[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
Last week I discussed a vest with a small-time sponsor, this week we’re going bigger. Founded in 1923, Arkansas Best started with humble origins as a local freight hauler. As time progressed, ABF became bigger, and has gone from a local hauler based in Fort Smith, Arkansas to a large global shipping force. A few employees have grown to over 10,000, and a few thousand dollars have turned in to over a $1 billion.
Like many shipping companies, ABF has had to deal with bad economies, and increased completion. Also, they have turned to auto racing sponsorship to increase promotion, and gain attention. While they were never seen in the Sprint Cup, they did get a decent amount of exposure in the Xfinity Series for, of course, Braun Racing.
ABF’s sponsorship goes back to 2008, where they raced a number of different races for several different drivers. They left in 2009, but made a return in 2010, and 2011 between drivers James Buescher, and Jason Leffler. Lefler raced 7 races with ABF on the car, and had 2 top 5’s and 5 top 10’s in 2010. Buescher raced 4 races and had a top 10 in 2011. For those races, a large crew member with the nickname “Poptart” was issued this Impact size 2XL vest as a part of a three-piece crew suit.The vest shows some light use, not shocking, given that it was used for 12 races in 2 years minimum.
The green collar has yellow ABF logos embroidered, which are difficult to see given the shade of green used. The name Poptart is written on the inside in blue Sharpie. Embroidered in the right chest are NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES and GREAT CLIPS logos.The left chest features BRAUN RACING and TOYOTA logos.A large ABF logo is embroidered in green and yellow is present on the front of the suit.The standard Impact warranty label and identification label is present next to the zipper, behind the main logo on front. The comfort straps are present on the sides of the hem. The shoulders have green epaulets with yellow ABF logos on them, as well as Impact logos. The standard vest sleeve holes are present as well. The back of the vest doesn’t really show any wear.The back of the neck has a yellow Impact Z logo on the collar itself, and a white TOYOTA logo below it.The back torso has the same ABF logo as the front, though somewhat higher, and ABF.COM and UPACK.COM embroidered into it.Though Braun Racing had a good run, it would come to an end in at the end of 2010, when it merged with Turner Motorsports. The team would have some more glory before fading away in 2014. Next we will discuss a vest with a bad marketing idea, used by a team with that met an even more inglorious end. Let me make this clear, we are done with Braun Racing and Turner-Scott Motorsports for the time being!