Can’t Tell The Drivers Without A Program!

By David G. Firestone

I’ve been to Indiana quite a bit in my life. As a resident of Chicago, it’s almost a requirement. Thinking back of all the places I’ve been in Indiana, I can safely say I’ve never made it to Terre Haute. I’ve never had a reason to go there, so I haven’t. Yet it seems that Terre Haute is a major place in Indiana. It has a prison, two airports, Indiana State University, The Clabber Girl Museum, and was home to notable names like Scatman Crothers, Tommy John, Mick Mars, Max Carey, Orville Redenbacher, and Eugene V. Debs. I’m kind of surprised I never went there, in retrospect.

Founded in 1952 on the southern part of Terre Haute, the Terre Haute Action Track is a staple of dirt track racing. Legends like A. J. Foyt, Jeff Gordon, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen, Jason Leffler, Doug Kalitta, and Tony Stewart raced on this half-mile dirt oval during their USAC days. These days, while crowds down due to the pandemic, the track has a long history, and a huge fan base.

A staple of live sports is the program. You go to an event, buy a program, both as a souvenir, and a way to tell who is who on the field, track, court, or rink. These have to be printed, and occasionally the printing blocks make it to sale. These printing blocks from Terre Haute Action Track are perfect examples. While these plates show wear, they are in great condition. The first plate has SPEEDWAY at the top, and a small map of the track. The second plate features STARS ON PARADE with a series of designs around a small square where a picture is meant to be. COMPLETE SCENIC PRODUCTION is at the bottom. The third plate features a series of signatures of drivers who have raced at the track. The fourth plate features a map showing the location of the track in a much more understandable way. The fifth plate is for an event called Thrill-O-Rama, and features a jumping car. Though hard to make out, the sixth plate is of a vintage picture of a driver. Even harder to make out, the seventh plate is a picture of a driver in a vintage race car. Now we get to the smaller plates. The largest of the smaller plates is this dual checkered flag plate. Slightly smaller is this rectangular plate with dual checkered flags and a car. The last two plates are a two part advertisement for RPM Delo diesel oil. The smaller plate is the RPM DELO logo, the larger is the outer ring.

Next week, Jack Beckman Returns!

Grading The 2020 Throwbacks!

By David G. Firestone

Well, the throwback race is officially behind us, so I’m going to grade all of the throwback schemes. As per the norm, the #1 scheme will win the Schemie for Best Throwback. Without further ado, let’s get started!

1-Ross Chastain #77 Dirty Mo Media Throwback Chevy CamaroNew sponsor for 2020, based on Dale Earnhardt’s 1976 Hy-Gain Chevy Malibu. A

2-Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Throwback Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on Junior Johnson’s #3 Holly Farms Chevy. A

3-Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Cash App Throwback Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on D.K. Ulrich’s #6 scheme Richard Petty ran at the 1986 Coca-Cola 600. A

4-Josh Bilicki #7 Insurance King Throwback Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on Tommy Baldwin Sr.’s modified car. A

5-Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Throwback Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2020, based on Cale Yarborough’s 1973 Chevy Laguna. A

6-Matt DiBenedetto #21 Motorcraft Throwback Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on The Wood Brothers’ 1963 Ford Galaxie. A

7-Cole Custer #41 HaasTooling.com Throwback Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on Curtis Turner’s 1965 Ford Galaxie. A

8-Joey Gase #51 Jacob Companies Throwback Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on Stroker Ace’s car from Stroker Ace. A

9-Timmy Hill #66 RoofClaim.com Throwback Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2020, based on Phil Parsons’ 1984 Skoal Bandit. A

10-James Davison #53 Signing Day Sports Throwback Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on Tom Sneva’s 1983 Chevy. A

11-Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Throwback Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on Bobby Allison’s 1985 Miller Lite scheme. A

12-Brennan Poole #15 Remember Everyone Deployed Throwback Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on Ricky Rudd’s 1985 Ford Thunderbird. A

13-Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Throwback Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2020, based on Elliot Sadler’s 2004 Ford Taurus. A

14-Clint Bowyer #14 Peak Throwback MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on Kyle Petty’s 1990 Rockingham scheme. A

15-Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Throwback Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on 1997 Busch beer can design. A

16-John Hunter Nemechek #38 Citgard Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on Elliot Sadler’s Citgo scheme from 1999-2000. A

17-Martin Truex Jr. #19 Bass Pro Shops Throwback Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2020, based on Martin’s 2004 Xfinity Series car. A

18-Tyler Reddick #8 Cat Power Throwback Chevy CamaroNew sponsor for 2020, Jeff Burton’s 1994 Rookie of the Year Rabestos Ford Thunderbird. A

