction to Sports Memorabilia-Racing Mini Helmets

A collection of NASCAR,IndyCar and NHRA mini helmets from across the years

The Silly Season…and Why It Isn’t Silly For Me…

By David G. Firestone

It’s August, the summer is winding down, you are seeing back to school ads on TV, Halloween stuff is popping up in stores, and the Silly Season is officially underway. For me, this begins the most hectic part of the year for The Driver Suit Blog. Within the next few months, driver changes, sponsor changes and team changes will be announced. There is always a shakeup of some kind, and this year will be no different.

Carl Edwards, for example, will be leaving Roush Fenway Racing after the season. It was announced on Tuesday that Edwards would be moving to Joe Gibbs Racing and driving the #19 Toyota Camry. He has sponsors, one of which is Arris, which is a communications company for 17 races. The remaining 19 races he has a sponsor for the other races, but that hasn’t been addressed yet.

Where a driver is in the points helps with these kinds of decisions. As it stands right now, there are 1- drivers in the Chase because of a victory, and X driver who are in the Chase because of points. Will that change before Chicagoland? I have no reason to believe it won’t. I will be watching the Federated Auto Parts 400 this year, in light of what happened last year. I would have to believe that something like last year can happen. As of today, there are 12 drivers, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almorla, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Johnson, Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano have a spot in the Chase due to wins. That leaves 4 spots open, and with 3 races to go it is highly unlikely that there will be 3 new winners, so some drama can and will happen.

The part where it gets really bad is that from here to Daytona in February, there will be 2015 paint schemes released on a regular basis. The problem is that every 2015 scheme I grade will have to be taken with a grain of salt. For example,in mid-August last year, Brian Vickers was announced to drive the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine. The announcement included photos of the car. However, later on, a new design was released, and became the current standard. I didn’t complain too much because both designs are good. But this is a constant issue for me, do I grade them as-is, or do I back off and wait? This will get more and more frustrating between now and Homestead. An example of this is that Ricky Stenhouse Jr.and Greg Biffle  just announced one of their new car designs for 2015. I will take it with a grain of salt, but I will grade it below as I normally would.

Something I also have to take into consideration is that something late in the season will cause a major change to the playing field. A perfect example is the unpleasantness last year at the Federated Auto Parts 400. After that scandal, Napa announced that it would be leaving Michael Waltrip Racing, and that left Martin Truex Jr. without a ride. He moved to Furniture Row Racing, and the full-time #56 became the part time #66.

One other major story I am following and I’m sure you are as well is who will sponsor the Nationwide Series next season? It was announced in 2013 that after 2014, Nationwide Insurance would be leaving as the series sponsor. Nothing definitive has been announced as of today, but I would have to believe there will be an announcement before the season ends. I’m curious just as the rest of us as to who that would be. Comcast is negotiatinng a deal for the series, and I would think a deal would be announced quite soon.

There will be driver changes, sponsor changes, team changes, and schedule changes. A rumor is going around that The Southern 500 will move back to Labor Day, Atlanta will follow the Daytona 500, and that the first Bristol race is moving from early March to mid-April. Again, when the schedule is announced we will know for sure. There are little changes every year, and after a while these little changes add up to big changes.

One other bit of news I need to address is that on Monday, a number of teams stayed at Michigan to test some 2015 rule changes. All totaled, 6 different car configurations were tested for a total of 160 laps. Again, equipment changes are a common event between seasons and this is nothing new. Information will be taken, adjustments will be made, and there will be more testing during the off season. Once that happens, the rules package will be created and distributed to the teams for the upcoming season.

Now before I get into paint schemes, I’d like to discuss something that has been happening in F1 for a while and I think needs to be stopped. Between the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 27, and the Belgian Grand Prix on August 29, F1 is on it’s “summer break.” This is due to the high travel restrictions and the limit on active crew members an F1 team can have. Teams don’t show up to the track on the Friday before the race, they show up on the Monday before the race. While I am not unsympathetic to the demands on crew members, I am a racing fan. F1 is one of the most watched sports in the world, with telecasts that can get as many as 54 million viewers worldwide. Fans love the sport, and the summer break is a headache. So here is my solution. First, we double the number of active personnel that the team can have, so fresh guys that can be rotated. Second, we extend the season by 4 weeks, so that there can be time for drivers and crew to relax between events.

