A Firesuit Worn By A Racing Executive…Huh?

By David G. Firestone

Founded in 1991, Joe Gibbs Racing has gone from a single car team to a super team powerhouse. The team has shown strength in the Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, and the Truck Series. A lot of top shelf drivers have raced for Joe Gibbs Racing.

From 2003 to 2006 the #20 was sponsored by Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Rockwell Automation. 2002 Truck Series Champion Mike Bliss raced the #20 in 2004, winning the Lowe’s Presents the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300, earned 6 top 5’s, and 14 top 10’s. During that time, a crew member wore this suit, which was later give to Steve DeSouza, who serves as Vice President of Xfinity Series Operations at Joe Gibbs Racing, which shows light wear.The collar is a standard collar, with ROCKWELL AUTOMATION logos embroidered into it.The right chest features ROCKWELL AUTOMATION, NASCAR BUSCH SERIES GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION logos, and a Chevy bow tie logo embroidered.The left chest features ROCKWELL AUTOMATION, JOE GIBBS RACING, GOODYEAR, and DVT MACHINE VISION logos embroidered into it.The front torso features a ROCKWELL AUTOMATION logo and some of their product logos, including DODGE BEARINGS, RELIANCE ELECTRIC DRIVES, ALLEN-BRADLEY, and ROCKWELL SOFTWARE logos embroidered on a white background.Inside the zipper on the front is the Sparco Warranty label, and the care tag. There is a red outlined black belt over the black legs, and is unadorned.The black legs have red and white ROCKWELL AUTOMATION logos in television position. The suit has boot cuffs.The silver-gray shoulders have ROCKWELL AUTOMATION and SPARCO logos on the epaulets. The right sleeve has ROCKWELL AUTOMATION, PTPLACE.COM, MAC TOOLS, DODGE BEARINGS, RELIANCE ELECTRIC DRIVES, ALLEN-BRADLEY, and ROCKWELL SOFTWARE logos embroidered.The back of the suit features some very light wear.

 

The left sleeve featres an American Flag patch, SHERWIN-WILLIAMS, TRIAD PACKAGING, CINTAS, SPECTRUM CONTROLS, and HYTROL logos embroidered. The back of the suit features some very light wear.The back of the neck features an FIA STANDARD 8856-2000 RS.012.01 logo, which indicates that the suit was made in 2004. Below that is the name DeSOUZA, which is embroidered into the suit. The area that the name is embroidered shows evidence of a nameplate having been removed.The back torso features a ROCKWELL AUTOMATION RACING logo, as well as ROCKWELLAUTOMATION.COM embroidered into it.The suit was worn by Steve DeSouza, who currently serves as Vice President of Nationwide Series Operations at Joe Gibbs Racing, Inc.. DeSouza is a former F1 Powerboat world champion who made the jump to NASCAR in the 1990’s. He has served as VP for Xfinity Series Opperations for many years for Joe Gibbs Racing.

There is no evidence that DeSouza was an active member of the pit crew. It may have been a gift, or DeSouza was a backup crew member. The area around the name shows evidence of a nameplate being removed, which isn’t that shocking, since these suits cost close to $2000, and teams often recycle suits when crew members leave the team. The fact that the suit doesn’t show as much wear as other suits could also mean that the suit was made for DeSouza specifically. Many crew chiefs wear firesuits, due to the danger posed by fire, so it makes sense that DeSouza would want to wear a firesuit. I don’t know everything about this suit, but I do know one thing…it is a nice looking suit.

Next week, a pit crew suit that has been through the ringer.

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A Clean End To A Long Career

By David G. Firestone

While he only has one Cup win and two Xfinity Series wins to his name, Bobby Hillin Jr. was a regular on the NASCAR national circuit from the 1980’s to 2000. He raced in two races in the late 2000’s, one in 2008, one in 2009, both in the Xfinity Series. He is now retired from racing, and working for T-Rex Engineering & Construction, which he founded in 2001.

