By David G. Firestone
On the first anniversary of the founding of The Driver Suit Blog I felt it appropriate to analyze the first two NASCAR driver suits I ever bought. I started in the driver suit hobby in March of 2010, with a Bill Sedgwick Die Hard driver suit from the Craftsman Truck Series in 1996. I purchased this specific item for a number of reasons, first, it was well within my price range, and second, I wanted a low-end example that I can look at and get a general feel for aspects that I will see in other driver suits.
Some of the stuff I learned from this particular suit helped me understand the very basics of design aspects on race-worn driver suits. Some of the aspects I discovered from that were completely different and it was through subsequent research that I began to understand driver suits more. I have kept it for as long as I have is because I love the suit, and I even though I have had it for almost 4 years, I still find aspects about it that interest me.
The suit is custom designed for Darrell Waltrip’s Craftsman Truck Series team. Sedgwick drove the #17 Chevy C-1500 for the entire 1996 season, whereas Waltrip drove the #5 truck for a very limited schedule. Sedgwick had 3 top 5’s and 8 top 10’s in the 23 of the 24 races that year, and led a total of 8 laps. Sedgwick was released at the end of the season.
The triple-layer suit is custom designed for Sedgwick, with the Sears Die Hard logos on the collar and shoulder epaulets, Sears Die Hard logos across the front and Sedgwick’s name on the right chest,no arm gussets, no adornment on the belt,TV logos and safety stripes on the legs,TV logos on the sleeves, and a huge logo across the back. I purchased a press kit for this suit, which I covered in December, concerning this suit, and I realized that the suit Sedgwick is wearing in the promotional photo is the same suit that is in my collection. I keep the press kit in my authentication binder with the rest of my COA’s and LOA’s The other suit I bought, my first Winston Cup suit was a Lake Speed suit from 1997, this one is a bit different. In 1997, Speed was racing for Melling Racing, which in 1997 was a shell of its former self. Melling had 34 victories and the 1988 Winston Cup Championship, but by 1997, they had no real sponsorship, and had not won a race since 1991. During that season Lake Speed didn’t score a top 5, top 10, or victory, and only led 3 laps in the 25 races he raced in that year.Due to the lack of sponsorship, Speed didn’t have the luxury of having a custom-made suit that season so he wore what appears to be a store bought suit. It looks like the suit was purchased either from a store or a catalog, and customized for Lake’s use. There are no large sponsor logos on the collar,shoulder epaulets, torso,sleeves, or legs.The legs have a cuff cut, as opposed to a boot cut like the Bill Sedgwick suit has.
Everyone who has a hobby or an interest started somewhere. With me, it was with these two driver suits. No matter what you do in your hobby, or how high you fly in your hobby, you were a rookie, and you started from somewhere. Never forget where you came from. These two suits are a reminder of what I was, and I love these two.
Before we get to paint schemes, I need to say something to my readers. When I started this project one year ago, I never thought it would take off as much as it did. I have a group of really awesome readers and followers. I also owe a special thanks to Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch, because if I had never written my two articles for Uni-Watch in 2013, I would never have done the research I did for them, and I would never have had the frustration of not finding research from the collector’s perspective, and The Driver Suit would never have been born. To all my readers, from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you! Stay Tuned because 2014 will be even better than 2013!
Paint Scheme Reveiws
Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna Chevy SS Black with silver numbers and white trim looks simple and really good. I can’t say anything bad about this scheme, and bonus points for improving the door number design. A+
Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SS Same great design as last year, same A grade.
Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS Take the white stripe down the side off, and it will be a solid A scheme. The white does not look good at all. The red/white/black color scheme works very well, and it is decently designed, so I will give it a B+
Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Chevy SS Not only does Go Daddy continue to use the worst shade of yellow in NASCAR, they also have given the worst shade of orange a more prominent role in the car. Givng this car an F is a very fair grade.
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Casey Mears #13 Geico Ford Fusion The yellow they use is awful, and the side design is just too loud, I’ll give it a D
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 NOS Ford Fusion I love this color scheme, however, I don’t love the side design. It has too many different different designs, all of which would work on their own but combined they look like a jumbled mess. I really want to like this scheme, but I just can’t, so I’ll give it a C-
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fifth-Third Bank Ford Fusion Everything I just said about NOS applies here. C-
Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.
Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same A+ grade.
Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SS New season, new driver, new scheme that looks great and earns an A
Kurt Busch #41 Haas CNC Chevy SS Great color scheme and a very simple desgin look very good here. I also like the matte black used, and the door numbers look really solid. Can’t give this scheme anything less than an A
Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SS The scheme looks decent, I like the white on the back, though I do not like the Target logos at the bottom. That takes a scheme that was an A grade to a B-
Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry A good scheme, and the 55 lettering looks really good here, and the gold is a nice touch. A
Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Chevy SS Simple, and perfect. A+
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SS Same scheme as last year, but I never gave it a grade. So here is my analysis Not a great scheme, too much needless design on the side of the car, and the silver background is just brutal. The red lettering on a green background is unattractive at best, and all in all, this is a D- grade.
Michael McDowell #95 Levine Family Racing Ford Fusion This scheme is so much better than last year’s scheme, and just for that I’ll give it a B
Carl Edwards #99 Aflac Ford Fusion This has a terrible color scheme, with lime green, neon blue, black and white. The wing design is not only ugly but would work better starting at the door and working behind.