[Editor’s Note: This post was originally scheduled for August 16, however given the events the previous week, I made the decision to postpone this article until after Tony Stewart returned to racing. Like I did with a previous article, I will dedicate this to the memory of Kevin Ward Jr. DGF]
By David G. Firestone
I recently discussed why we need replica helmets in auto racing. Well since then, I came across some more replica helmets, and I decided that we should continue the discussion. This week, we will look at NASCAR replica helmets. NFL and MLB have replica helmets and they are popular as collector items. But when it comes to auto racing, there is next to nothing. Helmets in racing are designed in a similar vain to goalie masks in hockey. They are custom painted to the driver’s specifications. They are used to identify the driver in F1 and IndyCar. Why replica helmets are not more widely available is a mystery to me.
In many instances, the replicas are made by the company that makes the helmet. They are made in a number of sizes, 1/4, 1/2, and full size, as shown here: Nowhere is this more obvious than Tony Stewart and Simpson. Tony Stewart is extremely loyal to Simpson. He has worn Simpson suits for his entire career, and will talk about how much he likes them. Simpson has made a number of replica helmets for him, like this bright orange full size helmet, and this 1/2 scale red chrome helmet.
The full-size helmet was released after his 2005 Nextel Cup Championship. It is designed with Stewart’s flame pattern and sponsor decals. It also has the BEAM Designs logo. BEAM Designs is a prolific helmet designed in auto racing, having designed helmets for Stewart, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson and others. It is very nicely detailed, and the design looks amazing!
The 1/2 scale red chrome helmet is also based on a design Tony Stewart used, again it is very nicely detailed. It again shows the BEAM logo, and unlike its full-sized counterpart, it has a ventilation port on the left side. These are popular to get signed, and often appear on eBay.
Riddell Helmets, who up until this season was the supplier of replica helmets to the NFL, made a number of replica helmets for NASCAR, and they did a Tony Stewart helmet, this one plain orange, with Home Depot logos on the visor and sides. They often appear on eBay signed by Stewart, Joey Logano, and Matt Kenseth. It’s plain, but it does work.
In 2001, en route to his first Winston Cup Championship, Tony Stewart raced a Jurassic Park III scheme at the Pepsi 400, where he finished 26th. He had a matching driver suit and helmet. The helmet was recreated by Action, one of a number of companies that made replica die casts. It is very detailed for its small size, and it looks really good.
Replica helmets are awesome, and I think they should be marketed and sold to fans more. Fans like them, they like to get them autographed. I will elaborate more next week.
NEW LOGO ALERT!
As I mentioned durring my paint scheme grades on Friday, the new Xfinity Series logo for 2015 was unveiled yesterday. I was wondering what they were going to do with the logo, so here are my thoughts. First, I like that they are sticking with what I call the slanting oval logo, I think it’s unique and looks good. It does kinda remind me of the Carolina Hurricanes logo. Second, the white background with red lettering works very well, it makes the logos visible, much more so than a red background. Third, the lack of design clutter gives it a very nice look. I like this logo, and I hope they don’t change it.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
You have probably noticed the changes to the format as of late, and there will be one more major change starting next week. After this week, I will move the uniform/memorabilia articles to Friday, and move the paint scheme grades to Saturday. This is a practicality change due to the fact that I write the normal articles in advance, but paint scheme grades are done on the fly. Since many paint schemes are not seen by the general public until Friday afternoon, running the grades on Friday morning makes no sense. So here is what the format will look like starting on Monday: Mondays-thoughts on the racing weekend. After the season ends, I will discuss off season news, as well as uniform and/or memorabilia news. I will also add racing memorabilia videos as well on Mondays. Wednesday: 2015 Paint Scheme Tracker-this will be a permanent feature, where I will chart every paint scheme used by every team in 2015. I’ve been wanting to start this for a while, and now I have the ability to do this thanks to my new work schedule. Fridays will feature the standard memorabilia related articles. Saturdays will feature the paint scheme grades. If any of you have any suggestions, feel free to drop me a line.
A few weeks ago, I picked up a TJ Zizzo tire from his explosion at the U.S. Nationals at Indy. Well I recently got a race-used windshield and put it on to make a coffee table, and added my NHRA memorabilia on top of it, and I think it turned out well.