19-William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on Jimmie Johnson’s 2013 All-Star Scheme. A

20-Daniel Suarez #96 ARRIS Throwback Toyota CamryNew sponsor for 2020, based on Suarez’s 2018 ARRIS Camry. A

21-Ryan Blaney #12 Menard’s Throwback Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on Paul Menard and his 2003 ARCA victory at Talladega. A-

22-Brad Keselowski #2 Discount Tire Throwback Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, based on Brad’s 2010 Discount Tire Championship winning Ford . A-

23-Ty Dillon #13 GEICO Throwback Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on Todd Bodine’s 2010 Truck Series Championship winning Toyota Tundra. B+

24-Ryan Newman #6 Oscar Meyer Ford MustangNew scheme for 2020, honoring his 1999 USAC Silver Crown Series Championship. B+

25-Quin Houff #00 Throwback Permatex Chevy Camaro-New scheme for 2020, black with spiral on hood, and beach motif on sides. B

26-Erik Jones #20 SportClips Throwback Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2020, Tony Stewart’s 2005 Martinsville Home Depot scheme. B

27-Chase Elliott #9 NAPA Throwback Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on Jimmie Johnson’s 2009 Championship scheme. C

28-Alex Bowman #88 Truck Hero/Chevy Group Chevy CamaroNew sponsor for 2020, honors Jimmie Johnson’s 2006 championship season. C

29-Christopher Bell #95 JBL Throwback Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2020, based on Bell’s 2017 Truck Series Championship JBL scheme. F

30-JJ Yeley #27 Jacob Companies Throwback Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2020, based on Kenny Irwin’s 1997 Nerf Ford Thunderbird. F

Next week, some dirt track memorabilia!

Collecting Toss Coins is So Much Fun!

By David G. Firestone

Going off topic this week. If you were a kid during the Roman empire, and you were with a friend, and needed something to do, you could play “navia aut caput” or “ship or head.” How it works is that you take a coin, and one picks ship, the other picks head, and then you flip the coin in the air, and whichever side the coin lands on the person who picked that side wins. If you were playing it in England, you were playing “cross and pile.”

That simple game would grow into a bit of dispute resolution that is still used today. While it is used in politics, and business on occasion, coin tossing has become a major part of sports. It’s used in soccer to determine which goal the winning team attacks first. Cricket uses it to determine who bats first and who bowls first. Fencing uses a coin toss at the end of a tied match, where overtime has also ended. But the most well-known usage of a coin toss is in American Football, at the start of the game, to determine who gets the ball first.

Three minutes prior to the game, the team captains meet at midfield, the referee then instructs the visiting team captain to chose heads or tails, which are named for being sides opposite each other. He then flips the coin into the air, and the side that wins can chose to receive, or kick, and to defer their choice until the second half.

The 2004 season was one that Dolphins fans would like to forget. Not only did the Dolphins go 4-12, but they had to deal with Ricky Williams retiring from football. They also had to reschedule two games because of the threat of hurricanes. Their September 26th game was moved from 1 PM to 8:30 PM due to Hurricane Jeanne, and their opening day game was moved from September 12th to September 11th due to Hurricane Ivan. Their opening day game wasn’t great, they lost the game, and lost the coin toss, which was done with this Highland Mint coin.  The Highland Mint was founded in the 1980’s, and focuses strictly on sports coins, and custom minting. They make the game coins for the NFL. Every game coin from regular games to the The Super Bowl is taken from the game and sold by the NFL to the private market, and this is one such example.

The coin is gold, and has on the head side, a Miami Dolphins helmet, and MIAMI DOLPHINS INAUGURAL SEASON 1966 stamped into the coin. There is also a box for the serial number to be etched, but since this wasn’t one of the limited edition coins that got sold on the collector market, it is blank. The tails side of the coin has the NFL Kickoff Weekend 2004 logo, and OFFICIAL GAME COIN and OFFICIALLY LICENSED NFL PROPERTIES stamped into the coin. This is 1 of 2500 coins, and has the serial number 0001 stamped into the edge of the coin, near the bottom of the front. It has been placed in a plastic holder, and comes in a felt box. It has a tag that comes with the retail coins, but it has the PSA DNA sticker on it, as well as a PSA/DNA lot. 2004 was not a great year for Chicago sports. The Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Fire, and White Sox all missed the playoffs, while having mediocre to awful seasons. The Cubs and White Sox were dead by September, and while the Bulls and Blackhawks were getting started, it became clear rather quickly that they had nothing, and their seasons weren’t going to go anywhere. The Fire have always been the odd group out in Chicago sports. When they won the MLS Cup in October 1998, nobody in Chicago noticed or cared. But like the rest of the sports in Chicago, the season they had was not great in 2004.

