About dgf2099

I'm just a normal guy who collects race-worn driver suits, helmets, sheet metal, and other race-worn items. I will use this blog to help collectors, and race fans alike understand the various aspects of driver suits and helmets, and commentate on paint schemes.

Paint Scheme Grades-January 18, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy Johns Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A- grade.

Ryan Newman #6 Oscar Meyer Ford Mustang-Good color scheme here, and I do like the side designs. The design works well, and gets an A.

Chase Elliott #9 NAPA Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Ryan Blaney #12 Dex Imaging Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

William Byron #24 Axalta Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Kyle Larson #42 Advent Health Chevy Camaro-Bad color scheme, combined with a bad color scheme will ALWAYS earn an F.

Ross Chastain #77 Advent Health Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as #77, same A grade.

Alex Bowman #88 Axalta Throwback Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Christopher Bell #95 Rheem Toyota Camry-I think there are too many stripes here. Toning them down would be better. I do like the color scheme, so this gets a B+.

Wheel Reviews-The Devil on Wheels-1947

By David G. Firestone

Kids who street race has been a movie trope for years now. From American Graffiti to The Fast and The Furious, there are no shortage of movies featuring street racing. But when did this tread start? Well, it’s not as straight forward as it might seem. Some movies aren’t so much about telling a story, so much as they are about teaching morals. The subject of dangerous driving has spawned a number of movies. Sometimes, these movies were shown at schools as part of a class. Other times they were theatrically released.

That brings us to this week’s movie, The Devil on Wheels. The Devil on Wheels is a safety movie disguised as a drama. Produced by Benjamin Stoloff and directed by Crane Wilbur, the movie is less than subtle about the fact that hot rods and speeding are bad. Supposedly, it’s also the first movie to show women in bikini tops, but since two piece suits are hundreds of years old, I’m taking that fact with a grain of salt. What is the movie like?

Like any other ham-fisted old moral movie, it starts with vintage ominous music. Shots of cars filmed from an overpass play under the opening credits. The movie opens with Michael and Todd working on their hot rod, and discussing various adjustments, when they are joined by Rusty and Peggy.

Mickey’s father John gets a new Ford, and is driving it home, when he witnesses a horrific car accident that kills a little girl. The father was driving fast, missed a curve, which resulted in the death of the daughter. John wants to act as a witness, but is rebuffed. John makes it home, and the entire neighborhood comes over to see the new car. The hot rodders are impressed that the speedometer goes up to 120, and John lectures them on the dangers of speeding.

John takes the family on a drive, and promptly proves himself a hypocrite, dangerously passing multiple lines of cars, until he causes a fender bender. John freaks out on the other driver, until a cop shows up, and starts writing tickets to John. The scene shifts to court, where it’s revealed that the car John hit is the town judge, who tells him that his driving habits are awful. The judge, Judge Roger Tanner, lets John off with a lecture. On the way home, John nearly gets hit by a passing car. He again proves he’s a hypocrite, by complaining. The kids know the judge’s daughter from the country club.

The scene shifts to the country club pool, where Mickey starts hitting on Sue, the judge’s daughter. Using the accident as an excuse, they start a conversation which ends with Sue telling Jeff off. Rusty and Peggy are smitten with Jeff. Eventually, Jeff and Sue go out for a date. They seem to hit it off.

John takes his wife to the train station, and goes back to his old driving habits. They discuss Mickey’s new hot rod, which is seen driving, but has some issues under the hood. Rusty and Peggy mock Mickey for his slow driving habits, and not drag racing. The teasing works, and Mickey drives to the drag race. This includes a scene where a bunch of kids discuss their cars in hilarious scripted manners.

The first race is a free for all, to check out the new drivers. It eventually attracts the attention of the police, and all involve scatter. One driver gets caught, and the group has been arrested. Judge Tanner summons the kids, and makes it clear that hot rods are banned, and that anyone who violates this ruling, will have their parents summoned to courts. John makes Mickey gives up his hot rod.

