Another Look At Jack Beckman

2016 Route 66 Nationals-50By David G. Firestone

I wrote about the Infinite Hero Challenge Coin program last year, and I’m going to revisit it. I’ve learned some more information about Infinite Hero Coins, that I didn’t have before, so I’m going to add this new info, for the sake of completeness. I’m also going to add some of the other Jack Beckman Infinite Hero Challenge Memorabilia, instead of just the coins.

Launched in 2011, The Infinite Hero Foundation “…is to combat the most difficult front line issues – mental and physical – facing returning military heroes and their families.” Military personnel returning from overseas deployment face long term employment, mental and physical problems that the majority of Americans don’t understand. They work with other non-profit veterans groups and give out grants to help service men and women cope with these long term problems.

Like many veterans groups, Infinite Hero uses auto racing as a way to promote their cause. But unlike most groups Infinite Hero came up with a new and unique way to raise funds. Infinite Hero uses an emblem that, according to their site, “The Infinite Hero emblem incorporates the color purple to honor those who have been wounded in battle, the Greek cross to signify aid, and the infinity symbol to represent the conviction that the sacrifices of heroes should always be remembered. The Infinite Hero Foundation thanks our founding corporate partner Oakley for their leadership and guidance in creating the Infinite Hero logo.”

Infinite Hero quickly realized that Oakley was a great partner, and began working with them to come up with some unique merchandise as a part of the partnership. The Infinite Hero Foundation was founded in 2011, and quickly acquired a partnership with Oakley. This resulted in a series of merchandise items sold by Oakley, with proceeds going to help the Foundation.

I’m not into sunglasses myself, not anymore, but many people are, and Oakley has a lot of fanboys. So, once these glasses began to hit shelves, they sold quickly. This is a review from 4 years ago, of one such pair.

Notice the coin in the box? Of course you did. Aside from glasses and boots, Oakley realized that the coin would sell too. So sometime, I’m guessing 2012-2013, this coin was sold.

It is quite thick, and has a ridged edge. One side featured “Courage, Honor, Virtue, Heroism,” around a globe design with an Oakley logo. Oakley is a partner with the Infinite Hero Foundation. The other side features an Infinite hero Foundation logo. The coin was placed in a round, flat plastic container, with black foam braces. The coin lacks the blue enamel that the coin that comes with the glasses coin, and future coins, and has a very plain look. I do like the plain look.ihc-2013-1 ihc-2013-4 ihc-2013-3 ihc-2013-2In April 2014, they started appearing on the side of Jack Beckman’s funny car. Terry Chandler, who also sponsors Tommy Johnson Jr.’s Make a Wish Foundation Funny Car, is the financial backer of the car. She pays for Infinite Hero to race on the sides of the car. This also began the NHRA coin program. This is a new form of racing memorabilia I have never seen before, though it’s a great idea. When Jack Beckman gets into his funny car to race, he carries at least 5 Infinite Hero Challenge Coins in the pocket of his driver suit. Once the race is over, he will autograph them and sell them at the track and on eBay. They cost $100 with all proceeds going to the Infinite Hero Foundation.ihc-2014-1The idea of items carried in a pocket is not a new one. NASA has done this for years. Many space shuttle flights carried first day covers in the storage bay. When the shuttle landed, the covers were removed, and sold to collectors. I’m a little surprised this hasn’t been done before with auto racing, because I think that it would create a new memorabilia market.

The 2014 design that Jack used was identical to the one sold in stores, but the Infinite Hero Foundation logo has a purple enamel present. Jack autographed the plastic case.ihc-2014-1 ihc-2014-4 ihc-2014-3 ihc-2014-2Also in 2014, this 1/24 scale die cast was produced. It is a full replica of Beckman’s funny car. Valvoline was a primary sponsor, and this was the only season Infinite Hero and Valvoline were together on the car. It’s also the only time that Infinite Hero Challenge appeared on the older Dodge funny car body. In 2015, the current body was introduced, and Pennzoil replaced Valvoline. Jack has autographed the windshield.beckman-1 beckman-2 beckman-3 beckman-4 beckman-5 beckman-6 beckman-7 beckman-8 beckman-9 beckman-10 beckman-11 beckman-12A redesigned coin of the same size was introduced for 2015. The Oakley logos are gone. One side features a design similar to the globe design, but the globe design has been replaced with an American Flag design. “Courage, Honor, Virtue, Heroism” has been replaced with “Duty, Honor, Innovation, Courage.” The new emblem on the reverse side has one of the across bands removed. The new packaging is an upgrade, with the circular plastic cylinder replaced with an attractive box. It comes with a card that Jack Beckman autographed, and on the reverse it has the Infinite Hero Foundation Pledge. The first one is from The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Phoenix on February 22, 2015, where Jack was eliminated in the first round.ihc-2015-2 ihc-2015-3 ihc-2015-4 ihc-2015-4 ihc-2015-5 ihc-2015-6 ihc-2015-7 ihc-2015-2-8The second one is from the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, where Beckman won the event, beating Courtney Force in the final round.ihc-2015-2-1 ihc-2015-2-7 ihc-2015-2-6 ihc-2015-2-5 ihc-2015-2-4 ihc-2015-2-3 ihc-2015-2-2Also in 2015, these hero cards were produced. Hero cards are given away at racing events and driver appearances. They have Jack’s picture, and information about the driver, team, and the Infinite Hero Challenge.beckman-1 beckman-2 beckman-3 beckman-4For 2016, the coins got a major makeover. The Infinite Hero logo is now bigger. The words “Reimagine” and “Recovery” are stamped near the logo, and on the opposite side, a picture of Jack’s funny car replaces the flag motif. It should also be noted that the coin is slightly smaller, because it isn’t as tight in the coin case as the previous version. The Infinite Hero Pledge accompanies the coin. Also changed from 2016, Jack doesn’t sign the box and the pledge, he just signs the pledge.ihc-2016-1 ihc-2016-6 ihc-2016-5 ihc-2016-4 ihc-2016-3 ihc-2016-2 ihc-2016-7Hero cards are given away at racing events and driver appearances. They have Jack’s picture, and information about the driver, team, and the Infinite Hero Challenge. For 2016, a new card design was introduced. It has updated information, as well as the updated paint scheme introduced at the beginning of the season.beckman-9 beckman-10 beckman-11 beckman-12The Infinite Hero Foundation is a worthwhile charity, designed to help our nations veterans. I fully support them, and I encourage my readers to try and buy at least one of these coins.

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