The Vest Project Part 23-The Rise Of Atreus!

By David G. Firestone

Rusty Wallace is a household name when it comes to NASCAR. With 55 wins and the 1989 Winston Cup Series Championship. Wallace is a well known and respected driver, who also had thrown his hat into team ownership. He owned a team in 1985, but closed it by 1992. He reopened it in 2004, raced in the Xfinity Series until 2013.

Rusty comes from a racing family. His brother Kenny and son Steven have both had racing careers. Kenny has nine wins in the Xfinity Series in 26 years. Steven had some wins in ARCA, but nothing of note in Xfinity. In 2008, while racing for Rusty Wallace Racing, he was sponsored by Atreus Homes & Communities for 14 races. During those races, he scored two top 5’s and three top 10’s. One member of his pit crew wore this Impact vest. The vest has some stains, but is in good condition.The collar doesn’t have a Velcro closure, and has ATREUS HOMES & COMMUNITIES logos embroidered. There is no tag in the cowl.The right chest features NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES, CHEVY, and GOODYEAR logos embroidered.The left chest features ATREUS HOMES & COMMUNITIES, JIMMY JOHN’S and JOINAPS.COM logos embroidered.The front torso has a large red ATREUS HOMES & COMMUNITIES logo embroidered.Inside the zipper is the Impact warranty label, with the name LOMBARDI written in Sharpie.The hems have comfort straps at the bottom, under the arm holes. The shoulders have epaulets with ATREUS HOMES & COMMUNITIES logo embroidered. There are holes for the sleeves. The back of the vest has some light stains.The back of the neck has a small Rusty Wallace Racing logo embroidered.The back torso features WWW.RUSTYWALLACE.COM and ATREUS HOMES & COMMUNITIES logos embroidered.So that’s all for this week, I’m going to take my annual July vacation. I will still post stuff, just not as often, and I’ll see you in August!

Back To Racing School

By David G. Firestone

Some race car drivers are born, other as made. Racing school is a place for driver to hone their skills. John “Skip” Barber III is a former F1 and SCCA driver. While we won 3 SCCA National Championships in a row, his F1 and IndyCar careers were not stellar. After his racing career ended, he taught four students to race in 1975. 45 years later, Skip Barber Racing Schools owns 130 cars and operates at over 30 tracks over North America. They are one of the best-known racing schools of all time.

Fire is an ever present threat in auto racing, including auto racing school. Skip Barber issued suits to their students. These were lightweight, and were inexpensive. This 1980’s-1990’s Pyrotect suit is one example. The suit does show decent use, not surprising for a lightweight suit.The collar has a Velcro closure, and a PYROTECT logo is sewn on the closure. There is nothing inside the cowl. The right chest features a BOSCH SPARK PLUG patch sewn into the tan material, and a SKIP BARBER RACING SCHOOL patch sewn into the white stripe.The left chest features a T/A RADIALS BF GOODRICH sewn into the upper tan area, a PYROTECT logo sewn on the black stripe, a BMW patch and a KONI patch sewn into the white stripe, and an EASTERN logo sewn into the lower tan area of the torso.The warranty label and the wash instructions are located inside the front of the suit.The belt on the suit is unadorned on the outside, but there are a couple of red patches sewn inside the belt, indicating this suit is number 48. The tan legs have standard cuffs, and a red stripe.The shoulders have straps to help pull the driver out of the car in case of a crash. The right sleeve has PYROTECT and PBI patches sewn into the white stripe. The end of the sleeve is unadorned. The left sleeve has PYROTECT and PBI patches sewn into the white stripe. The end of the sleeve is unadorned. The back of the suit shows some wear in the form of stains and scuffs.The back of the neck is unadorned.The back torso features a large SKIP BARBER RACING SCHOOL patch sewn into the upper part, and a BF GOODRICH T/A RADIALS patch on the lower part of the torso.Next week, The Vest Project continues!

The Most American of Head Coverings

By David G. Firestone

Going a bit off topic, and on topic at the same time. I don’t think there is any other head covering that is as ubiquitous as the baseball cap. Every major sport markets caps to some extent, some using them on the sidelines or even in play. Baseball caps are a popular item for fans, and collectors alike. Even in auto racing, caps are ever present. Drivers wear them for interviews, and in victory lane. But instead of a racing cap, today, I’m going to discuss a game-worn baseball cap I picked up in St. Louis.