Mickey and Todd speed and drive wrecklessly to catch his mom’s train. They run a railroad crossing, and they pull in to a mortuary, to lose the cops. The scene shifts to a beach at night, here the group is hanging out. Peggy is scared that she failed her finals, Rusty is smitten with Todd. As they listen to the radio, they hear a story about a hot rod that ran into the ocean. They speculate as to who the driver is, and decide to stop in the morgue.

Since the morgue is closed, they decide to break it, through a back door. Peggy is justifiably resistant to the whole situation. As they walk through the morgue, they feel the need to ring the doorbell, before entering a door, which leads to an office. They discuss the various items in the room, before focusing on a table with a cloth. The cloth starts to move, which is actually a cat. There is an eerie noise, which turns out to be dripping water.

Mickey eventually finds his way into a room with bodies in it. After some searching, he finds a body with a toe tag, revealing that the driver was Bob Cooper, who the group knows. As this is going on, a police officer arrives, and the group scatters, leaving Rusty behind. As the group discusses what to do, the cops arrive, a chase ensues, and the end result is a fatal accident.

Rusty is trapped in the morgue, and Mickey sneaks back into his house. Jeff and Sue arrive, and John meets with the two of them. Sue and John clear the air, and it’s revealed that the two are going to get engaged. The happy moment is interrupted by a phone call, which troubles John. The three of them leave. Mickey wanders around aimlessly, until a news report reveals that Todd has died in a crash that also killed Mickey’s mother.

Sue tries to console Mickey, but Mickey is convinced that his mother is still alive. Mickey calls his uncle, hoping that his mother is still there. As he talks, it becomes clear that his mother is, in fact, dead. Mickey is devastated. Mickey insists on going to the hospital, and meets with Jeff and John. Jeff tells a distraught Mickey to “be a man” and the three of them go into a room, where it’s revealed that his mother is alive, but just barely. Mickey reveals that he was the hit and run driver, and that Todd was the driver killed in the wreck. John disowns Mickey, but Jeff comes to his defense.

Mickey is arrested, and charged with suspicion of manslaughter. Jeff accompanies Mickey to the police station. The scene shifts to the police station, where Rusty is discussing the situation with her father and the prosecutor. He claims that she encouraged the behavior, and has responsibility.

At the trial, it’s revealed that Mickey’s mother will recover. In front of the judge, John claims that he is just as responsible for what happened. He proceeds to give a long-winded and melodramatic speech about the whole series of events. Mickey pleads guilty. The judge tells him not to tell his mother about the proceedings. At the hospital, Mickey tearfully tells his mother about the accident. At the end of the movie, John and his wife go to pick up Mickey. John almost goes back to his old ways, in the passenger seat, until he hears a police siren, and he realizes the truth. The movie fades to black.

I’m going to give the movie a B-. There really isn’t that much racing to speak of, and the racing shown uses sped up footage. The movie is more about driving safely. In this respect it does get the message across. The acting is good, and the set design is decent. Some of the writing could use work, though. The only race shown has a sequence where a series of rodders discussing their cars. It’s not very well scripted, and it comes across as awkward.

My one real complaint here, is that the movie is told from the perspective of the teenagers, and as a result, the laws and cops are considered the enemy. In this sense, the movie hurts itself. Other than that, there are no real antagonists in the movie, which does hurt it a little more. It’s not a terrible movie, but there is a lot of room for improvement.

Next week, another hot rod movie, The Hot Rod Story Drag Racing.

Paint Scheme Tracker-January 15, 2020

By David G. Firestone

TEAM PENSKE #2

Brad Keselowski #2 Discount Tire Ford MustangNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Autotrader Ford MustangNo change. C

Brad Keselowski #2 Pirtek Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2020, dark purple with yellow Penske template. F

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford MustangNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Wabash National Ford MustangNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford MustangNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Dent Wizard Ford MustangNew sponsor for 2020, same as 2019 #12. F

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy CamaroNo Change. B+

STEWART HAAS RACING #4

Kevin Harvick #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford MustangNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford MustangNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang-New scheme for 2019, silver replaces black on hood and roof. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Ford MustangNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy Johns Ford MustangNo change. A-

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #6

Ryan Newman #6 Oscar Meyer Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, green with white and bacon motif. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #8

