By David G. Firestone
I have been focusing too much on paint schemes lately, so I’ll hold off on that for a while. Back to driver suits. As Brian Vickers demonstrated earlier this year, when there is time to plan for a driver replacement, a full driver suit with all correct sponsor logos can be done for a driver. But what if the driver change isn’t as easy to anticipate? What if it is a last minute deal? Sometimes, you get an item like this:
Here’s the back story, Patrick Carpentier was racing for Gillette-Evernham Motorsports in 2008. He was a part time Cup driver, and full time Nationwide Series driver. During the week of August 3, 2008, Carpentier was scheduled to driver in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Quebec. Because of the travel restrictions involved, he was not able to make the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 the next day. As such, Terry Labonte was chosen to take the #10 Charter Communications Dodge Charger for that race. Since this was a last minute deal, Labonte was given this basic suit, with SPRINT CUP, GOODYEAR, VALVOLINE, GILETTE-EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS, NASCAR, and SUNOCO logos. The full Charter Communications design would have taken more time than the team had to make the suit.
In all honesty, it works very well. It has the classic quilt pattern, and the minimal logos give it a very retro look. This is also the only driver suit that I have ever seen that has no manufacturer logos, either Dodge or Simpson, and has a full SFI Certification.
Other than the lack of logos, this is a standard custom designed Sprint Cup driver suit. It has shoulder epaulets and arm gussets, as well as Terry Labonte’s name on the belt. The Texas logo is presnet next to Labonte’s name, and I have never seen this on other suits he wore. I was able to find some pictures of him wearing the suit, and he looks good in it.