From 1998 to 2000, Bobby Hillin, Jr. raced for Bobby Hillin Racing. In 1998 and 1999, the team had some success, with 1 top 5 and 5 top 10’s in 1998, and one top 10 and 2 top 10’s in 1999. The team did have 5 DNQ’s in 1998 and 4 DNQ’s in 1999. For a number of races, they were sponsored by Clean Shower cleaning spray, and during that time, one of their crew members wore this firesuit.The suit itself shows decent use, with some scuff marks, and some material snags.The collar is a standard collar, with CLEAN SHOWER logos embroidered on the sides.The standard Simpson Warranty Label is in the cowl. The initials AB are embroidered into the back of the collar.The right chest features a yellow GOODYEAR logo, and a red Chevy bow tie logo embroidered into it.The left chest features a BUSCH SERIES GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION logo and a yellow BCJ TRUCKING logo embroidered into it.The front torso features a large CLEAN SHOWER logo.The blue belt is unadorned.The legs feature CLEAN SHOWER logos in television position, and some wear on the cuffs.The yellow shoulder epaulets have white and black CLEAN SHOWER logos embroidered into them. The right sleeve is unadorned, except for a tiny Simpson patch on the end of the sleeve. The left sleeve features a SIMPSON patch and a BOBBY HILLIN RACING logo embroidered into the top, and nothing at the ends of the sleeve. The back of the suit features some light wear on the torso.The back of the neck is unadorned.The back torso features a giant CLEAN SHOWER logo. There are some scuff marks below it.Just above the waist on the back is a yellow strip with IT WORKS YOU DON’T embroidered into it in blue.Bobby Hillin Jr. is a driver who was never a superstar, but who was an honest, hard working driver who had a decent fan base. He had a good career, and it’s great that he’s now found his calling as the owner of a construction company. He is missed in NASCAR though, and I hope he shows up at a race soon.

Next week, a more modern suit with a unique design.

The Lifeblood of Auto Racing

By David G. Firestone

To say oil is critical to auto racing is like saying that water is the key to life. Without oil, auto racing couldn’t exist as it does today. Crude oil is refined into gasoline, and also into motor oil, which keeps the engine lubricated.

In recent years, NASCAR has started a green program to help their image. This includes recycling, clean energy, and oil recycling. Not long ago, it was discovered that used motor oil can be re-refined into almost anything that crude oil can be refined into. Interestingly, sometimes oil was sold to collectors, as is evidenced by this display of oil from Kyle Busch’s #18 Toyota Camry when he won the 2009 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas.The package is about 5 inches long by 3 inches wide, and contains a card, an ounce of thick motor oil, a COA, and a card. This is one of only 504 ever made. Inside the box is the display which is slightly smaller than the box. It has a small oil drum with a small amount of motor oil. The oil has a thick viscosity, which is needed because of the wear that Cup engines produce during a race. The COA comes in the box, and states that this is #359 of 504.This is an interesting little piece of memorabilia, something that I’ve never seen offered before or since. With NASCAR going green, it seems unlikely that something like this will be offered up again. Since I know that this week’s column was a little thin, so I’m switching gears, and offering up…

Tailgating Time!

NASCAR fans love red meat. That has never been disputed by anybody. While most people simply grill steak, I thought it would be good to make something a little more complex…and tasty. With that, I present:

Steak and Mushrooms

8 Servings

Ingredients:

8 steaks

4 packages pre-sliced baby bella mushrooms

4 cups red wine

2 sticks unsalted butter

16 sprigs of thyme

Kosher salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

Instructions:

1. Place a large saute pan on the stove top over medium-high heat.

2. Salt and pepper both sides of your steaks, and then add them to the hot pan.

3. Sear 4-5 minutes until browned, then repeat on the other side.

4. Just before you remove the steaks from the pan, add the thyme springs and butter in there. Let it melt, then take a spoon and baste the tops of the steaks continuously with it.

5. Set the steaks aside on a plate to rest.

6. Put another drizzle of oil in your hot pan and add the mushrooms.

7. Season them with salt and pepper and cook them, tossing occasionally, until they release their water and start to take on some color, about 8 minutes.

8. Add the wine, and let the liquid cook down until thickened.

9. Plate your steaks on top of the crispy green beans, and add mushrooms on top of steak with sauce.

Next week, we look at a vintage pit crew suit.

Sirius and Ultra Motorsports…A Match That Almost Worked

By David G. Firestone

Founded in 1995, Ultra Motorsports went through different drivers and manufacturers until 2002, when they settled on Dodge. In 2002, they acquired Sirius Satellite Radio as a sponsor, and raced the full season. This sponsorship continued until the end of 2003, during which time, the team fielded a second car. After the 2003 season, they lost the sponsorship, and only raced in 2 races in 2004. The team would get sold to Robby Gordon in 2005.

