For the 12 season premier, we will look at my collection of Nationwide, Camping World Truck, IndyCar and NHRA die casts
For the 12 season premier, we will look at my collection of Nationwide, Camping World Truck, IndyCar and NHRA die casts
By David G. Firestone
I try to keep it light as I can on The Driver Suit Blog. I try not to get into very serious issues, but the events on Saturday night have forced my hand in this respect. As you all know by now, last Saturday, Tony Stewart was involved in a tragic incident at a sprint car race where fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. was sadly killed. I as well as many people were shocked that it had happened. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Kevin Ward Jr.
A couple days after the incident happened, I got into a discussion with a friend of mine who is a long time boxing fan. He recounted watching the Ray Mancini/Kim Duk-koo fight in 1982. Like many fans he thought that it was a great fight, and was shocked at the aftermath. Mancini blamed himself for what happened, and had to have friends and family support to get back in the ring.
There is an interesting parallel to these incidents. Both Tony Stewart and Ray Mancini are competitors and they did not mean to end another life in competition. Nobody wanted this to happen, and they feel horrible that it did. At the same time, they do bear the responsibility of what happened because they were directly involved. Tony is considered one of the best race car drivers in America and he knew how to handle these cars. He raced these cars his whole life. Again, he didn’t want this to happen but his actions helped lead to this accident.
Do the other competitors have some culpability in these incidents? Yes. In the Ray Mancini/Kim Duk-koo fight, Duk-koo was a willing participant and stayed in the fight longer than he should have. Kevin Ward Jr. was a willing participant. He got out of the car and tried to confront Tony Stewart. Every racing sanctioning body has rules governing getting out of a car on track. What I’m about to say might seem insensitive but it needs to be said. If Kevin had never got out of the car and tried to confront Tony, then the incident would never have happened. Again that might seem insensitive, but the truth often is. I understand he is a race car driver, I understand he loved what he did, and he was passionate about it. That can be understood, if not respected. However in the heat of the moment he made a bad choice, and paid the price for it.
One thing that I have to think will change is that NASCAR will make a rule change concerning Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series drivers racing these “extracurricular” races. I’ve been wondering if and when a decision like this would be made, and I think that now NASCAR has no other choice. People wonder why Tony would race in these kinds of races that often pay less than $3000 when he is a 3 time Sprint Cup Champion. The answer is simple, Tony is the kind of guy who is truly happy when he is in a race car. The man loves to race. You or I can make judgments, but racing isn’t just a job, its a love of his.
This is not without precedent, since the accident, two dirt tracks in New York have made changes to the rules, and there are hints that NASCAR would do the same in the very foreseeable future.. The rule would be that a driver must stay in their car after a wreck until the safety crew arrives, unless the car is on fire, or the driver’s safety is in jeopardy.
One of the other rules I was wondering about was changed on Friday, when NASCAR announced that effective immediate, a rule is now in place banning drivers from exiting cars unless the car is on fire, there is smoke in the driver compartment, or any other situation where the driver’s safety is in danger, or may be in danger. This is a welcome change from the past, and I hope other tracks and sanctioning bodies follow up.
I’m as shocked as anyone when it comes to Saturday night, but what happened has happened. I’ve had an article concerning Tony Stewart ready for a while, but I’m gonna hold off for the time being. I will also not grade any of his paint schemes in respect to the accident this last week. I ask all of my readers not to judge until all the facts are in, as I will when it comes to this situation.
For the 12 season premier, we will look at my NASCAR Sprint Cup Die Cast collection.
I love the design aspects of driver suits, I really do. From older suits where aesthetics wasn’t one of the main focuses, to modern suits where everything is precisely where it should be, I love suit design. There is an organization and a subtlety to design that deserves to be appreciated. I thought I had seen most designs, until I saw this one. This is a Bill McAnally Racing pit crew suit. I have no idea what year exactly when this suit is from. It looks as cluttered as I have ever seen a driver suit. Whereas most driver suit may have 12 to 15 logos visible on the front, this suit has, in total, 24 logos. It looks really cluttered and awkward. I love NAPA and I think they have great cars and a great color scheme, but this looks like it was thrown together at the last minute.Interestingly, the suit is made by MotoWear, which is one of the more low-rent driver suit manufacturers. It shows in the suits because the large NAPA logos look very odd. It doesn’t look as smooth as other logos on suits, and it has a low rent look. The logos on the collars,back torso,sleeves, and legsall share a similar look. I also find it interesting that there is no series logo on the suit at all. Bill McAnally Racing is in the Wheelin All American Series, and the K&N Pro Series
The other reason the suit is featured this week is that it is an example of something that, prior to this, I had only seen on racing official suits. The SFI logo, normally found on the left wrist, is visible on the left sleeve. While I was not able to find a picture, many pit road officials wear firesuits with the SFI patch on the left sleeve. Other NASCAR officials wear the SFI logo on the back of their necks, but on the back of the neck of this suit is the MotoWear logo. The placement of the logo just adds to an already cluttered look to the suit.