The bright spot was supposed to be football. The Bears had a decent roster, a new set of alternate uniforms, and a brand new coach in Lovie Smith. The NFC North wasn’t as strong as other conferences. So it is into this season the Bears started on September 12, 2004. The Bears began their season at home against the Lions. Before the game, they lost the coin toss, and went on to lose the game. The coin toss was conducted with this Chicago Bears coin.The HEADS side of the coin features a Chicago Bears “Wishbone C” logo, and CHICAGO BEARS EST 1920 stamped into it.

The coin is stamped #531. There were a total of 5000 made, and while other examples of game-used toss coins are numbered 0001, this isn’t surprising as any one of the 5000 coins made could find their way onto the field. In 2011, One team that looked decent, but didn’t make the playoffs were the New York Jets. With an 8-8 record, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The two teams would meet at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on October 2, 2011. This special coin was used for the coin toss, which New York won, and deferred.  The Franklin Mint made coin doesn’t really show use, and is number 0001. It comes with PSA/DNA NFL Auction authentication. I’m not the biggest fan of tennis. I don’t understand a lot of the rules, and I don’t understand the scoring system, even though I took a class on it in high school. That said, tennis has a huge fan base. Naturally, the tennis memorabilia market is ripe, but unlike most other sports, until recently, The ATP was slower to wake than most other leagues. Now that the ATP is embracing the memorabilia market, the match-used market has a lot to offer.

Like many other sports, tennis uses a coin toss to determine who serves and who receives. From at least 2008 to 2013, the US Open used Highland Mint made flip coins. Like other flip coins, these were custom designed for the occasion. I have a couple of match-used coins from the 2013 Tournament.

The Men’s Doubles saw Leander Paes and Radek Štěpánek defeat Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the Finals. On the way to the finals, Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares defeated Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo at Louis Armstrong Stadium 7–5, 6–4 on September 5, 2013. This coin was used for the coin toss.  This Highland Mint made coin was authenticated by MeiGray, which the US Open used from 2012 to 2015 for their memorabilia. It comes with a full Letter of Authenticity, and MeiGray hologram, in a MeiGray folder. The Women’s Doubles saw Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká defeat Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua on September 7 6–7(4–7), 6–1, 6–4 . To get there, Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká had to beat Sania Mirza and China Zheng Jie in the Women’s Doubles Semifinals on September 5 6–2, 6–2. The day before, Mirza and Zheng Jie defeated Hsieh Su-wei and China Peng Shuai 6–4, 7–6(7–5) in the Quarter Finals at Louis Armstrong Stadium. This Highland Mint Coin, #18 was used for the coin toss.  This Highland Mint made coin was authenticated by MeiGray. It comes with a full Letter of Authenticity, and MeiGray hologram, in a MeiGray folder. Cricket also uses toss coins. One form of cricket is Twenty20 cricket, aka Twenty-20, and abbreviated to T20. In a Twenty20 game the two teams have a single innings each, which is restricted to a maximum of 20 overs. The England and Wales Cricket Board created Twenty20 in 2002, and it has grown in popularity, spawning its own World Cup, like the ones played in 2009. I have a couple of match-used coins from the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, including this one, from the South Africa vs. Pakistan semi-final, where Pakistan won with 149/4 over South Africa’s 142/5. The coin, slightly larger than an American quarter, is in great condition.  The specially made coin is not sold as a replica, and comes in a customized box, with an International Cricket Council logo. The box is about 4 inches square. The coin itself is slightly larger than an American quarter, though much smaller than an NFL toss coin. The heads and tails are marked. The heads side features a 2009 ICC Twenty20 logo, with England 2009. The tails section features an ICC logo, with a 100th anniversary commemoration. I also have a second coin, from a Group B competition between England and the Netherlands. This was one of the early matches, where The Netherlands won 163/6 over England’s 162/5. The coin is identical, no serial numbers are on these coins, and the only difference is the COA. Cricket also has a World Cup. The 2015 Cricket World Cup had a series of great matches. One such match was the game between England and Scotland that took place on February 23rd, at The Hagley Oval, Christchurch, New Zealand.  England triumphed over Scotland, by a score of 303/8 (50 overs) to 184 (42.2 overs). This coin, slightly larger than the 20Twenty coin, but smaller than an NFL toss coin was produced. It includes a display box featuring details on the game, and a COA. Next week…the grades for the Throwback race!