In 2002, Ultra Motorsports raced a full season with Casey Atwood as the driver. The team didn’t do much that season, and Atwood was replaced with Jason Leffler for the last two races of the season. In 2003, the team raced a full season with Jimmy Spencer for 35 of the 36 races, and Ted Musgrave for a single race. Spencer had 1 top 5 and 4 top 10’s. During that time, one of their crew members wore this Simpson one piece double-layer firesuit.The suit shows decent use, having been worn for two seasons.The collar is a standard collar, with SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO logos on the sides.Inside the cowl is a standard Simpson warranty tag. There is no flags or other indications of any kind present.The right chest features a NASCAR WINSTON CUP SERIES logo, and a small SIMPSON patch present.The left chest features a DODGE logo embroidered into it.The front torso features a large white SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO logo, which shows signs of wear, embroidered into it.The black belt features a white GOODYEAR logo embroidered into it.The black legs feature white SIRIUS logos in television position on the sides. The cuffs show damage, including fire discoloration. The right shoulder is missing its epaulet.The right sleeve features a SIMPSON logo, a SOUTHERN PRIDE TRUCKING logo, and a SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO logo on the top, and SIRIUS at the end of the sleeve in television position. The left shoulder does have its epaulet, and it is embroidered with a SIRIUS logo.The left sleeve features a NASCAR logo, a ULTRA/EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS logo, and a SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO logo on the top, and SIRIUS at the end of the sleeve in television position. The back of the suit shows wear on the logos.The back of the neck is unadorned.The Sirius dog is embroidered on the back, and there are a number of stains on the logo.Ultra Motorsports was one of those teams that raced full seasons in the Cup series, with no real tangible results. Their time in the Truck Series was much better, with 36 wins from 1995 to 2004, and the 2004 Driver’s Championship with Ted Musgrave. In total, Ultra Motorsports had 36 wins, 157 top 5’s, and 233 top 10’s. They should have just focused on the Truck Series.

Next week, an aspect that all race cars share, but isn’t sold as memorabilia…for the most part.

The Andretti Experience Part 1

By David G. Firestone

The name Andretti is to racing what the names Gretzky, Jordan, Unitas, and Ruth are to hockey, basketball,football, and baseball respectively. It is a name associated with the sport. Mario Andretti is considered to be one of, if not the greatest race car drivers in the world. He has to his record, 33 USAC Champ Car wins, 19 Cart/CCWS wins, 12 Formula One wins, 3 IROC wins, and has also won the 1966 Fuji 500, and won the 1967 Daytona 500.

After his career ended, he opened up his own racing experience, The Mario Andretti Racing Experience, where you can pay to ride in, or even drive an IndyCar. He gives fans a chance to live their dreams. The helmets that he uses there are based on his distinctive silver and red helmet, such as this one.This Bell helmet has a lot of scuffs and scratches on it. On the left side, there is a large scratch, and someone has written “2426” on the sides.The front of the helmet has ventilation tabs, a helmet stripe with 1-877-ANDRETTI printed, some wear on the interior material, and some scratches. The right side features a large scratch, and several small scuff marks present.The huge red stripe that extends up the back has a lot of scratches and scuff marks.The top of the helmet features more scuff marks and scratches on the red stripe.The inside of the helmet is heavy damaged, with material loss, and other damage.In racing, you need a helmet and a suit if you are going to ride in a race car. I discussed the helmet, next week I’ll discuss the suit.

Tailgating Time!

Racing fans love good food, and mac and cheese is a great choice. Adding bacon makes it much better. So I present:

Baked Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

6 Servings

1 package macaroni

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons butter

1 3/4 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 pound Cheddar cheese diced or grated (2 cups)

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

2 packages real bacon bits

Instructions:

1-Cook macaroni as directed and drain.

2-Melt butter in heavy saucepan; blend in flour.

3-Stir in milk slowly and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.

4-Add seasonings, bacon bits, and cheese, stir until cheese is melted.

5-Add macaroni and transfer to a buttered 1 quart casserole.

6-Combine bread crumbs and melted butter and sprinkle over macaroni.

7-Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Generic NASCAR Mechanic Suits…Wait, What?

By David G. Firestone

Every racing fan wears their favorite driver’s merchandise. This has been done in sports since the early days. Teams, drivers and leagues all try to crack down on phony merchandise since it costs everybody money, and benefits the wrong people. There are ways to tell fake from real merchandise. Sometimes, albeit rarely, there are items that are made by the league, with tagging to match.

In the 1980’s, NASCAR allowed The Longley MFG Company to make mechanic jumpsuits with official NASCAR branding and tagging. The reasons for making these suits is unclear. However, they were made and still survive to this day.

