For the season finale of the 10th season of Introduction to Sports Memorabilia, I present this Kasey Kahne driver suit which he wore at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show.
By David G. Firestone
Another year has passed, and motorsports has been as active as ever. 2013 was a big year for NASCAR, F1, and IndyCar. Here are my final thoughts for the year that was in auto racing.
Starting with Formula 1,
*The cars all looked really good. Sebastian Vettel is the best driver in auto racing today, and proved it by winning 13 of the 19 races in 2013.
*While the modesty panel implemented by F1 to accommodate the so-called “platypus nose” Sebastian *Vettel gave a convincing argument against it by not using it, and dominating the series without it.
*The Pirelli tire strategy works very well, HOWEVER the durability of the tires is a continual issue. The British Grand Prix, which saw a very unusually high number of tire failures is an example. During that race 5 drivers, Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Gutiérrez, Felipe Massa, Jean-Éric Vergne and Sergio Pérez experienced tire blowouts, and a 6th , Fernando Alonso, had a tire deflate just below a pit stop. In my mind, Pirelli needs to do a lot of work.
*Politics, either team or sanctioning body, is a continuous issue. It needs to stop, as sometimes it can have an adverse effect on the fans.
Moving to IndyCar,
*The DW12’s are very solid, and very competitive. In 19 races, there were 10 different winners.
*Chip Ganassi had both a great year, and a terrible year. Scott Dixon took his Target Honda to victory lane 4 times, and became a 3-time Izod IndyCar Champion. Sadly, this came with a cost. At the 2nd Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on October 6, Dario Franchitti was involved in a very serious crash, where he was seriously hurt, and had to retire because of his injuries. Franchitti was one of the best driver in IndyCar and his retirement is a very serious loss for IndyCar.
*James Hinchcliffe proved he really is a contender winning 3 races. I think he will be a championship contender in the next couple of years, and I really think he will win a championship.
*The multiple race weekend works very well. Two races over the course of two days not only forces drivers to bring their A game more, it also gives the fans a unique experience. I hope they expand on this formula.
*Tony Kannan finally won the Indianapolis 500 after 11 attemps. That kind of a win racing fans enjoy, finally winning the race you have always dreamed of winning.
*The 2013 GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma saw one of the most controversial calls of 2013, with Scott Dixon hitting one of Will Power’s crew members. Now it appeared to many people, myself included, that a crew memeber for Power had intentionally walked in front of Dixon’s car, but IndyCar had to asses a drive through penalty for the indicent. Since the incident, the rules have been changed so that if something like this happens again, the crew that caused the incident will be penalzied.
*Similar to F1, Firestone has a two tire strategy, with black primary tires and red option tires. Red option tires have more grip, but are less durable than the black primary tires. While I understand the idea, the black primary/red option tire strategy at road courses needs some work. I would like to see more options in tire strategy, maybe add a third white option.
Next we go to NASCAR
*Fan safety in racing is an issue. The IndyCar crash in Houston that ended Dario Franchitti’s career also injured a number of fans. The Kyle Larson crash at the Nationwide Series race at Daytona, the Sky-cam incident at Charlotte, and the bush fire at Kansas are examples of that. Fans should be able to go to a race without worrying about getting hurt.
*The Gen 6 car is competitve, with 14 different winners in 36 races, points and non points events included. It does need work, as evidenced by Denny Hamlin’s crash at Fontana where he fractured his vertibrae. Also, the in-car camera policy, where roof cameras won’t be used at 1.5 mile tracks, but will be used in every other track is irritating. I would love for NASCAR to use a single formula for in-car cameras.
*The smaller door numbers do not look good at all. The older larger door numbers just look better.
*Michael Waltrip Racing and Front Row Motorsports owe the racing world a serious apology for their actions at New Hampshire. NAPA left Michael Waltrip Racing, and Martin Truex Jr found himself out of a ride as a direct result of the team’s actions. I think that the penalties were not harsh enough and I think that there will be more attempts to fix races in the same manner. I do not think that NASCAR has done enough to prevent this from happening again.
*I find it amazing that with all the discussion on concussions and the concussion lawsuits that infield care centers do not check for concussions as part of the examinations.
*The fact that there were two driver suspended for using derogitory language is upsetting to say the least. The suspensions for these are justified, for that kind of language should not be used, and it should not be tolerated.
