Sponsor Profiiles-Kodiak Tobacco

41-craven - CopyBy David G. Firestone

As this week’s column is being posted, I am boarding the Texas Eagle in Tucson Arizona, awaiting the train ride back to Chicago to begin. I’ve spent the last week away from the deep freeze of Chicago, and in the warm weather in Arizona.

The colors of the desert are deep and bold. Just like those of one of my favorite racing sponsors to collect, Kodiak Tobacco. Kodiak is a subsidiary of Reynolds American, which also owns Kool, Winston, Salem, Doral, Capri, and Camel cigarettes, and Grizzly tobacco. They were a major sponsor of NASCAR in the 1980’s and 1990’s. They sponsored Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd(as Levi Garrett) Ken Schrader, Ricky Craven, Steve Grissom, and Stacy Compton. They have one of my favorite shades of green used in racing. Interestingly, for many years, green was considered an unlucky color in racing. The most promenent item in my collection is this Ricky Craven suit from 1996.41-craven - Copy

It does show signs of use, but the big question is “was this worn in the 1996 Winston Select?” which was the race that Ricky Craven suffered his worst wreck…

I asked Ricky about that via Twitter, and got this Private message in response.Untitled

So we can eliminate this as that suit he wore in that event. But I have been able to photo-match this suit to a trading card released later in the year. I can’t say when exactly this suit was worn, but it was worn. The design of suits to in-car cameras and replica jackets is still in its infancy, so there is little consideration to either, so it does have both a modern and vintage look at the same time.41-craven 41-craven-collar 41-craven-rchest 41-craven-lchest 41-craven-flogo 41-craven-ltorso 41-cravenb 41-craven-neck100_3456 100_3457 100_345841-craven-7 41-craven-6I also have a small Ricky Craven mini helmet also from 1996.41-craven1 41-craven2 41-craven3 41-craven4 41-craven5 41-craven6

Ricky Craven left Larry Hedrick Motorsports and Kodiak for Hendrick Motorsports in 1997, and Steve Grissom took over. In 1998, in his second year for Hedrick and Kodiak, Grissom donned this customized race helmet.grissom-1 grissom-2 grissom-3 grissom-4 grissom-5 grissom-6 grissom-7

It is in great condition, though it has had the microphone equipment removed. The color scheme is that same shade of green that had graced the side of Rusty Wallace’s car during his 1989 Winston Cup Championship. The blue is used in the design of Kodiak Ice packaging, and works surprisingly well. Grissom ran a Kodiak Ice scheme once in 1998, at the Pepsi Southern 500.

I also have a 1/64 die cast car of similar vintage.100_4055 100_4057 100_4054

Kodiak is one of the many sponsors in NASCAR that I miss. Tobacco advertising has been severely restricted and Kodiak was a casualty. I do miss it but the times have changed.

Again, there will be no paint scheme reviews until next week, when I get back home. I look forward to getting back to normal after a week of relaxation.

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