The gray and blue suits show some light wear, but are in otherwise good condition. The collars are small and are an open design. The blue suit tag has an OFFICIAL NASCAR LICENSE indication, and a small flag indicating 702 SMALL. The gray suit has a similar tag setup. The right chest on the blue suit features a zippered pocket, and is otherwise unadorned. The gray suit features a CHAMPION patch.The left chest on both suits feature a vintage NASCAR logo patch. The front torso on the blue suit features a tie belt, and is unadorned. On the gray suit, the belt is a snap belt.The legs on both suits are unadorned. On both suits, the shoulders are unadorned. On both suits, the right sleeves are unadorned. The blue suit, the left sleeve is unadorned. On the gray suit, there is a small Unocal 76 patch on the upper sleeve. The back of both suits are completely unadorned. These suits are an interesting piece of merchandise. Why they exist is still a mystery. Who bought them, and what did they use them for? Why do they still exist? They are pretty well made, and they look nice, but I still can’t understand why they were made. Maybe that answer will never be known.

Next week, we go back to a fantasy camp for the first of a two part series.

St Louis Trip Part 2-Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum

By David G. Firestone

As I discussed last week, I went to St. Louis for a few days, and I spent time at the Budweiser Brewery Experience on one of my days. The second attraction I attended was the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Musceum.

While its existence dates back to the original Busch Stadium days, the current St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 2014, in St. Louis Ballpark Village. It houses 15,000 artifacts, of which only a handful are on display at any given moment. These artifacts give a look into the history and players of the St. Louis Cardinals.