*The Mudsummer Classic from Eldora Raceway was a great idea, it was a great race, and I would love to see a Nationwide Series race or even a Sprint Cup race on Eldora or a dirt track.
*This is something that has been bothering me and a lot of other people, start and park drivers in NASCAR. These are teams that show up to race, but for one reason or another are not able to run the full race. It begs the question, why show up if you aren’t there to win? If you know you can’t compete for the win, then don’t waste your time, and don’t waste my time.
*and finally, I miss Dodge in NASCAR.
My final thoughts are to the aesthetics of racing in 2013.
*There are a lot of people justifiably upset over the F1 Helmet Livery Rule, which if implemented would force drivers to only wear one helmet design for the whole season. I think it is a subtle way of forcing a rule that drivers can only wear one helmet over the course of the season in order to reduce the risk of head injury that can potentially be caused by switching to different helmets over the course of the season, but that is just me.
*Pink, Yellow and Camo are not great color for race cars.
*Ford needs to change the grill of the Fusion, as it frequently detaches from the car and can easily cause a caution during the course of the race.
The last part of this column is to remember those who lost their lives in the course of racing in 2013.
*Andrea Antonelli-Died in a Supersport World Championship Accidnet
*Josh Burton-Died in a sprint car crash
*Kurt Caselli-Died in a fall at the Baja 1000
*Christian Devereux-Died in a Historic Touring Cars crash
*Matija Duh-Died in a motorcycle race in Bahia Blanca.
*Sean Edwards-Died in a private event on track
*Tyrone Gilks-Australian motorcycle stunt rider, collision during practice
*Karl-Heinz Kalbfell-Died in a BMCRC Lansdowne Classic Series accident
*Jason Leffler-Died in a sprint car crash.
*Andrea Mamé-Died in a Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo race in Circuit Paul Ricardtrack
*Sandor Pohl-Died in a BMCRC Lansdowne Classic Series accident
*Track Marshal Mark Robinson-Died in an accident during the Canadian Grand Prix
*Paul Mulcahy-Died in an accident in the Carrick-On-Suir Rally in Ireland
*Doriano Romboni-Died in a motorcross accident
*Allan Simonsen-Died in a crash at the 24 Hours of LeMans
*Paolo Zantelli-Died in a racing boar crash
As well as mourning those from the motorsports family who have passed on in 2013
*Bill Amick-Father of NASCAR Driver Lyndon Amick
*Walter Charles “Walt” Arfons-American land speed record holder
*Kevin Ash-Journalist killed while testing a new BMW Motorcycle
*William Earl “Bill” Ballew-Father of Truck Series owner Bill Ballew
*George Bignotti-The most successful chief mechanic in IndyCar history
*Bob Bilby-Former co-owner of Bobby Allison Motorsports
*Gordie Bonin-Former drag racer
*Wallie Branston-Canadian Motorsports Driver and Pioneer
*Vera Brewer-Mother of NASCAR Crew Chief and TV analyst Tim Brewer
*Dorothy Earles Campbell-Daughter of Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles and mother of current Martinsville President W. Clay Campbell
*John Cardinale-Sonoma Raceway vice president for media and community relations
*Fred Carrillo-Created one of the first successful racing connecting rods
*Joe Carver-Promoter for Langley Speedway
*Rene M. Charland-Former NASCAR driver
*Dave Charlton-Former South African Formula 1 Champion.
*Jack Choquette-Former NASCAR Modified Champion
*John Coombs-Former F1 and F2 driver and owner
*Harvey J. Crane Jr-Founder of Craine Cams
*Bert de Jong-Former rally car driver
*María de Villota-F1 testing driver
*Melanie Jane (Lyons) Deware-Wife of Nationwide Series team owner Scott Delaware
*Randy Earnhardt-Brother of Dale Earnhardt Sr., uncle of Dale Earnhardt Jr.
*Clyde Ellis-Former stock car driver
*John Ervin-Former crew chief for NASCAR legend Ned Jarrett
*Philippe Favre-Racing driver
*Melvin “Red” Foote-Former NASCAR driver
*Richmond Gage-Former USAC chief steward, NASCAR team member, and racing college professor.
