[Editor’s Note: I will be on vacation for all of July. I will continue the Vest Project as the Friday Feature while I’m away, as well as videos and Throwback Thursday. Once I get back in August, I’ll do My Thoughts on, and update the Paint Scheme Tracker and Grades.]
By David G. Firestone
Winamac, Indiana doesn’t seem like that big of a racing community. A small town of 2,490 located in Pulaski County, Winamac is a small town. One of their major businesses is BraunAbility, founded by Ralph Braun, a Winamac native. At age six, Braun was diagnosed with muscular distrophy, and at age 14 used a wheelchair. At age 15, he built himself a motorized wheelchair, and modified an old mail Jeep to have a hydralic lift.
At age 23, Braun started his company to help make mobility scooters, and eventually began modifing cars and vans for mobility. As mobility scooters took off, The Braun Corporation grew, and eventually became a recognized name in mobility vehicles. As his wealth grew, Ralph, and his son Todd started Braun Racing. It eventually became one of the bigger Xfinity Series racing teams. Ralph sadly passed away in 2013, having made the world a better place.
From 2003 to 2010, Braun Racing was a mainstay in the Xfnity Series. They have, in total, 4 wins, 84 top 5’s, 185 top 10’s, and 13 poles. Well known drivers who have raced for Braun include Jimmy Vasser, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, David Stremme, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Jason Leffler, Michael Waltrip, Todd Bodine, Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers, James Buescher, Jacques Villeneuve,David Reutimann, Kasey Kahne, and Elliott Sadler.
One young driver that used Braun to get to a higher place in NASCAR is Brian Scott. Brian son of Joe “J.B.” Scott, the owner of the Shore Lodge and Whitetail Club resorts in McCall, Idaho, and the great grandson of the founders of Albertson’s grocery store. He has raced since the age of 12, racing for his own Truck Series team, Xpress Motorsports, which he won a race in during 2008. The team would turn in which became Kyle Busch Motorsports, which he won a second race in 2012.
Being a part of a multiple team Xfinity Series team in 2010, Braun and Scott had a series of different sponsors. Braun would accept sponsorship from websites of questionable intent. Once such website is BigSpot.com, a market research site that promises that the user will get paid to take research surveys. BigSpot.com was on the car for a total of 5 races, Fontana, Road America, New Hampsire, Richmond, and Dover. They did not have any real results, not even scoring a top 10, or leading a lap. One of the crew members nicknamed Matty was issued this Impact crew vest.The vest shows light use, having been worn for 5 races out of a possible 35.
The collar has BIGSPOT.COM logos embroidered into it, and the name MATTY written in Sharpie in the cowl. The right chest has NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES and GOODYEAR logos embroidered into it.The left chest has BRAUN RACING and TOYOTA logos embroidered.The red and white BIGSPOT.COM logo is embroidered into the black fabric.Inside the vest, just under the front logo, next to the zipper is the warranty and size tag.The standard Impact comfort straps are present on the sides. The shoulders have BIGSPOT.COM logos embroidered into it, and Impact logos present, and standard vest holes. The back of the suit shows some light wear.The back of the neck is unadorned, and has a Toyota logo embroidered into it.The same BigSpot.Com logo that is present on the front is present on the back as well, but is somewhat higher than the front logo.Braun racing is an example of a team that got better as it got bigger. Some of their sponsors are bigger and better. Some of the vests are bigger and better as well. In two weeks I will examine a vest that meets both of those criteria. This weekend, I’m going to the NHRA Route 66 Nationals, and I will discuss that next week.