Hailing from Winter Park, Florida, Derek Lilliquist was selected sixth in the 1987 Major League Baseball draft. After some time in the minors, he was called up by the Atlanta Braves in 1989. He was traded to the Padres in 1990, where he lasted until 1991. In 1992, the Indians claimed him off waivers, and as a relief pitcher, he put up career best numbers. He lasted with the Indians until 1994, when he signed with Boston, and he never reclaimed his previous glory. He last played for the Reds in 1996.

In 2002, he became a pitching coach for the Johnson City Cardinals, and by 2011, he was the pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, a position he held until 2017, when he signed with the Nationals, where he was fired at the end of the 2019 season. During his final year with the Cardinals in 2017, he wore this Sunday Alternative hat. This size 7 3/8 MLB authenticated New Era hat shows light use. According to the MLB, this was worn on on April 2 and July 9, 2017.The left side features a NEW ERA flag logo embroidered into the blue material.The back of this fitted cap features a Cardinals team colored MLB logos embroidered.The right side is unadorned.The top of the cap features a red squatchee.The inside of the cap features light stains.The underside of the bill features a sticker reading LILLIQUIST #34 to the right of the MLB Authentication.That was a short one this week, so lets do some…

TAILGATING TIME!

Mustard Seasoned Pork Roast

6 Servings

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin

Pepper

2 small finely chopped onions

3 sprigs of finely chopped parsley

3 tablespoons mustard (dry mustard mixed with water)

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon sage

1/2 teaspoon marjora,

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Instructions:

1-Slice pork loin in half lengthwise.

2-In a bowl, mix together the pepper, oinions, parsley, mustard and spices.

3-Spread mixture inside cut surfaces of the meat, and close meat by tying with sting.

4-Rub outside with vegetable oil.

5-Place in preheated 325 degree oven, and cook for about 2 hours.

Next week, we go to school…racing school!

The Pedregon Family One Of Drag Racing’s Greatest Families

By David G. Firestone

Before we dive into this weeks Friday Feature, I want to discuss why I reposted an old article last week. As happens sometimes, I had to deal with a couple of minor things last week, and I didn’t have enough time to get to the Friday Feature. I hate doing things this way, but real life gets in the way. Now on to the Pedregon Brothers!

When “Flaming” Frank Pedregon passed away in 1981, he had no idea his sons would become some of the most respected drivers in Funny Car. Fast forward to 2019, and one son Tony has 43 event wins, fourth on the all time win list, and two championships, and the other Cruz has 33, and two championships, including the only Funny Car championship not won by John Force in the 1990’s. The Pedregons have gone down as one the greatest families in the history of drag racing.

The first brother to have real success in Funny Car was Cruz. He started racing in 1987 in a top alcohol dragster, moved to top alcohol funny car, then to top fuel in 1991, and in 1992 won the Funny Car championship. The biggest rivalry in drag racing in the 1990’s was John Force vs. Cruz Pedregon. Both were driving Pontiac Firebirds for a while, with Cruz driving this Interstate Batteries/Hot Rod car, represented by this 1/32 die-cast. John Force was not going to be denied, and decided to get in Cruz’s head by hiring Tony as a driver. By 1993, both Pedregon brothers were racing in full time funny cars Tony and John did not have the best of relationships. Both John and Tony were racing the same design car, but Tony would have to, on occasion, throw a race for John. This is a 1:24 scale mock-up of his Castol funny car from his days with John Force. In 1998, Tony won 2 events, one at Texas, the other at Denver. During that season, he wore these Simpson Holeshot drag boots.These boots are unlike most racing shoes because they are designed to cover both the shoe, and the end of the leg of the driver suit. Why would funny car drivers wear such boots? Well, to answer that, let’s look at the design of the inside of a funny car. The driver sits almost on top of the rear axle, with the 10,000 horsepower engine, and nitromethane fuel tank directly in front. Should there be an engine explosion, which isn’t uncommon, the fire would blow back into the driver. There are firewalls in place, but those can’t always be counted on to protect the driver from the full effects of fire in the time it takes to get a funny car stops. That’s where these boots come in. They will give that little extra bit of help to the driver in exiting the car.  They are rated 15, not bad for 1998 standards, but would have a 20 rating in 2019. Both boots have been signed by Pedregon and he added the inscription “’98.”  In 2002, the Pedregon brothers formed Cruz Pedregon Racing, Inc., and both have had driver duties. This visor was used by one of the brothers, and autographed by both. It’s designed for a Simpson Bandit-style helmet. The Pedregon brothers didn’t use “The Clydesdale Effect” with this visor. I asked Cruz if he uses The Clydesdale Effect, and this was his response:

“I did, but honestly, to me, if your susceptible to that, you probably have something else going on. Part of your God given ability to focus, to me should be, even if something is in your vision, your focus should be the thing you are focused on, not things on the outside. I did try that at one time, and all it did was verify that I’m really screwed up.”