*Floyd Ganassi-Father of racing owner Chip Ganassi
*William Giordano-Former NASCAR engine delivery man
*Sammy Gonzalez-Former EGR Employee
*Charles M. “Bud” Greene-Former employee of Penske Racing and Junior Johnson
*Monty Grice-Former Earnhardt Ganassi employee and dirt track chassis builder.
* Allred Hackett-Co owner of Caraway Speedway
*Rodney Wayne Halverson-Joe Gibbs Racing employee
*Elton Hildreth-Former NASCAR driver
*Frederick J. Hmiel-Father of NASCAR crew Shane Hmiel
*Eric Horn-Former crew member for Petty Enterprises and Robert Yates, as well as for Roush Yates Engines
*Kenneth Aray Houston-Brother of NASCAR driver Tommy Houston
*Roz Howard-Former NASCAR Convertible Division driver
*Stephen Odell Husketh-Former team owner
*Edward Dean Jeffries-Race car customizer
*Jean Peters Joy-Mother of broadcaster Mike Joy
*Sardar Joginder Singh Bhachu-Former Rally Car Driver
*Henri Julien-Former racing driver and team owner
*Art Malone-Former NASCAR and NHRA driver
Christopher J. Margolin-Former NASCAR technician
*Gilford Hicks Martin Sr-Father of crew chief Gil Martin
*Giancarlo Martini-Former F1 Driver and team owner
*RK Mast-Father of Rick Mast
*Dennis McCarson-Former NASCAR hauler driver and spotter
*Donald Gordon “Gordie” McKichan-Former NASCAR Crew Chief
*Virginia P. Means-Mother of NASCAR owner Jimmy Means
*Jason Mitchell-Writer for NASCAR Racing and the Wilkes Journal-Patriot
*Ida “Geneva” Mohamet Key-Mother of team owner Curtis W. Key, Sr
*Hal Needham-Former team owner, stuntman, and movie director for Stroker Ace
*Mauro Nesti-Eight-time European Hill Climb champion
*Bill Nilsson-Former motocross racer
*Nikki Park-Wife of Greg Park, CFO for Stewart Haas Racing
*Crystal Pauline Jones Pistone -Wife of Tiger Tom Pistone
*George “Jud” Pemberton Father of Robin, Ryan, Roman and Randy Pemberton
Lee Raymond Two Time ARCA Champion
*Rafael “Ralph” Sánchez-Founder of Homestead-Miami Speedway
*Marcy Scott-Promotion and Marketing Director for Atlanta Motor Speedway
*John Settlemyre: five-time Hickory Motor Speedway track champion
*Barbara Signore-Worked for Penske Motorsports, and ran the International Race of Champions
*Torrence “Jivie” Simpson Jr-Former NASCAR crew member, Charlotte Motor Speedway employee, and innovator
*Neal Sims-Former NASCAR writer and Journalist
*Jerry Steppe-Former pilot who flew NASCAR drivers to and from races.
* Mrs. Eva Mae (Tommie) Hege Stewart-Track Owner and mother of former NASCAR team owner Cliff Stewart
*Henry Taylor-Former Formula 1 driver
*Dave Tatman-Former Hendrick Motorsports engine builder
*Randall “Randy” Lee Tissot-Long time NASCAR driver
*Richard “Dick” Trickle-Former NASCAR driver
*Bill Warner-Former motorcycle racer and land speed holder.
*Harold Edward “Pappy” Wilcox-Longtime racing driver, first driver from Maine to race in the Sprint Cup
*Kramer Williamson-Former sprint car driver
*Cecil Ray Wilson-Long time member of Wood Brothers Racing
You know me for driver suits, but i also collect other things besides suits. Aside from helmets and other uniform items, i also collect other race-used items from the cars. Racing is half man half machine, and items from the machine make unique collectibles as well.
One of the most obvious things is sheet metal. Stock cars consist of a roll cage which contains the engine, suspension, and driver compartment. Covering that is what is called “sheet metal” which is a thin metal that has the shape of the car and where the paint scheme is added. The cars are “skinned” after each race. The sheet metal from cars has become a huge collectors market. Pieces can be as small as 1 inch squared, such as this Carl Edwards piece, or huge, such as this Sterling Marlin door.
