Powerboat racing takes center stage this week, as we examine a Forest Barber driver suit from his days at Drambue Racing in 1999.
By David G. Firestone
If I could give a new collector two pieces of advice, they would be 1: In this hobby, when you stop learning, it stops being fun and 2: Research, research, research. Research is critical in any hobby, and that is, for the most part, why The Driver Suit Blog exists. I put a lot of research into this hobby, and I will give some pointers to help my fellow collectors.
First, always get a picture of the item you are going to buy beforehand. This is useful for a number of reasons. First, you can photo match the item. If you are not able to find an exact photo of the suit, helmet or accessory, you can “style match” the item. Style matching is finding evidence that the driver or crew member wore a design similar to the item in question. Drivers wear multiple versions of the same suit for a number of reasons. Nomex is a great material, however, if the suit catches fire, the Nomex will change color, and will not protect the area of the burn after the fire. So if a driver gets into a fiery crash in practice, and the suit gets damaged on the arm. The suit will have to be replaced for the race, because it is very possible that a similar crash could occur during the race, and wearing the damaged suit would wind up burning the driver.
Figuring out WHEN the suit was worn can be tricky, but in addition to photo matching, you can do a driver search on Racing Reference. Racing Reference is a site devoted entirely to racing stats, and for every race they list, they have driver, owner and sponsor information. So for example, let’s take this Stevie Reeves suit:
and clicking the races in his Nationwide Series Statistics section, you can look at each of his sponsors. In this case, he was only sponsored by Big A Auto Parts in 1997. So it can be concluded that the suit was worn in 1997.
In some cases, you will not be able to find a photo of the driver wearing the suit, that is just the law of the land. When searching for a photo, I use Getty Images, Google, YouTube, and eBay. It might seem strange that I use eBay but it works quite well and I have had a lot of success. People sell photos, press kits, hero cards and other such things on eBay, and this is a gold mine. In some cases, I have no luck in searching for photos, and I will take a break, get something to eat, play with the cat, take the dog for a walk, and I will have a moment when I realize I should change a parameter of the search. Sometimes it works, other times it does not.
When it comes to learning, when you stop, the hobby stops being fun. I’ve been collecting sports memorabilia since I was 5, and I’m constantly learning new things about it all the time. Never stop learning, because every hobby is constantly changing, and new information can be very useful.
I also have to cover this story. I gave Swan Racing a lot of bad reviews for paint schemes last year, and I said this year, they stand a good chance of winning the Schemie for most improved paint scheme set. Well, it looks as though they will have to shut down due to a lack of sponsorship. As it stands right now, the team is shutting down and Cole Whitt does not have a ride for Richmond. I will update the story as I learn more information.
Now we move on to…
PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS
Brad Keselowski #2 Detroit Genuine Parts Ford Fusion Great design, great color scheme, I like the black B post, A+
Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SS The Coca Cola 600 is held as the July 4th race, and as such, NASCAR teams like to run patriotic schemes. The scheme as a whole is good, and red, white and blue is a great color scheme. I give it an A. Something else to note: Notice that the name on the windshield is in a patriotic design, as opposed to white lettering on a black background. Is this going to be run by all teams? Stay Tuned!
Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers/Thank A Million Teachers Chevy SS I really hate the huge FARMERS lettering on the side of the car, and I’m guessing that the design on the lettering is a photo mosiac. The color scheme is not good, and there are a number of dark designs on the black background which are almost impossible to see. I support the idea of Thank a Million Teachers, but this scheme looks awful, and earns an F
Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy SS Sadly this is the best Bass Pro Shops scheme I have seen in 2014, and it is a C+ design so that isn’t saying much. Why can’t we go back to this?
Greg Biffle #16 Scotch Ford Fusion Greg’s paint scheme downward spiral continues, with this horrid scheme! The green and plaid doesn’t work with the Biffle template, and it just looks like a mangled mess that earns an F grade!
Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Certainteed Chevy SS This scheme works! I love the color scheme, and the design is really good. A+
Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Pittsburgh Paints Chevy SS I love this scheme! The color works well, the design is original. It stands out, and it just plain works! A+
David Stremme #33 Newton Building Supplies Chevy SS Red and white is a good color combination, and if the side did not have the small rectangle just behind the front wheel, I would give it an A, but it takes it down to a B+
Kyle Larson #42 Target 25th Anniversary Chevy SS Really simple design, and a good color scheme. I will tentatively give this scheme an A until I see the real scheme.