Tyler Reddick #8 Caterpillar Chevy CamaroNo Change. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #9

Chase Elliott #9 NAPA Chevy CamaroNo change. B+

STEWART HAAS RACING #10

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield Foods Ford MustangNo change. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #11

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota CamryNo Change. B+

TEAM PENSKE #12

Ryan Blaney #12 Menard’s/Jack Links Beef Jerky Ford MustangNew sponsor for 2020, same as 2019 #21. A

Ryan Blaney #12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2019, reverse color scheme of Shell/Pennzoil. D

Ryan Blaney #12 Dex Imaging Ford MustangNo change. A

STEWART HAAS RACING #14

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush’s Truck Stops Ford MustangNo change. A

Clint Bowyer #14 Mobil 1 Ford MustangNo change. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17

Chris Buescher #17 SunnyD Ford MustangNo change. F

Chris Buescher #17 Fastenal Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, side stripes have been toned down. B+

JOE GIBBS RACING #18

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryNo change. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #19

Martin Truex Jr. #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota CamryNo change. C-

Martin Truex Jr. #19 Auto Owner’s Insurance Toyota CamryNo change. B+

JOE GIBBS RACING #20

Erik Jones #20 DeWalt Toyota CamryNo change. A

Erik Jones #20 Stanley Toyota CamryNo change. C

WOOD BROTHERS RACING #21

Matt DiBenedetto #21 Menards/Maytag Ford MustangNo change. A

Matt DiBenedetto #21 Motorcraft Ford MustangNo change. A

TEAM PENSKE #22

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford MustangNo change. D

Joey Logano #22 AAA Insurance Ford MustangNo change. D

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Ford MustangNo change. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24

William Byron #24 Hertz Chevy CamaroNo Change. A

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy CamaroNo change. A

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy CamaroNo change. A

William Byron #24 Axalta Chevy CamaroNo change. A

CHIP GANASSI RACING #42

Kyle Larson #42 Credit One Chevy CamaroNo Change. A

Kyle Larson #42 Advent Health Chevy CamaroNew sponsor for 2020, green, blue, pink, and silver with cutting edge design on sides. F

SPIRE MOTORSPORTS #77

Ross Chastain #77 Advent Health Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2020, same as #42. F

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88

Alex Bowman #88 Cincinnati, Inc. Chevy CamaroNo Change. A

Alex Bowman #88 LLumar Window Film Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, vertical rectangle design. A

Alex Bowman #88 Axalta Throwback Chevy CamaroNo change. A

LEAVINE FAMILY RACING #95

Christopher Bell #95 Rheem Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2020, red, white, and black with stripes. B+

Wheel Reviews-Speed-1936

By David G. Firestone

First off, Happy New Year! 2020 is upon us, which means that for the month of January, I will spotlight some little-known racing movies. Before we get to this week’s review, I do have some housekeeping things I need to discuss.

I had to make some difficult decisions in December. I spent a decent amount of time burnt out from The Driver Suit Blog, YouTube, and issues from other aspects of my life. As such, I’ve decided not to do Throwback Thursdays for 2020. These were filler anyway, so it isn’t the end of the world.

The second decision is that 2020 will probably be the last year for The Driver Suit Blog in its current form. I’ve been operating at an unsustainable level for some time, and it’s finally caught up. I will not give up, but I will probably not run as many new Friday Features as I once did, or I might rerun stuff more. I haven’t made the final decisions yet. The Driver Suit Blog isn’t going away, but I have to change for the better. With that out of the way, on to the review!

Jimmy Stewart had an acting career that spanned from 1935 to 1991. He worked with many esteemed directors, like Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Otto Preminger, and Cecil B. DeMille. Some of his most well-known movies include Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Philadelphia Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Naked Spur, Rear Window, Anatomy of a Murder, Vertigo, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. His likeable personality made him box office gold, and a box office god.

While most might not consider Jimmy Stewart the top choice to play a racing driver, in 1936, he starred in Speed, an MGM drama about an engineer working to make his invention a reality. Produced by Lucien Hubbard and directed by Edwin L. Marin, the movie is Stewart’s first starring role, and costars Ted Heally of Three Stooges fame. The movie was seen as “passable” by many critics, claiming that the storyline was weak.