As for a MotoWear suit, it has a warranty tag, a wash tag, and it is really well made. For a pit crew suit it is really well made. I say it is a pit crew suit because on the tag is written Bill Lowe. After many hours of searching, I was unable to find a Bill Lowe as a driver. It is likely that Bill Lowe was a pit crew member. It looks really good, and I also like the quilt pattern, you just don’t see that anymore.
Another item of news this week is that BidAMI Auctions, which is based in Las Vegas is auctioning off a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Driver Suit. Starting this week, I will look at major auction houses, and if a driver suit, or other piece of NASCAR memorabilia I think should be promoted, I will link to it here.
Bill Sedgewick raced for one season in the Die Hard Chevy 1500 CKfor the 1996 Craftsman Truck Series for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, and this press kit was issued for that season.
By David G. Firestone
I don’t usually watch Motor City Masters, but I tuned in on Tuesday, since the theme this week was NASCAR. For those who don’t know, Motor City Masters is a reality show on TruTv featuring designers competing for a design job at Chevy as well as $100,000. Each designer designs something in the beginning and the two design managers and the managers will pick the design team from the rest of the competors. The two teams will, in turn, take a Chevy model picked for the episode and turn it into a concept car. It’s a basic reality show. I watched it, took notes, and took my notes and made it into a cohesive article.
Jameson, who comes across as kind of a jerk, actually said the perfect thing about race cars… “Function first, appearance second.” I really had high hopes for the episode, but it was a let down. First off, the show has a direct endorsement with Chevy, and AJ Allmendinger made a cameo appearance in the episode. The design challenge was to take a Chevy SS race car and design it a futuristic manner. The car they provided for the design challenge looked NOTHING like a Sprint Cup Chevy SS! It looked like they took an old Monte Carlo from a low ranking team and re-decaled in into an SS! It looked awful! As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was an NHRA-style Christmas tree in the background! Why? When did NASCAR start using the tree? Did anyone involved with the set design do any research?
Moving on from that, Camillo and Darby won the design challenge, and Darby had the better of the two. She actually created a futuristic design with NASCAR design elements. The smartest discussion I heard in the episode was from Edward T Welburn, Vice President of Global Design for GM. He discussed that Louis Chevy was a race car driver, and discusses how sponsors like the car to be distinctive and to stand out. He then said that the Chevy SS is “a strong link to what Chevy races in NASCAR” which is kind of true, since the NASCAR SS and the street SS are alike in name only.
I got excited when I heard the basic theory of the competition, but got really nervous when it became clear that a huge part of the challenge would be to have a back story based on a color scheme…oh no! I can’t imagine this end well. The teams were selected, the challenge started, and the teams went to the back to work on the design. As much as I complain about color schemes in the Paint Scheme Reveiws, I can’t imagine that they would pick what I consider a good color scheme.
As is the case with these kinds of shows, there was a lot of pissing and moaning about various design aspects and eventually, the cars are started upon on the second day, when the cars are in the pre painting stage, that is when the colors start to work. Carmillo takes photos of himself and a team member in a racing suit, and begin to work with that as a part of the template. They are using #74.
Darby’s team is still arguing over the design of the car. There are a number of schemes, but all of them are awful. They choose the most hideous shade of yellow, which the paint team messes up. The design lookd like something a kid would have on the side of a Honda Civic. Darby’s team applies decals to the car, and so does Carmillo’s team. At least Carmillo’s team have the decency to factor sponsor logos into the cars, and hand make the decals themselves. Carmillo uses a shark and a rabbit on the car, to imply speed and aggression. The decals applied, the build is over.
Every episode has a guest judge and this week’s guest judge is introduced as “NASCAR racing pro Robby Gordon.” Very nice, considering that he hasn’t raced in NASCAR since 2012. Carmillo’s car comes out first, and it is named the Solar Blast. It has a red silver and black color scheme and a traditional look. Darby’s team has the Pink Dynamite, and has a pink and yellow scheme. It spits in the face of traditional design. Carmillo describes the design as having a NASCAR look and that the car number is visible anywhere on the track. Darby describes the car as being as loud as the car sounds. The judges seem to like Carmillo’s design, and they comment that Darby’s design is a little too off-putting for a sponsor.
The judges send the teams away, and look over the designs. They comment that Darby’s car is off-putting for sponsors once again. They comment. orange black and silver scheme looks good, aside from some decals. Carmillo’s team is rightfully declared the winner. One of the three team members is going to be sent home. Each of the three team members, Darby, Jameson, and Shane explain why they should stay. Shane is kept, and now Darby and Jameson are in the hot seat. Jameson is sent home. As much as a jerk as he is, he is still a great design talent.
All in all the show is mediocre. I’m so glad that Darby’s design isn’t a real design, because it would sweep the single scheme Paint Schemie Awards. It looked horrible. Carmillo’s car looked like an actual race car, and the color scheme worked very well. If either of Carmillo’s team goes home, I would recommend that a NASCAR team hire them as a designer. It was a decent show, but this was not enough to keep me as a viewer.