Kyle Larson #42 Axe Peace Chevy SS Decent color scheme, but much too overdesigned. Too much visual noise, and i just don’t like it. The green number look awful as well. D-
Ryan Truex #83 VooDoo BBQ Toyota Camry color scheme is not great, and the car in general is way too overdesigned. I can’t give this scheme anything less than a D-
Carl Edwards #99 Fordalwaysracing.com Ford Fusion See Brad Keselowski Above…A+
Also, NASCAR.com has come up with their staff picks for the best paint schemes in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series. I can’t say I disagree with most of their choices in this respect!
This week, we look at two lesser-known but critical aspects of racing uniforms, the gloves and shoes. Specifically, a pair of Scott Riggs race-worn and autographed shoes circa 2004-2007, and a pair of Hut Stricklin race-worn and autographed gloves circa 2000-2001
By David G. Firestone
I wanted to wait until all 3 racing seasons got underway to do this chart because by this time, more photos are accessable and it makes my job much easier. This is the 2014 driver uniform chart. I am fully aware this list is incomplete, but if I can’t find photographic or video evidence of what kind of suit the drive wears. We start with the…
===2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series===
Martin Truex Jr.-Oakley
Dale Earnhardt Jr.-Alpine Stars
Jeff Gordon-Alpine Stars
Jimmie Johnson-Alpine Stars
Kasey Kahne-Alpine Stars
Kyle Busch-Alpine Stars
**Randy Humphrey Racing
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-Oakley
Danica Patrick-Alpine Stars
===2014 Verizon IndyCar Series===
Carlos Huertas-Alpine Stars
Juan Pablo Montoya-Puma
===2014 FIA Formula One World Championship===
Sebastian Vettel-Alpine Stars
Daniel Ricciardo-Alpine Stars
Romain Grosjean-Alpine Stars
Pastor Maldonado-Alpine Stars
Sergio Pérez-Alpine Stars
Nico Hülkenberg-Alpine Stars
We crack open another 1994 Finish Line Gold box on Vintage Box Breaks.
To accommodate the beginning of Passover, I decided to upload this week’s episode of ITSM a day early. We look at Another old school NASCAR helmet, this one worn by Tracy Leslie, will be examined.
By David G. Firestone
Gonna be a bit of a long entry today, but I have a few things that I really need to discuss, that I haven’t been able to get to until today. I typically write a DSB article a few weeks in advance, and work on it over the weeks before it runs, but given the circumstances, I needed to write a fresh article for this week. Now while the site focuses mainly on NASCAR, I watch other forms of racing, including F1. The F1 race at Bahrain on Sunday was one of the best F1 races I have ever seen. That said, F1 is dealing with a controversy this season, that I need to address
F1 implemented in 2014, a series of regulations designed at making the sport more eco-friendly, or so they say. Engines are also now supercharged, and a redesign of the bodywork has that regulates that the nose of the car is much lower. Since during the off season teams were not able to observe each other, each team showed up to the Australian Grand Prix with a different nose design. These new regulations also had the effect of making the engine sound somewhat quieter. This change in engine noise did not go unnoticed, and many fans complained. There was even discussion of a lawsuit for failing to deliver what was promised by the promoters.
I’m a racing fan, and I understand that the sound of the engines is a huge part of the ambiance of the event. I get it. But at the same time, engine changes are going to happen. Engines will evolve. In fact, if you were to take an F1 engine from 2004, and put it in a current chassis, the car would not be competitive. I get what engine noise means, but sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. The racing has been better this season, and I personally will take the lower engine volume for the better racing.
One other rule new to the 2014 F1 season is a new mandate that the last race of the F1 season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will have double points, to keep the championship points battle alive. What I’d like to see, is for the last TWO races, The Brazillian Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to have double points. I think that the last two races having double points would have a major impact on the championship, and would bring more spectators, both live and on television to the event.
A few more things from F1, first the United States Grand Prix in Austin Texas has been moved from November 9 to November 2 to accommodate a Texas A&M football game. What this does also is to move the race away from the season finale of the Sprint Cup Series season. This will give it more visibility in the United States, since it does not have to compete as much with NASCAR for attention. My favorite change in 2014 is that Williams F1 switched to Mercedes engines, and got Martini as a sponsor. They have utilized a very attractive vintage scheme. God that is a beautiful scheme!