Jimmy Stewart plays Terry Martin, an engineer at the Emery Motors in Detroit. The scene opens at a car factory which also houses a dirt track. The scene opens with Jane Mitchell watching a car get destroyed, as a part of testing. Terry is the driver, and although he crashes, he is unhurt. Clarence “Gadget” Haggerty played by Ted Healy is ensuring that Terry isn’t hurt. Jane and Terry talk for a while, and then Terry takes a tour of the factory. Jane and Terry hit it off.

Frank Lawson is an automotive engineer who is competing for Jane’s hand. As they are touring the factory, and takes her in to a restricted area, which houses testing equipment. It’s clear that Terry is her choice. Terry and Frank don’t really like each other.

The scene shifts from the factory to a random dirt road. As Frank and Jane are driving, Terry and Gadget drive by, the two testing out a new carburetor. While Jane, Frank and Jane talk, Gadget makes some adjustments to Frank’s car, which causes it to shut off, after he claims “…it’s nearly perfect as we can make it. Nothing can go wrong with it.” Gadget and Terry tease Frank, and Terry takes Jane back to the plant. En route to the plant, Terry asks Jane if she can go with him to a company party, though she declines. Frank asks her at the factory, but she initially declines his advances as well.

The scene shifts to the party, which is decorated with racing flags. Terry dances with Gadget’s date, and Frank shows up with Jane. The party progresses very slowly, as does most of the film. Terry gets drunk at the party, and then has an argument with Jane, and sends her away, not listening to her explanation. Executive Jo Sanderson confronts Terry, and they try to figure out why Jane knows as many high up as she does.

The company decides to fund the carburetor, with Frank added on the project. There is obvious tension between the two. Jane arrives and tells them that the carburetor will be placed in a car in Indianapolis, in a race car. Frank and Terry perfect the carburetor, and the team races at Indianapolis.

The scene shifts to Indianapolis, where the the team prepares for the race, and witness a crash. Jane is understandably nervous when the driver is pronounced dead. Terry gets into the car, and starts his run with Gadget, which proves a successful run, equaling the track record. Frank and Terry have a brief argument about Jane, which is broken up by Jo. The team drives back to the hotel.

At lunch, Jane and Terry meet up, and Jane explains that she is interested in him. Terry’s inferiority complex is becoming more of an issue. Frank and Jo show up, and Terry has to leave to get back to the track to continue his race work, with Frank following him. The team prepares for the race, with Terry insisting that there is something wrong with the carburetor, and Frank stating that everything is ok.

The scene shifts to the day of the race, which starts on time. The car proves itself fast, with the team watching excitedly. Terry avoids a spin, and the race continues. At lap 150, Terry makes his attempt for the lead, which he eventually gets. Terry gets into a crash, flipping over the wall. The team rushes over to the car, where Terry is hurt, but Gadget suffers serious injuries.

At the hospital, Gadget’s injuries are severe, Terry is healing. Jane walks into Terry’s room, and they discuss the events of the day. Terry blames Frank for the accident, claiming that Frank was muscling in on Terry’s carburetor design. Jane reveals that she was the one who demanded that Frank be added to the project. Terry is enraged, thinking that Jane has feelings for Frank, and sends her away.

As Terry is dealing with his injuries, Gadget is brought to see him. Though his injuries, Gadget thinks that the two are going to work on the carburetor, but Terry rebuffs him. Gadget hits on the idea for placing the carburetor in a car to attempt a land speed record(301.129 mph at the time of filming). Mr. Dean, the head of the factory, says that the carburetor isn’t being funded due to the board of directors. As Mr. Dean speaks with the owner, Jane walks in and talks with the owner, and somehow gets the decision reversed

Mr. Dean and Terry talk, and it’s revealed that the decision has been reversed. Terry isn’t willing to work with Frank. The car is readied for the test at Muroc Dry Lake in California. Jean comes in and talks with Terry about publicizing the test, and it seems as the tension between the two is gone. The new team prepared for the race, and they end up going to a barn dance. At the dance, all involved are having a great time. Frank eventually shows up. Terry is worried about the attempt the next day. Terry and Jane get into a fight, and she leaves in a huff.

