“Mighty” Mike Niemann Loves His Sharpies!

By David G. Firestone

Minor League November rolls on, and for this week’s edition, we are heading to the Bay Area, specifically to the San Francisco Region of the SCCA, for a suit that has an interesting wearer.

California has a rich racing history. The NHRA was founded there, and many racers come from the west coast. There are many oval and road courses dotting the course. One such course is Laguna Seca. Built in 1957, after Ernie McAfee was killed at the dangerous Pebble Beach Road Races, Laguna Seca has hosted USRRC, Can-Am, Trans-Am, Formula 5000, IMSA GT, CART, American Le Mans Series, Grand American, Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Speed World Challenge, AMA (American Motorcyclist Association), WSBK Superbike World Championship and MotoGP motorcycle races.

The SCCA races in the San Francisco Region, which often races at Laguna Seca. The drivers are guys who put a lot of effort into their cars. One such driver is “Mighty” Mike Niemann of Team Miataka Racing , who is well-known for his 1992 Mazda Miata, which he “painted” with $100 in Sharpies. He has raced in a number of SCCA events, all while wearing this driver suit.This Sparco suit shows decent use, with wear on the cuffs, and some wear on the front.The collar has a Velcro closure, and has a SPARCO logo on the front.The right chest features SUNOCO, TEAM MIATAKA RACING, and SCCA patches, as well as MICHAEL NEIMANN embroidered into it.The left chest features HANKOOK TIRES,NATIONAL AUTOSPORT ASSOCIATION,MAZDA, and LAGUNA SECA patches sewn into it.The front torso is unadorned, and shows some slight use.Inside the front zipper is the tagging, including the care tags, and the warranty label. The suit has a belt, which is blue, with white outlines, and has a SPARCO logo embroidered into it.The legs are unadorned, and have standard cuffs.The shoulders have epaulets, which have Sparco logos on the lower half, but are otherwise unadorned. The right sleeve has a MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA patch on the upper half, and are otherwise unadorned. The left sleeve features the SFI 3-2A/5 certification, and is otherwise unadorned. The back of the suit has an FIA Standard 3856-2000 RS.006.01 certification on the back of the suit. Other than that, the back is unadorned. Mike Niemann painting his car with Sharpies is proof that guys who race in their spare time are just as devoted as the guys who race professionally. It took Niemann 22 days to paint his car using his Sharpies. He still races these days, and I hope he races for many years to come.

Next week is the first of a two-part series for a driver who is also a racing businessman.

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