The next topic here is something that has been bugging me for a while this year. I watch NASCAR at every given opportunity, I love the broadcast team on Fox, I love Darrell and Michael Waltrip, but I really, REALLY wish they would just shut up about this rookie class. I really do. I get rookies, I get rookie phenoms, but I do not want to hear anymore about this “amazing rookie class.”
I get that in recent years that rookie classes have been lackluster. I get that. Rookie classes can be legendary, like 1979 with Dale Earnhardt Sr., Terry Labonte and Harry Gant, or embarrassing, like 1990, with, Rob Moroso, Jack Pennington, Jerry O’Neil, and Jeff Purvis. I also get that there hasn’t been a decent rookie class since 2006. That said, this rookie class, is not as good as the broadcasters like to talk about.
Darrel said on numerous occasions that this is the largest rookie class since 1994. Ok, I get that, but let’s look at who was in that class, Steve Grissom, Joe Nemechek, Loy Allen, Jr., John Andretti, Jeremy Mayfield, Mike Wallace, Ward Burton, Rich Bickle, Billy Standridge, Rodney Orr, and Jeff Burton who won the Rookie of the Year. Loy Allen Jr. Mike Wallace, Steve Grissom, Rich and Billy Standridge were all busts. Orr was tragically killed before the Daytona 500. Andretti has two wins, Ward Burton has 5 wins, including the 2002 Daytona 500, ONLY BECAUSE STERLING MARLIN ILLEGALLY REPAIRED HIS CAR UNDER A RED FLAG, Joe Nemechek has 4 wins. Jeff Burton was the best of the lot with 21 wins. But the fact is that what it had in driver numbers, it lacked in talent. I’m seeing this same thing with this rookie class
Let’s look at each driver individually, and try to understand why they are in the Sprint Cup Series. Gonna do this in no particualr order, and we will start with Parker Kligerman. He was decent in the Truck Series, with 25 top 10’s in 50 races, with 1 win. He finished in the top 10 in HALF of the races he started in! Ok, so he moves to the Nationwide Series, and falls to 18 top 10’s in 51 races. Ok, still not bad, but he does not have a win. He has raced since 2009, so he raced in 51 races in 4 years. Um…you think he needs some more padding? He has some talent, but it needs to be developed. Unlike some of the other drivers he has some potential.
Cole Whitt is next. Not one win in any of the Big 3 Series. Like Kligerman, he has 18 top 10’s in 51 races. Unlike Kligerman, he was bland in the Truck Series. He’s an underwhelming driver in an overwhelming series. To top that off, he signs with Swan Racing! Swan Racing is to NASCAR as the New York Mets are to baseball…a total embarrassment. No top 10’s, and they have led 5 LAPS IN 3 YEARS! 5 LAPS IN 56 RACES! THEY AVERAGE A LEAD LAP EVERY 11 RACES! They are a total embarrassment to auto racing!
Michael Annett is one of the more underrated drivers, in my mind, in this rookie class. He has a lot of potential, and I think that with the right team, he might win a few races, but I don’t think he will do much more than that. Again, no races won in any of the big series.
BK Racing made the perplexing decision to fire two veteran drivers and replace them with rookies. I don’t disagree with hiring rookies, but Alex Bowman, and Ryan Truex don’t have the results to warrant the move. Again, why do teams insist on moving inexperienced rookies with minimal exposure to the schedule to the Sprint Cup?
Now Kyle Larson on the other hand, is a contender. He has a Truck Series win, and a Nationwide Series win, and in 10 Sprint Cup starts, he has two top 10’s, including a 2nd place finish. He was one bad restart away from winning the race. I think this kid is a contender for the championship. Even when he doesn’t win, he is strong behind the wheel, and I think he is one of two contenders for the Rookie of the Year.
The other contender is Austin Dillon. In 55 races, he has 5 wins, 34 top 10’s and won the Truck Series Championship in 2011. When he moved to the Nationwide Series, he had, in 77 races he has two wins, 53 top 10’s, and won the championship in 2013, without winning a race. In 19 Sprint Cup races, he has a top 10, and I think he is the front runner for the Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year.
So of the 7 contenders for Rookie of the Year, we really only have two contenders. I get it. I really do not want to hear any more about the rookies, so guys, please, stop talking about them!
Now on a positive note…
Paint Scheme Reviews!
Jamie McMurray #1 Beechcraft Chevy SS Great color scheme, great design, great scheme A+
Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shop Chevy SS Camo and orange never work, and this is the worst example I have seen yet. Why can’t the #3 Bass Pro Shop car look like this? This is an F scheme, and I’m being polite!