I also came across this Cruz Pedregon race-used visor. It’s a Simpson visor, which shows a number of scratches, and scuff marks, and Cruz has autographed the visor with the inscription “2X FC CHAMP!.” The last item is a parachute bag used by Frank Pedregon Jr. It’s designed to hold the parachute on the back of the car, and was from the car when Frank hit Scotty Canon. Next week, I’m gonna go off topic.

A Perfect Example of the Stroud Parachute Design

By David G. Firestone

Most people associate parachutes with skydiving, para sailing, or military operations, but they have been critical over the course of auto racing as well. For those who follow drag racing or land speed records, parachutes being deployed at the end of the run is a common, and reassuring sight. Dragsters and funny cars can go from zero to 320 MPH in 3.87 seconds. There is no way these cars could stop as effectively without perfect parachute design. Most people also don’t realize that there are two very distinct designs used in drag racing, the Simpson design, and the Stroud design.

The Stroud design came from necessity. The cross-form has been proven effective in the faster cars, namely top fuel, and funny car in the professional classes, as well as top alcohol and top alcohol funny cars in the amateur classes. These are great at stopping cars over 200 MPH. However, there are a number of categories in drag racing where the cars run under 200 MPH and the cross-form deploys too roughly, and would drag the car up. This problem was confirmed by Bill Simpson himself. When he first tested the cross-form at 100 MPH the car took off, and he was hospitalized and arrested. Bob Stroud, who is an engineer who has made a number of designs to airborne parachutes worked on the problem, and came up with the current design in the 1980’s. While Stroud developed the chute, many companies have made design changes.

For a time, these designs were relegated to the amateur classes of the NHRA. It was in May of 1990, at the AC-Delco Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway that the Stroud design came to the professional leagues, stopping Warren Johnson at the end of his races. It should also be noted that at that time, many drivers simply didn’t deploy their chutes at the end of a run. While their design has evolved over time, it still remains the standard for cars that race up to 205 MPH. This example comes from Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson’s post 2009 career. It shows a decent amount of wear. The chute canopy has an opening in the very center, for air to go through. The pilot chute is attached here as well. Pilot chutes are universally used to deploy parachutes. When the cords are pulled, and the chute is released, the pilot chute deploys, which catches air and pulls the primary chute behind it. The parachute has a tag from the Stroud Company stating is was made in 01/09.The chutes are strapped to a bar at the back of the car, the straps pre-covered in Nomex to prevent fire damage, then packed into a bag, before the race. These parachutes and pilot chutes are massive, but are packed into a bag which measures 9 inches square. There are two designs that are used to launch a parachute. There is the empty box design, which mounts to the back of the car, and is opened by pulling the cable. The second is a pneumatic launcher, used with smaller cross form, and most Stroud chutes. Drag racing parachutes are almost always packed by the drivers themselves. As one driver so elegantly phrased it, “If doesn’t work, I have nobody to blame but myself.” How do drivers pack their own chutes? I’ll let driver Rickie Jones explain that:

Next week, the Pedregon Family is profiled again.

The Paperwork Aspects of Auto Racing Part 2

By David G. Firestone

As I said last week, the mere word “paperwork” will make any person groan. Nobody likes paperwork. It is just awful. Yet it’s become a necessary evil. It permeates every aspect of life, even in auto racing.

Drag racing has a unique form of paperwork, as compared to other classes of auto racing. After every quarter mile run, a slip of paper is issued to the drivers giving their speed and elapsed time. This is used by the drivers and teams to figure out what their times were, so that adjustments in both car and strategy can be made. Nowadays these slips look like store receipts, but for many years, they were custom designed for the track, or even the specific event. I have a few examples of the variations of these slips. For being as old as they are, they are in great condition.