The scene shifts to the test the next day. The Falcon, the custom designed car, is prepared for the test. Frank, Gadget, Jane and the rest wish him the best on his attempt. The attempt is broadcast on the radio. The Falcon outruns an airplane taking a picture of the attempt from above. As the test is going, a fuel pipe breaks, and causes a crash. Terry, having loosened his helmet, is injured in the wreck. Emergency teams arrive, and tend to him. Frank puts Terry into the car, and drives to seek help. They end up at Muroc hospital.

As Terry lies in the hospital, he wonders how he got there. It’s revealed that driving Terry in the Falcon set the record. Jane Mitchell is revealed to be Jane Emery, niece of the owner, and heir to the company. Gadget and Fanny Lane make up, and Terry and Jane finally fall in love.

In summary, I agree with the critics who say that the movie is passable. It’s nothing ground breaking, and there are a lot of cliches. I didn’t like this movie for the same reason I loved Greased Lightning. In Greased Lightning, there is a great ratio of racing plot and character plot. With Speed, it’s mostly character plot, with a little racing plot.

The characters aren’t great either. Jimmy Stewart is good in his role, but the rest of the characters aren’t good. The antagonist, Frank Lawson, isn’t really that unlikeable, and doesn’t fill the antagonist role well. Most of the other characters are bland. Only Terry has any real depth to him. Even characters who are supposed to be protagonists aren’t really likeable. The twist with Jane at the end is predictable. The whole movie is a bland racing movie. I’m giving this a C. It’s bland and mediocre.

Next week, a movie from 1947.

Paint Scheme Tracker-January 8, 2020

By David G. Firestone

TEAM PENSKE #2

Brad Keselowski #2 Discount Tire Ford MustangNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Autotrader Ford MustangNo change. C

Brad Keselowski #2 Pirtek Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2020, dark purple with yellow Penske template. F

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford MustangNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Wabash National Ford MustangNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford MustangNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Dent Wizard Ford MustangNew sponsor for 2020, same as 2019 #12. F

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy CamaroNo Change. B+

STEWART HAAS RACING #4

Kevin Harvick #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford MustangNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford MustangNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang-New scheme for 2019, silver replaces black on hood and roof. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Ford MustangNo change. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #8

Tyler Reddick #8 Caterpillar Chevy CamaroNo Change. A

STEWART HAAS RACING #10

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield Foods Ford MustangNo change. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #11

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota CamryNo Change. B+

TEAM PENSKE #12

Ryan Blaney #12 Menard’s/Jack Links Beef Jerky Ford MustangNew sponsor for 2020, same as 2019 #21. A

Ryan Blaney #12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2019, reverse color scheme of Shell/Pennzoil. D

STEWART HAAS RACING #14

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush’s Truck Stops Ford MustangNo change. A

Clint Bowyer #14 Mobil 1 Ford MustangNo change. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17

Chris Buescher #17 SunnyD Ford MustangNo change. F

Chris Buescher #17 Fastenal Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, side stripes have been toned down. B+

JOE GIBBS RACING #18

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryNo change. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #19

Martin Truex Jr. #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota CamryNo change. C-

Martin Truex Jr. #19 Auto Owner’s Insurance Toyota CamryNo change. B+

JOE GIBBS RACING #20

Erik Jones #20 DeWalt Toyota CamryNo change. A

Erik Jones #20 Stanley Toyota CamryNo change. C

WOOD BROTHERS RACING #21

Matt DiBenedetto #21 Menards/Maytag Ford MustangNo change. A

Matt DiBenedetto #21 Motorcraft Ford MustangNo change. A

TEAM PENSKE #22

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford MustangNo change. D

Joey Logano #22 AAA Insurance Ford MustangNo change. D

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24

William Byron #24 Hertz Chevy CamaroNo Change. A

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy CamaroNo change. A

CHIP GANASSI RACING #42

Kyle Larson #42 Credit One Chevy CamaroNo Change. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88

Alex Bowman #88 Cincinnati, Inc. Chevy CamaroNo Change. A

Alex Bowman #88 LLumar Window Film Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, vertical rectangle design. A

Paint Scheme Grades-January 3, 2020

By David G. Firestone

Brad Keselowski #2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Brad Keselowski #2 Autotrader Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same C grade.