Denny Hamlin #11 SportClips Toyota Camry Good color scheme, but much too overdesigned. D-
Alex Bowman #23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry Like the silver, and the design scheme is very good. A
David Gilliland #38 A&W Ford Fusion Front Row Racing uses a really good template and the color scheme works very well. A
Aric Almirola #43 Fresh From Florida Ford Fusion(try saying that 3 times fast!) Aric has had some great schemes this year, but this is awful. Bad color scheme, much too overdesigned, and it just looks awful. F
Justin Allgaier #51 AWX Performance Plus Chevy SS Great color scheme and a great design scheme earn an A grade.
Brian Vickers # 55 Aaron’s/Florida State Toyota Camry Good design, great color scheme, an A scheme all around
Carl Edwards #99 Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion It looks like the designer had a stroke while designing the car. The color scheme is good, and that is the only good thing I can say about this scheme. It has earned an F
This week, on Introduction to Sports Memorabilia, we examine a helmet worn by former NASCAR driver Richard Lasater, worn during his horrific crash at Talladega in 1993. The helmet did its job and he was able to walk away.
By David G. Firestone
While I typically watched NASCAR growing up, I did also watch IndyCar. That was before “the split” which diluted the value the sport so much that to this day it is still suffering, 6 years after the unification of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League. I got tired of politics and wanted to watch racing, I didn’t care who was sanctioning it. I still watch IndyCar racing and I collect race-used stuff.
Not only is this my first open wheel suit, it was also my first suit that featured an FIA safety certification on the back of the neck. Having dealt in NASCAR suits, I didn’t know what to make of it, and through some research, I eventually learned what it was and what it meant. The chest features a FedEx Championship Series patch, probably my favorite sanctioning body patch ever,
and logos for Toyota and Denso. This being my first Sparco driver suit, The cowl tags, and location of the warranty tags were out of place, as compared to a NASCAR driver suit. One thing I do find interesting is that there are no television logos on the sleeves and legs, but as the video at the end shows, that was not uncommon, but more on that later.
The collar has an unusual design. Most collar designs feature either logos on the side, or logos across the front, or sometimes both. This one is unique in that it features a DEGREE logo on the front, as well as a CASTROL logo on the right side, but nothing on the left side…I’ve never seen that before or since, and I can’t understand the need for that particular design…it just looks odd.Alex’s name is embroidered into the belt, and something I love about open wheel suits is that because it is an international sport, much more so than NASCAR, the driver usually has their home country flag embroidered next to their name on their suit, as this suit shows.I also have a 1/18 die cast of Barron’s very sharp looking car from 1998. It is the only die cast I have that has a driver in it. I love the fact that he is wearing a very accurate version of his driver suit. Now as I mentioned, this was the suit Barron wore during his most infamous moment, his crash at Road America, where he wound up on top of Bryan Herta. Someone recently uploaded the whole race to YouTube, and when watching it, notice that nobody has logos for the in-car camera. I find that rather interesting, since it would be very easy to place logos on the sleeves, and it was commonplace in other forms of racing. But it is an interesting race.
Now we have another piece of news to discuss. In the realm of NCAA sports, the two major factions in uniforms are Nike and Under Armour. Nike has a deal with Denny Hamlin for driver suits, and I was wondering when Under Armour would jump on the band wagon, and this week, we got our answer. Under Armour, who has signed deals with Michael Waltrip Racing and Henrdick Motorsports to outfit teams with apparel. This deal does not include the drivers themselves but the car numbers are fair play. I find it a bit unusual that the deal provides apparel for all members of the team, pit crew members, front office personel, and everyone EXCEPT the faces of the franchises. Now that might change in the near future, but for now that is how the deal works. You can read more about the deal here.
Now we move to…
PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!
Jamie McMurray #1 Bell Helicopters Chevy SS Great look, great color scheme, A+
Austin Dillon #3 Dow Powerhouse Solar Chevy SS The side is somewhat over designed, but I like the product placement on the roof. The color scheme is great so I will give it a B
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Office March Of Dimes Toyota Camry Decent color scheme, but the side is a bit overdesigned, and has a messy look to it. C+
Clint Bowyer #15 Willy’s Duck Diner/Buck Commander Toyota Camry Too much camo. Camo doesn’t work they way designers want it to on a car and I give it a D
Greg Biffle #16 Give Kids A Smile Ford Fusion Man! Greg Biffle really wants the Paint Schemie Awards for Most Degraded Paint Schemes, and Worst Paint Scheme Set with another F scheme. Horrible design, and an ugly paint scheme.