These first ones are from ATCO Dragway at Atco, NJ. These are slightly larger than a standard business card. These white examples come from the Cayuga International Dragway Park in Cayuga, Ontario. They are similar in size to the ATCO slips. This slightly smaller slip is from the NHRA Springnationals at Columbus, Ohio. The slip is cream colored. It is customized for the event, and is a piece of advertising for Chrondek, a company specializing in drag racing timing systems.These small thin paper slips come from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. One of these slips has “white Vette” as opposed to the car number. A picture of said Corvette was included with these slips.  This slip is from Maple Grove Dragway, and it not only lists Chrondek, but also has an add for SW Race Cars and Components, Inc. on the reverse. New York National Speedway was located in Center Moriches, New York, and existed from 1966 to 1980. These series of small slips are from New York National. Another photo of the white Corvette at the track is included with this set of slips. The reverse has advertisements for Musclecars Performance Centers. York US30 Dragway operated out of York Airport in Thomasville, Pennsylvania. It operated from 1965 to 1979. These slips are from that long gone track. The reverse has advertisements for Hartman Automotive Racing Engines. The last slip is from Great Lakes Dragaway. This is from 1990, and unlike the others, this one has more specific information, such as reaction time, and more complete speed. This slip was signed by “Dyno” Don Nicholson.

Next week, the drag racing theme continues with a parachute.

The Paperwork Aspects of Auto Racing Part 1

By David G. Firestone

The mere word “paperwork” will make any person groan. Nobody likes paperwork. It is just awful. Yet it’s become a necessary evil. It permeates every aspect of life, even in auto racing.

NASCAR and almost all racing sanctioning bodies issue “competitor licenses.” Competitor licenses are significantly harder to obtain than a standard driver’s license, and the sanctioning bodies make the rules for obtaining them difficult on purpose, so that the average Joe can’t buy a race car on eBay, and drive it in a race. As you get higher and higher in the racing ranks, the requirements become stricter, and harder to obtain.

This is not a new phenomenon. This goes back to the 1960’s. As time has worn on, the need for such regulation has become paramount, as auto racing has grown in popularity over the last 30 years. Many fans would love to race with their favorite drivers, but the fact is that due to their lack of experience and skill, this could cause a lot of problems. Race car drivers have skills capabilities that the average joe could only dream of having, and the competitor license makes sure that those who can do, and those who can’t watch.

John “Shorty” Miller was a NASCAR and ARCA competitor in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He was one of the founders of the Dayton Auto Racing Fan Club, or DARF, and is in the DARF Hall of Fame. In 1976, he was involved with ARCA, and was issued this license. For documents as old as they are, they are in good condition. It also comes with a copy of the 1976 ARCA Rule Book, which contains 12 pages of rules, which covers a lot of ground, but leaves so much open, it’s not funny. Center Line was founded as the Center Line Tool Corporation in 1970 by Ray Lipper. Lipper saw the need for a good performance rim, and soon the company started focusing only on wheels. Lipper was also an avid racer, and raced in SCCA, and CART. His time in CART was not successful, with a DNS at the Phoenix race, and was one of 47 drivers not to qualify for the 1982 Indianapolis 500. He was elected to the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2002. I recently purchased some of his racing memorabilia, including some paperwork.

A small, orange Snell Sport Vinyl folder is included in the lot, and the contents of which are very interesting. This is a paper race result from the 1980 SCCA Formula Super Vee USA Robert Bosch/Valvoline Championship. One of the Gold Cup race took place at Watkins Glen on July 5, 1980. Lipper finished 16th, driving a Super Vee. He won $250 for his efforts.In preparation for a race at what is now Sonoma Raceway, Lipper hand drew this map of the track, and added notes as to what he should do in the car while driving in that area.This is Lipper’s map of Watkins Glen, both the track, and the way to the track. It shows a lot of wear. In addition to racing in the United States, Lipper also raced in New Zealand. This is Lipper’s Motorsports Association of New Zealand(MANZ) license. The Manawatu Car Club is New Zealand’s oldest car club. Lipper was a part of it in 1982, and this is his member ticket.

There is another aspect of auto racing paperwork that I will discuss last week.

All Hail The Mighty Foam Block

By David G. Firestone

Auto racing has a lot of different elements in it. These include the cars, the track, and all the implements in both. Drag racing has many different elements at the track. The most unique of these is the timing system. The Christmas tree is the centerpiece, and the timing blocks are one of the most critical elements.