Tires are also popular to collect as well. Tires can be purchased whole, but since they can weigh as much as 90 pounds, they are often cut up and the pieces are sold, like sheet metal. This example, used by Kevin Harvick in the 2002 Daytona 500 is an example. it gives a good example of the thickness of the tire, and the cords are visible as well. This Kyle Petty/John Andretti card has two small pieces of tire, each used by the respective driver in the card. These are popular, and everything from suits to caps, to sheet metal wind up in cards.
Race-used lug nuts go hand in hand with tires. Lug nuts are used once, and then sold after the race, such as these Tony Stewart examples. Lug nuts are Super glued to the rim, and one of these still has superglue residue on it.
Mechanical components, especially engine components are interesting to collect, as there is no better representation of man and machine than a part of the heart of the machine. For example, I have a brake rotor used by John Andretti in the 1998 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte, which has been signed by Richard Petty. This is a set released after Jimmie Johnson won his first sprint cup title back in 2006. It contains a series of pieces used by Johnson, including a piece of sheet metal from his door,
I discussed this pit board from Chad McCumbee earlier in the year
Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna Chevy SS Black with silver numbers and white trim looks simple and really good. I can’t say anything bad about this scheme, and bonus points for improving the door number design. A+
Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SS Same great design as last year, same A grade.
Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS Take the white stripe down the side off, and it will be a solid A scheme. The white does not look good at all. The red/white/black color scheme works very well, and it is decently designed, so I will give it a B+
Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Chevy SS Not only does Go Daddy continue to use the worst shade of yellow in NASCAR, they also have given the worst shade of orange a more prominent role in the car. Givng this car an F is a very fair grade.
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Casey Mears #13 Geico Ford Fusion The yellow they use is awful, and the side design is just too lowd, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. NOS Ford Fusion I love this color scheme, however, I don’t love the side design. It has too many different different designs, all of which would work on their own but combined they look like a jumbled mess. I really want to like this scheme, but I just can’t, so I’ll give it a C-
Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.
Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same A+ grade.
Kurt Busch #41 Haas CNC Chevy SS Great color scheme and a very simple desgin look very good here. I also like the matte black used, and the door numbers look really solid. Can’t give this scheme anything less than an A
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SS Same scheme as last year, but I never gave it a grade. So here is my analysis Not a great scheme, too much needless design on the side of the car, and the silver background is just brutal. The red lettering on a green background is unattractive at best, and all in all, this is a D- grade.
Carl Edwards #99 Aflac Ford Fusion This has a terrible color scheme, with lime green, neon blue, black and white. The wing design is not only ugly but would work better starting at the door and working behind.
Tony Schumacher’s crew tests his engine at Route 66 in Joliet Illinois on June 29,2013.
Tony Schumacher’s crew tests his engine at Route 66 in Joliet Illinois on June 29,2013.
One of the more unusual driver suits that I have come across, this Christian Fittipaldi Bugles suit from 2003.
By David G. Firestone
The focus group of one has had its meetings, and has made its decisions. Here are all 50 teams that ran the Sprint Cup this year ranked first to last on their paint schemes:
#3-Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Simple traditional designs. That is the secret to their success on the leaderboard. Color schemes are great as well. Nothing wrong with these schemes.
#4-Furniture Row Racing #78 When it came down to picking a number 1 for Chevy, for both the Paint Schemie and the Leaderboard, I had to flip a coin to pick a number 1, and Johnson won. Kurt Busch ran a series of very solid schemes, not a lot to comment on and it always looks good.
#5-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Like Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch on the Chevy side, the Toyota winner for both the Paint Schemie and Leaderboard was decided by a coin flip. More modern than the 55, all these schemes are good, with amazing paint schemes and really good design.
#6-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 This team combines classic and modern looks, and uses Petty Blue very effectively. The Transportation Impact scheme was not good at all, and kept the 43 team out of the top spot. Extra Credit for the Maurice Petty Tribute Scheme.
#7-BK Racing #83 Great designs all around, but the hood needs work. Why is it black when the rest of the car is red?
#9-Penske Racing #12-Though only raced for one race, the SKF design worked very well. A great color and great design scheme. If this had been raced for multiple races, I would have ranked it higher, but it is still a solid scheme.
#12-Richard Petty Motorsports #9 This set earned a place in the top 5 because it improved by a lot over the course of the season. It has a great color scheme, but the early schemes were not great, but since Stanley redesigned their logo, and made some changes to the car, it is a very nice set.