Now we have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!

First, we have our first 2015 paint scheme,

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford Fusion  Great color scheme, good design, I give it an A-, the number still looks horrible.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion Decent design, great color scheme, I hope this scheme stays on…A

Now on to 2014 Schemes…

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite/Careers for Veterans Ford Fusion This is a rare case where the quarterpanel logo needs to be bigger. The lettering is hard to see in this photo, and was harder to see on the telecast. It takes an A scheme down to a B+

Michael Annett #7 Pilot /Allstate Peterbuilt Chevy SS Great color scheme, great simple design, A+

Greg Biffle #16 Roush Perfomance Ford Fusion Red and black is a great color combination, and I like the dot fade effect. This is the best Biffle scheme all year and it earns an A

Greg Biffle #16 Hire our Heroes Ford Fusion Another prime example of why came and race cars don’t mix.  This is just an awful mess.  The American flag motif just looks horrible with the camo, but I think it might look good by itself.  I’ll give it a D

Kyle Busch #18 Doublemint Gum Toyota Camry Great color scheme, great design, A+

Alex Bowman #23 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry I don’t like green on race cars, but at least here it is used tastefully. It works very well and earns an A+

Cole Whitt #26 Bully Hill Vineyards Toyota Camry Good color scheme, odd design for the sponsor. A vineyard using a spilled wine design to sell wine…not a good look. C-

Cole Whitt #26 Speed Stick/Iowa City Chop House Toyota Camry I find it amazing that the same team that brought the terrible scheme above could come up with an A+ scheme for the race one week later.

Travis Kvapil #32 Keen Parts/Try Androzone Ford Fusion Great simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Travis Kvapil #32 Skuttle Tight Ford Fusion Great simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Alex Kennedy #33 Circle Sport Chevy SS Good color scheme, bad design, it’s giving me a headache, D+

David Stremme #33 ThunderCoal Chevy SS Good color scheme bad design, C-

Aric Almirola #43 Eckrich Ford Fusion Ok, I thought we had this said, but I’ll say it again…CAMO DOES NOT WORK ON RACE CARS! It takes an A scheme down to a C-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevy SS Another classic Jimmie Johnson A+ scheme!

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Chevy SS  Reportedly, Jimmie was unhappy with the color scheme change from blue to white and asked Lowes to swtich back to blue after a series of sub-par finishes.  Lowes agreed, and the car is another classic Jimmie Johnson A+ scheme!

Joe Nemechek #66 Landcastle Title Toyota Camry Great simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Nelson Piquet Jr. #77 Worx Ford Fusion Another tasteful use of green, another A+ scheme!

Josh Wise #98 Provident Metals Ford Fusion  The word horrible is not enough to describe this car!  Too overdesigned and with a bad color scheme, I can only give it an F

Carl Edwards #99 Ford Eco-Boost Ford Fusion The word of the day is overdesigned. Good color scheme, but overdesgined and a C- gradeDSCN1093Before I go I wanted to tell you about a project.  I recently bought a Mr. Beer home brewing kit.  It is a kit for beginers like me who have no experience brewing beer.  It is a realativly simple process.  The kit comes with a 2 gallon fermenter, some booster sugar, brewer’s yeast, a pale ale hopped malt extract, and some no rinse cleanser. DSCN1097 DSCN1095   You need a non wooden spoon, a glass bowl a can opener and a measuring cup.  DSCN1096You use the no rinse cleanser to sanitize everything you use to make the beer, then you place the hopped malt extract and booster containers in hot water while you boil 4 cups of water.DSCN1099While the water is boiling, you fill the fermenter with 4 quarts of cold water.  Once the water is boiled, you add the hopped malt extract, and booster sugar, and mix well.DSCN1100 DSCN1101  Then you pour the mix into the fermenter, add more water, and then add the yeast.  DSCN1105 DSCN1108 DSCN1109Now comes the hard part, we have to wait two weeks for it to ferment.  I’ll keep you posted.

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