In drag racing, sensors and lightweight orange foam blocks with reflectors are placed at 60, 330, 660, 1000, and 1320 feet. These sensors measure speed and elapsed time. They are made of very lightweight foam, so as not to damage the cars of they impact them. This example was cut in half by a nostalgia funny car at Las Vegas. Obviously, it shows very heavy use.

I know that this was a short one, so we will do another…

TAILGATING TIME!

Nothing fancy, going to post a recipe that can give mediocre hot dogs good flavor.

Dirty Water Hot Dogs

12 Servings

Ingredients:

12 Hot Dogs

2 quarts Water

2 tablespoons Vinegar

1 teaspoon Cumin

pinch Freshly Grated Nutmeg

12 Hot Dog Buns (split; toasted if desired)

Instructions:

1-Combine the Water, Vinegar, Cumin, and Nutmeg in a large pot, and bring to a boil.

2-Reduce to a simmer, and add the Hot dogs, cooking until the Hot dogs have heated through, about 5 minutes.

3-Serve on buns with desired condiments.

Next week, auto racing paperwork.

Celebrating the Tracks That Host The Races!

By David G. Firestone

I collect all kinds of memorabilia, not just from auto racing, but from many kinds of sports. One thing that I collect that most people don’t really realize is an aspect of the sports memorabilia market is what is referred to as “stadium memorabilia.” Stadium memorabilia is memorabilia that comes from stadiums as opposed to players or drivers. It has gained new heights since the demolition of Yankee Stadium, Texas Stadium, and Steiner Sports selling memorabilia from the stadium.

This phenomena has spread to NASCAR. With the reconfiguration of Daytona, a slew of memorabilia from the track is now up for sale on eBay and NASCAR.com. Stadium memorabilia comes in several forms. These include seats, signs, scoreboard parts, and playing surfaces, amongst other things. I like to focus on playing surfaces. I have a number of different samples of artificial turf, some baseball infield dirt, and track pieces. This example came from Daytona after the repave in 2011.daytona2 The entire 2.5 mile surface was removed and the track repaved. The old track was cut into pieces and sold to fans. This is an example of one of those pieces. It is 3 inches by 2 inches, about a third of an inch thick, and has a small plaque on it commemorating that it came from the track.daytona1 daytona2 daytona3 daytona4No track is as well-known as Indianapolis. Affectionately known as “The Brickyard” because of the yard of original bricks that make up the start/finish line.indy-1 The line has had several different paint jobs over the years. This plaque has a piece of an original brick, and part of the start/finish line. The pieces of brick, and start/finish line are 1 ½ inch square, and the whole plaque is six inches by 1 foot.indy-1 indy-2 indy-3 indy-4This is a small piece of the racing surface from Talladega. Moving away from racing surface pieces, we move to this piece, which is a banner from the 2004 MBNA America 400 “A Salute To Heroes.” dover-backdrop-1The race took place on June 6, 2004, exactly 60 years after the D-Day invasion. Racing, especially NASCAR holds our military personnel and veterans in the high esteem they richly deserve, and the theme of this race was honoring our veterans. The race had an even more somber note. Ronald Reagan has passed away the previous day. This backdrop, which measures 8 feet tall by 26 feet long was used during the pre-race ceremonies, which included commemoration ceremonies, driver introductions, the invocation, and national anthem. I was able to video match it to the telecast. I normally add a white background to these photos, but I didn’t do that. I wanted to show the size of the banner, and so I had to lay it out on the front lawn, and photograph it from my office window.dover-backdrop-1 dover-backdrop-2 dover-backdrop-3 dover-backdrop-4 dover-backdrop-5 dovers-1 dovers-2This last item isn’t stadium used per se, but it falls in line with the banner above. AJ Foyt Enterprises fielded cars in IndyCar, NASCAR, CART, and USAC. While their IndyCar programs were successful, their NASCAR program wasn’t. From 2000 to 2002, Foyt’s #14 was sponsored by Conseco. For that sponsorship, this backdrop was created.conseco-1 It’s about a 1/3 the length of the Dover banner, but the same height. It has a series of NASCAR and Conseco logos.conseco-1 conseco-2 conseco-3 conseco-4That’s the Friday Feature this week, but next week, I’ve got an interesting little quirk in auto racing memorabilia…stay tuned.