#13-Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott #51 Guy Roofing and Hendrick Cars are hideous, but apart from that, they have run a great set of paint schemes. Bonus points given for the Neil Bonnett throwback scheme.
#15-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Most of what they ran this year was great, but the Bushes Baked Beans car has an odd overall design, and a weird color scheme. The Clorox scheme has a bad color scheme, as does the Charter scheme, as does the Wounded Warrior Project scheme.
#16-Roush Fenway Racing #17 A pinkwashing scheme as well as the Valvoline NexGen scheme kick Ricky Stenhouse Jr. out of the top spot. Sad thing too, as Ricky had a very solid year when it comes to paint schemes
#18-Penske Racing #2 While I miss the beer colored wheels from last year, Keselowski has had a decent year, the color scheme is great, though there is too much white on the car. The Redd’s Apple Ale scheme was great, but the Fan Mosaic and Patriotic schemes need some work.
#19-Roush Fenway Racing #16 Greg Biffle had a lot of great schemes, but he had a number of awful ones , including a pinkwashing scheme as well. Get rid of the pinkwashing scheme, the Scotchguard, give blood, and Megulars schemes, and he would be in the top 5.
#20-Richard Childress Racing #27 The yellow is too bright, but other than that, the schemes are really good.
#21-Stewart Haas Racing #14 Some of these schemes are good, others not so much.
#26-Front Row Motorsports #38 The template they run works very well when the color scheme matches that of the sponsor. When it doesn’t match, it looks awful.
#27-Front Row Motorsports #35, See above
#29-Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 This team looks better without a primary sponsor than they do with one.
#30-Max Q Motorsports #37 Simple, yet attractive. Would be higher if they ran more races.
#32-Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.
#35-Richard Childress Racing #31 A few good schemes but most of them are mediocre at best.
#36-Hendrick Motorsports #24 See Above
#39-Humphrey Smith Racing #19 Another car that just looks better without a primary sponsor.
#40-Germain Racing #13 Nothing really wrong, but nothing really right with these schemes.
#41-Penske Racing #22 Red and yellow is a really great color scheme, but the design is all wrong. This design gets even worse with the AAA scheme, which has an even better color scheme. The Pennzoil scheme is good, but not good enough to save the set.
#42-Stewart Haas Racing #39 I have to give them credit, their schemes are mostly awful, but at least they are creative.
#44-Phil Parsons Racing# 98 The schemes come in one of two food groups, bland or awful. Great colors, but the designs are horrid.
#45-Levine Family Racing #95 Worst template in NASCAR.
#47-Circle Sport/RCR #33 It amazes me how two different teams can use the same car number, and both can put awful designs on their cars. Special credit for the Honey Nut Cheerios scheme, which is just horrific.
#50-Swan Racing #30/26 Please tell me this is an experiment on how to make the worst paint scheme in history? Is Swan Racing competing with Travis Pastrana for the most obnoxious paint scheme in NASCAR?
By David G. Firestone
The Paint Scheme Leaderboard continues with Toyota today. This has been a stressful series, and it will be even more so next week, when I rank all 50 teams in order from best to worst. Enough complaining, on to the schemes.
#1 Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Simple traditional designs. That is the secret to their success on the leaderboard. Color schemes are great as well. Nothing wrong with these schemes.
#2 Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Like Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch on the Chevy side, the Toyota winner for both the Paint Schemie and Leaderboard was decided by a coin flip. More modern than the 55, all these schemes are good, with amazing paint schemes and really good design.
#3 BK Racing #83 Great designs all around, but the hood needs work. Why is it black when the rest of the car is red?
#6 JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Most of what they ran this year was great, but the Bushes Baked Beans car has an odd overall design, and a weird color scheme. The Clorox scheme has a bad color scheme, as does the Charter scheme, as does the Wounded Warrior Project scheme.
#10 Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.
#12 Humphrey Smith Racing #19 Another car that just looks better without a primary sponsor.
#14 Swan Racing #30/26 Please tell me this is an experiment on how to make the worst paint scheme in history? Is Swan Racing competing with Travis Pastrana for the most obnoxious paint scheme in NASCAR?
Next Week, The big finale, all 49 teams ranked from best to worst!
A uniquly designed Jody Miller Toyota Tundra race worn driver suit from 2005 will be examined this week.