Brad Keselowski #2 Pirtek Ford Mustang-The Penske template is a finicky template, and yellow and purple doesn’t work well. A bad shade of purple doesn’t help. This is a bad scheme and it earns an A

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Brad Keselowski #2 Wabash National Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Brad Keselowski #2 Dent Wizard Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Kevin Harvick #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang-Silver replacing black on the hood and roof is a good look, and is an improvement.  A

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Tyler Reddick #8 Caterpillar Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield Foods Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Ryan Blaney #12 Menard’s/Jack Links Beef Jerky Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Ryan Blaney #12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang-Reversing the colors doesn’t help the Penske template. It’s still a D scheme.

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush’s Truck Stops Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Clint Bowyer #14 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Chris Buescher #17 SunnyD Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Chris Buescher #17 Fastenal Ford Mustang-The toned down stripes look much better, and the car goes from a B- to a B+.

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Martin Truex Jr. #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same C- grade.

Martin Truex Jr. #19 Auto Owner’s Insurance Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Erik Jones #20 DeWalt Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Erik Jones #20 Stanley Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same C grade.

Matt DiBenedetto #21 Menards/Maytag Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Matt DiBenedetto #21 Motorcraft Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same D grade.

Joey Logano #22 AAA Insurance Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same D grade.

William Byron #24 Hertz Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Kyle Larson #42 Credit One Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Alex Bowman #88 Cincinnati, Inc. Chevy CamaroSame scheme as last year, same A grade.

Alex Bowman #88 LLumar Window Film Chevy CamaroI like this new design. It’s much less cluttered, and the color scheme works very well with the design scheme. I give this an A.

Nomex-The Core Of Driver Suits

By David G. Firestone

Editor’s note: I had a Wheel Reviews prepared for this week, but after Bill Simpson’s passing, I felt like I should repost this as a tribute.

I must have said the word Nomex a thousand times on this blog, but what exactly is Nomex? In short, it is a flame-resistant meta-aramid cloth material. It is an aramid material, which is the same thing as Kevlar, but it is not as strong as a bulletproof vest, but it has great thermal, as well as chemical resistance, which makes it great for racing firesuits.

The development of the Nomex firesuit has been a long road. This road has seen its share of driver deaths and injuries. Before the Coca Cola 600, I discussed the deaths of Fireball Roberts, Eddie Sachs, and Dave McDonald in fire-related crashes over the course of 6 days in 1964. What took place from there would cross the paths of racing and a young drag racer.

Bill Simpson was born in Hermosa Beach, California in 1940. He took up drag racing at a young age, and at age 18, broke both arms in a drag racing crash. As he recuperated, he thought of safety in racing for the first time. He developed the idea of an X shaped parachute, and using materials from his uncle’s army surplus shop, developed a functional drag racing parachute. Don Garlits noticed the new parachutes, and took an interest, which helped the Simpson Drag Chute company to form. As time went on, he started making other racing equipment, which caught the attention of drivers, and, oddly enough, NASA. During a project, he met Pete Conrad, who introduced the now 27 year old Simpson to Nomex in 1967.

Nomex was created in 1967, for NASA. Far from the uses it has today, its main use at the time was for the Apollo Command Module parachutes. NASA needed a material that could stand up to the heat of reentering the earth’s atmosphere, and still remain fully functional. Simpson saw what the material could do, and decided it would work well to make driver suits, and other uniform items.

Contrary to what most people think, Nomex is not fire PROOF, rather it is fire RETARDENT. It does burn, but burns at a much slower rate, and that protects the driver in the event of a fire. Bill Simpson decided to show how much better this material was by having a “burn off.” He put on one of his Simpson racing suits, doused himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire. Though he was fully engulfed in flames, he was not hurt. Though he admits that is was a bad idea, it sold drivers on Nomex. Even today, 46 years later, Nomex is still the go-to material for driver suits.