Number designs are an important detail in American auto racing, especially NASCAR, where the number is used on all of the merchandise sold to fans. The number is an identity for the driver and for the fans. While I was watching the Camping World RV Sales 301, for some reason, I noticed that the majorty of the car number are slanted. As the race went on, I noticed that almost all of them were slanted to the right. The Carl Edwards die cast above shows what I mean. Let’s look at the driver’s side car number up close.As you can see, the numbers are slanted with the top slanted to the right of the bottom. This gives the illusion that the numbers are being blown back by the speed of the car. I kept thinking about this and I decieded to see just who uses which slant when designing numbers for race cars. I wound up doing the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Verizon IndyCar Series, and Formula 1. Here is what my research found…
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
Ryan Blaney/Juan Pablo Montoya-12-Right
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-17-Right
Michael Waltrip/Joe Nemechek-66-Right
Martin Truex Jr.-78-Right
Dale Earnhardt Jr.-88-Left
VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
Juan Pablo Montoya-2-Straight
Daniil Kvyat-26 Straight
Ok, that’s a lot to swallow, so let’s add the total number of number designs and look at the data:
*NASCAR-54 *IndyCar-33 *Formula 1-22 *Totals-109
Right-47-87% Right-19-58% Right-4-18% Right-70-64%
Straight-3-5.5% Straight-14-42% Straight-18-82% Straight-35-32%
Left-4-7% Left-0-0% Left-0-0% Left-4-4%
The Sprint Cup car numbers overwhelmingly are designed to lean to the right. In fact, only 6 of the 54 teams don’t use numbers that lean to the right. In IndyCar, it is much more down the middle, with 19 cars with right leaning numbers and 14 straight leaning numbers. Formula 1 is the straightest series, with only 4 of the 22 numbers being slanted. NASCAR is the only group of the series that has left-leaning numbers, all 3 of which 3, 31, and 33, are raced by Richard Childress Racing.
It is one of those odd idiosyncrasies of racing design that a lot of people see but don’t notice. In fact, I didn’t notice until a couple weeks ago that the numbers seem to lean from one side to another. I also am curious as to why so many teams choose to have the car numbers lean to the right. I’m not saying it looks bad, they, for the most part, look really good.
Now we continue our theme with…
Austin Dillon #3 Mycogen Seeds Chevy SS The red black and white scheme works very well, and it has a really good design that works well and earns an A
Juan Pablo Montoya #12 Go Penske Ford Fusion Great simple design, decent color scheme earns an A-
Greg Biffle #16 3M 1942 Throwback Ford Fusion An perfect example of why throwback schemes fail. A classic logo which I have to admit looks really good, on a modern car, with modern design, modern numbers, and modern logos. It just looks out of place. F
Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta/Maaco Chevy SS The red, yellow and black color scheme works, except the blue and white Maaco logo scheme contrasts with it. The Pepsi globe looks odd there too, so I can’t give it any higher than a C-
Cole Whitt #26 Toyota of Scranton Racing Toyota Camry Great color scheme, great simple design, A+
David Ragan #34 MDS Ford Fusion Great simple design, decent color scheme earns an A-
David Ragan #34 A&W Root Beer Float Day Ford Fusion The color is good, the basic design scheme is good, but the Root Beer Float Day logos are too small. Even in this picture they look too small and are hard to see. If I am looking at a picture and I think it is too small, how do you think it will look on the track? C-
Reed Sorenson #36 Red Rocks Cafe Chevy SS The red black and white scheme works very well, and it has a really good design that works well and earns an A
Reed Sorenson #36 Zing Zang Chevy SS The overall design looks like a Richard Petty Motorsports car, the color schemes are all over the place, and the logo looks too much like a Mountain Dew logo. I give it a D-
Bobby Labonte #37 Accell Construction Chevy SS Good color scheme, but the awful template is back for Tommy Baldwin. It is really sad, because this could be a great scheme, but the template takes it from an A to a C-
Landon Cassill #40 Cars For Sale Chevy SS The yellow is too bright, and the gray and black numbers look too dark on the side. The design is mediocre and I’ll give it a C-
Kurt Busch #41 Haas Automotion Chevy SS This is a perfect example of why gray-scale color schemes don’t work. By itself it is a good look, but the Monster Energy logo, the Goodyear logo, and the contigency logos ruin the look. If it were all gray-scale, I would give it an A, but because of those flaws, it earns a B-
Aric Almirola #43 Go Bowling Ford Fusion I love what they did here. The bowling ball nose and pin design give a great impression, and the color scheme works very well here. A+
Justin Allgaier #51 Collision Cure Chevy SS Yellow black and blue is a bold color scheme choice, but this works. The design is simple, and it has a really good unique look, and I’ll give it an A
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Michael Baker International Chevy SS Basically this is the National Guard scheme with a different color scheme, and let me tell you, it just doesn’t work. I love the new number design, but blue and black just doesn’t work. The overall color scheme is not great either, and it shows. It takes an A+ scheme and takes it down to a C+
Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Ford Fusion Levine Family Racing has improved leaps and bounds over last year and it shows. Great color scheme, great design, A+