Greg Biffle #16 3M Areospace Ford Fusion Take the worst aspects of Greg Biffle 2014 schemes, and add a liberal amount of camo, and you have an F scheme
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Ford EcoBoot Ford Fusion I like the color scheme, I like the overall scheme, and my only complaint is that the orange numbers on the roof should be on the door. Still it is an A scheme
Cole Whitt #26 Swan Energy Toyota Camry Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+
Cole Whitt #26 Swan Energy Toyota Camry Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+
Paul Menard #27 Menards/Duracel Chevy SS This is the best Menard scheme I have seen! Duracel works very well on the hood, and I give it an A
Parker Kligerman #30 Swan Energy Toyota Camry Just when I thought Swan had learned the error of their ways, and were improving their paint schemes, along comes this one. Now we are back to square one, and this scheme earns a D+
Parker Kligerman #30 SMS Audio Toyota Camry Well things for Swan are looking up, this is a pretty cool design. It works very well, and has a great color scheme. A+
Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge Chevy SS I understand what they tried to do, but the scheme as a whole is just bland, boring, and C+.
Travis Kvapil #32 Keen Parts Ford Fusion Decent design, good color scheme, but the logo on the hood is very difficult to see. That is a major issue. When a sponsor pays for a car, the hood design should be easy to see, but this isn’t easy, and I give it a C-
Aric Almirola #43 Ekrich Ford Fusion The red on the roof is pointless, and it takes away from a great scheme. If the roof were Petty Blue, and the red was just a stripe on the bottom, I would give this scheme an A+ but with the red roof, it goes down to a B-
Michael McDowell #95 Triangle Office Equipment Levine Family Racing keeps up the fight with Swan Racing to win the Most Improved Paint Schemie Award with another beautiful A+ scheme!
By David G. Firestone
NASCAR and the FIA announced this morning that starting in 2015, they will engage in a ride-swap program. Starting next Memorial Day, Formula 1 drivers will race in the Coca Cola 600, and NASCAR drivers will race in the Grand Prix of Monaco. NASCAR and F1 will race each others equipment in their respective races.In responding to the decision, FIA President Jean Todt stated that “Now we can bring a form of racing to America’s biggest stage that is under appreciated in the United States.” F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting stated “It’s going to be a serious challenge. The drivers and pit crews are not as prepared for this type of racing. We need to figure out new training and perperation methods for this 600 mile race. That said, I am really excited for our prospects!”
Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR stated “We are always on the lookout for new ways to promote the sport, and we are always looking for new venues and ideas for the Sprint Cup Series. Moncao will be a great way to bring a new, more international audience to NASCAR.” Mike Helton, President and COO of NASCAR stated “The new venue and the logistics will be very difficult, since many NASCAR drivers do not have that much experience in this form of racing.”
While the officials are very pleased at this new plan, the drivers are not as happy. Lewis Hamilton, who raced Tony Stewart’s Chevy at Watkins Glen a few years ago said “That type of driving is fun for a while, but I sure don’t want to race a 600 mile race in that car. Vision is restricted, the driver compartment is too hot, and I’m afraid of dehydration. While Tony Stewart could not be reached for comment, Kurt Busch was quoted as saying “Are you [Explative deleted] kidding me? We have to travel 10,000 [Explative deleted] miles to race in [Explative deleted] Monaco in [Explative deleted] F1 cars? I would rather [Explative deleted][Explative deleted][Explative deleted][Explative deleted] than race an F1 car!”
Fan reaction has been mixed. Some fans, like Alex Montgomerry of Charlotte complained “We look forward to the Coca Cola 600 all year, and now we have to watch a bunch of drivers we have never heard of race in cars they have never raced in?” William X. Jackson of Kannapolis North Carolina said “It will be a change, but I’m interested to see how it works out.” Rene Claude of Nice France said “While I am not a fan of NASCAR, I am interested in seeing how this race works out.” Claude D’Adele of Paris stated “If that happens, I, like many fans will not attend the race. I want to watch F1 drivers, not NASCAR drivers at Monaco!”
While the racing world is divided amongst those who are in favor, and those who are opposed, both NASCAR and F1 are convinced that this new partnership will increase fan interest for NASCAR internationally, and F1 in the United States.