The Face-Shield Project Part 4-Other Face-Shields

By David G. Firestone

While helmets have been around since the beginning of auto racing, full face helmets are a relatively new phenomena, having only come around since the late 1960’s. With the advent of full-face helmets came the visor. Visors or face-shields, are clear pieces of plexiglass that cover the open area of the helmet. In addition to keeping wind and rain out of a driver’s eyes in open cockpits, they also shield the driver’s face from fire, and can be tinted for racing in sunlight. Each form of auto racing has their own quirks when it comes to face-shields. Face-shields are designed to snap closed, and they all feature holes for the connection to the helmet, holes to keep the visor closed, and handles to help open the visor. This week we will look at other kinds of face shields.

This particular face-shield isn’t just a driver face-shield, it’s also a passenger face shield. This is an Arai face shield off my Andretti Racing Experience helmet. This was used by both professional and amateur drivers, as well as passengers. The helmet is designed that the face-shield can be replaced by unscrewing with a quarter. This last visor is from racing artist and driver Dave Labs. While I can confirm this Bieffe made visor off his helmet is genuine, I’m not fully sure where this was raced. Labs has raced in both stock cars and drag racing. This looks more like drag racing helmet, but I don’t know for sure. That’s it for face-shields. Next week, I go off topic for a bit.

The Face-Shield Project Part 3-IndyCar Face-Shields

By David G. Firestone

While helmets have been around since the beginning of auto racing, full face helmets are a relatively new phenomena, having only come around since the late 1960’s. With the advent of full-face helmets came the visor. Visors or face-shields, are clear pieces of plexiglass that cover the open area of the helmet. In addition to keeping wind and rain out of a driver’s eyes in open cockpits, they also shield the driver’s face from fire, and can be tinted for racing in sunlight. Each form of auto racing has their own quirks when it comes to face-shields. Face-shields are designed to snap closed, and they all feature holes for the connection to the helmet, holes to keep the visor closed, and handles to help open the visor. This week we will look at IndyCar face shields.

IndyCar, like many other classes of auto racing is open cockpit. While there are windshields that protect the driver from harm, the face-shield is still a critical part of the helmet. These face-shields were the only thing keeping a driver from injury from debris. They tend to show a lot of use. This Johnny Unser face-shield was used during the 1996 Indy 500. It has a lot of wear and Johnny has autographed it with “INDY-1996” inscribed. It should be noted that he started 16th, and finished 33rd due to a transmission issue. This Jaques Lazier Menards face-shield was used in the 2003 Indy 500, where he started 20th, and finished 29th, due to a wreck with the 99 of Richie Hearn on lap 62. It features a tear away, commonly used among open cockpit race car face-shields. Next week, the face-shield discussion continues with other kinds of face shields.

The Face-Shield Project Part 2-NHRA Face Shields

By David G. Firestone

While helmets have been around since the beginning of auto racing, full face helmets are a relatively new phenomena, having only come around since the late 1960’s. With the advent of full-face helmets came the visor. Visors or face-shields, are clear pieces of plexiglass that cover the open area of the helmet. In addition to keeping wind and rain out of a driver’s eyes in open cockpits, they also shield the driver’s face from fire, and can be tinted for racing in sunlight. Each form of auto racing has their own quirks when it comes to face-shields. Face-shields are designed to snap closed, and they all feature holes for the connection to the helmet, holes to keep the visor closed, and handles to help open the visor. This week we will look at NHRA face shields.

Drivers in the professional categories of the NHRA have two choices of face-shield. There is the traditional face-shield that is similar to NASCAR or IndyCar, and then there is the style that looks more like sunglasses. This was popularized by the Simpson Bandit. Many drivers prefer the Bandit face shield. The Pedregon brothers are an example of this, with a couple of race-worn examples.

The first is a Simpson Bandit face shield, with PEDREGON on the visor stripe area, and it has been signed by Cruz and Tony Pedregon. It shows decent use. The second Pedregon face-shield is an unbranded Bandit-style visor, which shows decent use. It has been signed by Cruz Pedregon, and he inscribed “2X FC CHAMP.” This next example shows a helmet phenomena that is unique to drag racing. Many drivers like to use what Jack Beckman referred to as the “Clydesdale Effect.” It should be noted that in 2015 I interviewed Beckman. I asked him about the Clydesdale Effect, and he said that he didn’t use it, but he didn’t rule it out. He has since starting using the Clydesdale Effect. Drivers like parts of their visors blacked out, so they can only focus on the track. This TJ Zizzo tinted example shows how some drivers use the Clydesdale Effect.

Next week, the face-shield discussion continues with IndyCar face shields.