Nomex is used for many other things. Nomex sheet is used in power cords for insulation. Fire-fighters use Nomex for protection in saving lives. Fighter pilots wear Nomex suits in case of cockpit fires. Nomex was developed for NASA and NASA still uses a lot of Nomex. It is used in what NASA refers to as the “Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit”, or in regular English, the “outer layer of a spacesuit.” The spacesuits that space shuttle astronauts wore on liftoff and touchdown were primarily made of Nomex. Almost every project that NASA has done in the last 40 years involves Nomex in one form or another, so it is a very versatile material.

Interestingly, as safety concerns increased, and safety equipment changes for the better, you begin to see that Nomex is beginning to have competition in the driver suit market in terms of fire protection. While I’m typically a traditionalist when it comes to sports uniforms, for driver suits that is a great thing. Developing a new material that serves the same purpose as Nomex, but can do it better and longer is a great thing. Eventually, Nomex will go the way of typewriters, film cameras, the printing press, and the floppy disk as an invention that is obsolete but changed the world.

Next week, Wheel Reviews returns.

2019 Paint Scheme Leaderboard Part 4-The Grand Finale

By David G. Firestone

Thanksgiving has passed, holiday music and decorations are abound, and the 2019 Paint Scheme Leaderboard is here! Here’s how the process works. I will rank all of the Cup Series teams by their paint scheme GPA. I will rank them by manufacturer, then all of them in one final list. There is no committee this year, as Zoe chose to skip the proceedings. Here is the Chevy list:

1-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 26th of 47

Number of Schemes: 2

GPA: 4.00

2-Tommy Baldwin Racing #71 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 1

GPA: 4.00

3–XCI Racing #81 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 1

GPA: 4.00

4-Hendrick Motorsports #24 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 15th of 47

Number of Schemes: 10

GPA: 3.87

5Motorsports Business Management #66 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 3rd of 47

Number of Schemes: 14

GPA: 3.82

6-Team Penske #12 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 4th of 47

Number of Schemes: 18

GPA: 3.78

7-Spire Motorsports #77 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 21

GPA: 3.70

8-Gaunt Brothers Racing #96 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 34th of 47

Number of Schemes: 3

GPA: 3.67

9-Team Penske #2 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 23rd of 47

Number of Schemes: 11

GPA: 3.63

10–Wood Brothers Racing #21 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 8th of 47

Number of Schemes: 18

GPA: 3.60

11-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 4th of 47

Number of Schemes: 11

GPA: 3.52

12-Go FAS Racing #32 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 4th of 18

Number of Schemes: 18

GPA: 3.50

13-Stewart-Haas Racing #14 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 16th of 47

Number of Schemes: 15

GPA: 3.49

14-Premium Motorsports #15 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 22nd of 47

Number of Schemes: 17

GPA: 3.43

15-Stewart-Hass Racing #41 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 3rd of 47

Number of Schemes: 16

GPA: 3.42

16-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 11th of 47

Number of Schemes: 14

GPA: 3.41

17-Premium Motorsports #27 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 8

GPA: 3.39

18-Stewart-Haas Racing #4 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 7th of 47

Number of Schemes: 15

GPA: 3.36

19–Motorsports Business Management #46 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 2

GPA: 3.35

20-Richard Childress Racing #8 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 44th of 47

Number of Schemes: 18

GPA: 3.34

21-Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year:17th of 47

Number of Schemes: 12

GPA: 3.33

22-Joe Gibbs Racing #19 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 37th of 47

Number of Schemes: 6

GPA: 3.28

23-Hendrick Motorsports #9 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 30th of 47

Number of Schemes:16

GPA:3.18

24-Hendrick Motorsports #88 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 32nd of 47

Number of Schemes: 15

GPA: 3.18

25-Stewart-Haas Racing #10 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 24th of 47

Number of Schemes: 13

GPA: 3.18

26-Front Row Racing #34 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 1st of 47

Number of Schemes: 10

GPA: 3.12

27-StarCom Racing #00 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 42nd of 47

Number of Schemes: 31

GPA: 3.10

28-Chip Ganassi Racing #42 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 40th of 47