When you walk in, the first thing you see is the Hall of Fame plaques. All 37 members of the Cardinals Hall of Fame have plaques here. The next thing you see is a display with the three 2017 inductees, Pepper Martin, Tim McCarver, and Mark McGwire. Near the elevator, there is a sign showing where Busch stadium was located, and where you are in the stadium, specifically, behind second base. Upon entering the museum, you see a list of the various professional baseball teams in St. Louis, and where in the city they were located, a Sportsman Park banner, and straw hats suspended from the ceiling. The museum starts with the founding of the team in 1882, and there is a display with a number of items, including uniform items. The history moves to 1926, where the Cardinals won their first World Series, and wore special WORLD CHAMPIONS jerseys in 1927.The Cardinals would go on to win 5 pennants in 8 years, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1931, and 1934. The y would win the World Series in 1931 and 1934. This display features some of the artifacts from this era.The Cardinals won the 1942, 1944, and 1946 World Series, and this display represents those wins.The late 1940’s saw Harry Carry used as the Cardinals radio announcer, and while the team had some success, they weren’t able to score another World Series Championship until 1964. This display houses some of the artifacts from this era.There is a large model of Sportsman’s Park near this display, which housed the Cardinals from 1920 until 1966.The 1934 St. Louis Cardinals were known as the Gas House Gang because of their rough tactics. This display pays homage to them.The next display is devoted to the greatest player the St. Louis Cardinals ever had, Stan “The Man” Musial. This display features uniforms and trophies earned by Musial, including one of his Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Awards. His last major award was the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded in 2011 by Barack Obama. The Cardinals are credited with creating the “Knothole Gang” which was designed to give tickets to underprivileged children in 1917. Though the idea dates back to the 1880’s. The team sold stock, and for every $50 in stock($1,064.06 in today’s money) a seat was set aside for a child. This would lead to a group of devoted fans, as this display shows.St. Louis has hosted a number of All-Star Games, and this display shows a series of artifacts from these games.In 1944, the Cardinals played what came to be known as the “Trolley Series”, “Streetcar Series”, or the “St. Louis Showdown.” It was a World Series against the St. Louis Browns. The Cardinals would win the series 4 games to 2, in what was the last World Series featuring two teams from the same city that isn’t New York. This display features a series of artifacts, both Cardinals and Browns from that Series.The next area is the World Series section, which houses various items from the Cardinals World Series Championships. These include a championship ring, tickets, and uniforms. The first one is devoted to the 1926 World Series.The next display is for the 1931 World Series, and the prominent feature is a 1932 Cardinals World Series sweater.The 1934 World Series display features a Leo Durocher jersey, and some awards won by players.The next display features the 1942 World Series, and has a uniform, some programs, tickets, and some other memorabilia.The 1944 World Series is represented by a jersey, pennants, tickets, programs, and a pocket watch.The 1946 Cardinals are represented here by a jersey, some other game used memorabilia, and a team signed baseball.18 years after winning the 1946 World Series, the 1964 Cardinals won the World Series, and has their own display, featuring a jersey, cap, cleats, some awards and programs.In 1967, the Cardinals won the Series, and the trophy is displayed in the team’s World Series display, along with a jersey, and some other game-worn memorabilia.In 1982, the Cardinals won the World Series wearing their powder blue pullovers. They are represented here with a jersey, World Series Trophy, a pair of cleats, and some other memorabilia.The 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals are represented by a jersey, the Commissioner’s Trophy, program, scorecard, and champagne bottle.The 2011 World Series, the Cardinal’s most recent to date, is represented by half of David Freese’s jersey, which was torn in half after game 6. Also present is the Co missioner’s trophy, a game-used bat, a score card, and other memorabilia.Not all Cardinal teams that won the pennant won the World Series, and this display is devoted to Cardinal teams that won the pennant, but not the Series. It’s a group of Memorabilia including tickets, baseballs, and a cap, among other things.The next display covers the decade from 1950 to 1960, which wasn’t a great decade. There are three jerseys, and an early batting helmet, as well as a trophy, and other game-used items.The Negro League was represented by the St. Louis Stars, and they are represented by this display, including a 1998 Stars throwback, a 1928 game-used baseball, and a suitcase.St. Louis also had the St. Louis Browns, which moved to St. Louis in 1902, after operating as the Milwaukee Brewers from the late 1800’s to 1901. The Browns played in St. Louis until 1953, when the moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles. This display is devoted to the Browns, including Eddie Gaedel, a little person who played as a pinch hitter for one game under owner Bill Veeck.The next section is devoted to International baseball, primarily Japan, and the first thing you see is a World Baseball Classic Championship trophy.The first display focuses on pre-war Japanese trips by MLB players. Included is a John McGraw jersey, a Moe Berg jacket(Ironic, given that Berg was an Allied spy against the Axis during the war.), a Babe Ruth game-used bat, diaries, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia, including an Ozzie Smith game-used jersey.The next display is focused on Stan Musial’s trip to Japan in 1958. There are a lot of artifacts, including baseball programs and photos, and a number of Japanese souvenirs. A kimono worn by Lillian Musial is hung across from this display. In 1968, the Cardinals took a second baseball trip to Japan. This display features several items from that trip. Including a jacket, an umbrella, autographs, and other various items. The itineraries for the trip are located next to this display.The next part of the international pavilion is devoted to the World Baseball Classic, and features game-used baseballs, game used caps, a gold medal, a game-used base, a game used catcher’s mask, and some other memorabilia.The final display in the international pavilion is devoted to Asian players for the Cardinals, and has some jerseys, both domestic and international, game used bats and balls, and other various international objects.The next section is devoted to the first Busch Stadium era. It is bathed in blue light, and has a large vintage model of Busch Stadium, made prior to the stadium’s construction, when it was know as ” Civic Center Busch Memorial Stadium” though the Civic Center part was rarely, if at all used. The first display features Cardinals items from 1966 to 1976, the first Busch Stadium decade. There are a number of uniforms, awards, hats, a bat, and a helmet and cleats, among other things. The next display is devoted to the period from 1978 to 1983, and features a number of uniforms, several awards, and other game-used memorabilia.The next display is from the Whitey Herzog era, from 1982 to 1987, and it features a number of items including jerseys, trophies, game used memorabilia, and other items.The 1998 home run record chase has its own display. In it is the home plate from Mark McGwire’s 70th home run, several jerseys, game used bats.Next to it is an early 1990’s display, which features a few uniforms, and a baseball.The next section houses an area where you can handle World Series rings and game-used bats. I had the chance to hold two World Series rings, and a Stan Musial bat, which he had broken, and repaired. The last feature of the first Busch Stadium era is devoted to the 2000’s, and includes a base, jerseys, and some other game-used memorabilia.As you exit the Busch Stadium section, there is a section of game-used bats in a display case.Next to the game-used bats is a display which features the inspiration for the Cardinals logo, which was a set of table decorations at a church function in 1921. Branch Rickey was in attendance, and he was so enamored with the designs, he asked Allie May Schmidt to make him some cardboard Cardinals, which became the design still used to this day. These are the original cardboard Cardinals, one of which is inscribed.The biggest display in the museum is a comprehensive history of the Cardinals uniforms and logos, starting at the beginning, and ending with today’s set. The next section is the Manager’s Corner, which features displays from several Cardinal managers, starting with Rogers Hornsby, and includes Billy Southwith, Eddie Stankey, Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzon, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, and Mike MAtheny. These displays include uniform items, and other memorabilia. The final section is devoted to the current era, and the current stadium. It starts off with a series of items from non-baseball events at Busch Stadium II, including a soccer jersey, a soccer ball, music tour posters and passes, and a game-used football.The next display starts off the current era, with a display of uniforms, awards, and game-used memorabilia from modern era players.There is a scale model of Busch Stadium II, and behind that, there is a display featuring memorabilia from players currently playing for the Cardinals, which include jerseys, bats, caps, and other memorabilia. The final section is devoted to giveaways, which are separated into baseball cards, bobble heads, and baseballs.I did a video about the museum, and it can be viewed below:

Next week we get back to auto racing, with a couple of mechanic suits.