The Face-Shield Project Part 1-NASCAR Face Shields

By David G. Firestone

While helmets have been around since the beginning of auto racing, full face helmets are a relatively new phenomena, having only come around since the late 1960’s. With the advent of full-face helmets came the visor. Visors or face-shields, are clear pieces of plexiglass that cover the open area of the helmet. In addition to keeping wind and rain out of a driver’s eyes in open cockpits, they also shield the driver’s face from fire, and can be tinted for racing in sunlight. Each form of auto racing has their own quirks when it comes to face-shields. Face-shields are designed to snap closed, and they all feature holes for the connection to the helmet, holes to keep the visor closed, and handles to help open the visor. This week we will look at NASCAR face shields.

NASCAR face-shields are made for cars with enclosed cockpits. They typically come in clear, or have some kind of tint. For day to night races, the face-shield can have a tinted tear-off that can be removed when it gets dark. Sponsors will also place their logos on the shield on the area that is over the edge of the helmet, as evidenced by this Jeff Burton tinted Arai visor from his RCR days. The face-shield is in decent condition. This clear Impact face-shield is from JR Fitzpatrick, during his NASCAR days. It is in decent condition, has a manufacture date of 01/2007, and has been signed by Fitzpatrick. Next week, the face-shield discussion continues with NHRA face shields.

How I Spent My 2020 Vacation

By David G. Firestone

Just a brief post this week, and a day late. Well, another summer vacation come and gone again. This year was much different, as most of the things I wanted to do were canceled due to COVID-19. Since there was racing, I did get to enjoy it. I also put a lot of work into YouTube videos. I did two box breaks, I can’t count how many sampling videos, and even produced my new mini series. Those will come out in due time.

When it comes to The Driver Suit Blog itself, I have had to make a series of hard decisions. I’ve tried to reverse course, but I now have to accept that The Driver Suit Blog can’t continue in its current form after 2020. I simply do not have the time and resources to keep going. I will still work on The Driver Suit Blog, though I will do a lot more revisited articles, and cut back on Friday Features. This was a heavy blow, as I really love The Driver Suit Blog, but in the end, I have to make the right decision.

Next Week, The Face-Shield Project begins.

What Does A Playbook Have Inside?

By David G. Firestone

Editor’s Note: I am on Vacation until August, so I have prepared some Friday Features in advance.

Regular readers will know that I am an NFL fan. I collect NFL stuff in addition to NASCAR stuff. I have several toss coins, an endzone pylon, and some turf. I’ve had jerseys and helmets over the years as well. I recently found something that I just had to purchase.

The world of football was a much different place in 1964. There were two leagues, the NFL and the AFL. The first Super Bowl between the two wouldn’t take place until 1967. In 1964, the AFL consisted of a total of 8 teams in two divisions. The Eastern Division was made up of The Boston Patriots, The Buffalo Bills, The Houston Oilers, and The New York Jets. The Western Division had The Denver Broncos, The Kansas City Chiefs, The Oakland Raiders, and the San Diego Chargers. The 1964 AFL Championship took place at the War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York. The game saw the Buffalo Bills beat the San Diego Chargers 20-7.

The 1964 Oakland Raiders were not a great team. They went 5-7-2 over 14 games. They had a couple of all-stars but really didn’t do much. These are a set of pages from the playbook of former wide receiver Bill Miller. They are in good condition, and don’t show any wear.

Next week, how I spend my summer vacation.

To Boot or Not to Boot…That is the Question-Revisited

By David G. Firestone

Editor’s Note: I am on Vacation until August, so I have prepared some Friday Features in advance.

I love exploring and discussing the lesser-known aspects of driver suits, and one thing that most fans don’t get to see are the cuffs are the end of the legs. In NASCAR, that is because there is a design feature in suits called the “boot cut.” As seen above, the boot cut features a cuff within a cuff. In NASCAR this is not just for aesthetic reasons. NASCAR, and other stock car classes feature the engine in front of the driver. In the very likely event of an engine catching fire the cuff helps keep the driver’s legs protected.

The other style of cuff is just called “cuff.” I’m going to call it a standard It is a predominant feature seen in many suits, including F1 and IndyCar suits. Since the engine and fuel tanks are located behind the driver, and because of the restricted space within the driver compartment, the cuff style is a popular choice. On occasion, cuff cuts can be seen on NASCAR suits as well. Early NASCAR suit feature cuff cuts, but in the 1980’s, the boot cut became the preferred choice. In the NHRA you see it a lot in the upper echelons, Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock. I also see it in the semi-pro ranks. For drivers in other classes, as in different sanctioning bodies, it is left up to the driver. Some drivers prefer the standard cuff, some prefer the boot cuff.

Next week, something really cool…