Number of Schemes: 10

GPA: 3.10

29-Rick Ware Racing #53 Chevy Camaro/Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 7

GPA: 3.10

30-Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 19th of 47

Number of Schemes: 18

GPA: 3.09

31-Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 11th of 47

Number of Schemes: 6

GPA: 3.03

32-Hendrick Motorsports #48 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 9th of 47

Number of Schemes: 4

GPA: 3.00

33-Leavine Family Racing #95 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 39th of 47

Number of Schemes: 14

GPA: 3.00

34-Front Row Racing #36 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 16

GPA: 2.85

35-Chip Ganassi Racing #1 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 10th of 47

Number of Schemes: 9

GPA: 2.82

36-Rick Ware Racing #52 Chevy Camaro/Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 2nd of 47

Number of Schemes: 25

GPA: 2.75

37-Chip Ganassi Racing #40 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 3

GPA: 2.67

38-Roush-Fenway Racing #6 Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Rank Last Year: 12th of 18

Number of Schemes: 20

GPA: 2.66

39-Rick Ware Racing #51 Chevy Camaro/Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 9th of 47

Number of Schemes: 12

GPA: 2.59

40-Richard Childress Racing #31 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 31st of 47

Number of Schemes: 2

GPA: 2.50

41-JTG Daugherty Racing #37 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 31st of 47

Number of Schemes: 23

GPA: 2.46

42-Germain Racing #13 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 24th of

Number of Schemes: 6

GPA: 2.45

43-Rick Ware Racing #54 Chevy Camaro/Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 5

GPA: 2.50

44-Team Penske #22 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 18th of 47

Number of Schemes: 10

GPA: 2.16

45–Front Row Racing #38 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 14th of 47

Number of Schemes: 18

GPA: 2.08

46-Beard Motorsports #62 Chevy Camaro

Rank Last Year: 1st of 47

Number of Schemes: 2

GPA: 2.00

47–Roush-Fenway Racing #17 Ford Mustang

Rank Last Year: 33rd of 47

Number of Schemes: 13

GPA: 1.95

Well, that was the 2019 year for The Driver Suit Blog. I’ve had fun, and I hope to see you again soon. Next week, Wheel Reviews returns for 2020!

Throwback Thursday-1997 Bobby Hamilton #51 Southern Pride Trucking Chevrolet C1500

1997 Bobby Hamilton #51 Southern Pride Trucking Chevrolet C1500

When he was hired as a stunt driver for Days of Thunder, Nashville, Tennessee’s Bobby Hamilton grabbed the opportunity, and proved competitive at the 1989 Autoworks 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. This impressed quite a few people, and eventually, Hamilton would get signed to a full-time racing deal. He made the most of that deal, winning 4 races in the Cup Series, 1 race in the Xfinity Series, and 10 races in the Truck Series. In 1997, Hamilton race two races in the Truck Series, finishing 5th at Topeka, and 6th at Martinsville. That season he raced a Chevy C-1500 sponsored by Southern Pride Trucking for his own team. The car has a great look, with a great color scheme, and that will always earn an A.

2019 Paint Scheme Leaderboard Part 3-Toyota

By David G. Firestone

The 2019 Paint Scheme Leaderboard rolls on, this week, it’s the Toyota teams time to shine!

1-XCI Racing #81 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 1

GPA: 4.00

2-Motorsports Business Management #66 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 3rd of 9

Number of Schemes: 14

GPA: 3.82

3-Gaunt Brothers Racing #96 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 6th of 9

Number of Schemes: 3

GPA: 3.67

4-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 4th of 9

Number of Schemes: 11

GPA: 3.52

5-Motorsports Business Management #46 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 2

GPA: 3.35

6-Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 2nd of 9

Number of Schemes: 12

GPA: 3.33

7-Joe Gibbs Racing #19 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 7th of 9

Number of Schemes: 6

GPA: 3.28

8-Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: 8th of 9

Number of Schemes: 6

GPA: 3.03

9-Leavine Family Racing #95 Toyota Camry

Rank Last Year: N/A

Number of Schemes: 14

GPA: 3.00

Next week, the Grand Finale!