Replica Helmets, and Why We Need Them In Racing Part 5

martin1-1By David G. Firestone

Last November, I discussed replica helmets. Between then and now, I came across a line of replica helmets that were released in the 1990’s. I sincerely don’t know how I missed these growing up. These look like the kinds of things that were marketed in the NASCAR catalog, and Winston Cup Illustrated.

The company that made them was called Sports Cover Up. They are long out of business, and this is the only product I was ever able to find them making. Helmet marketing was interesting back then because Simpson was marketing mini helmets of the drivers who they made helmets for, Bell made some too, but from what I’ve seen, these were done on a team by team basis.

There are two kinds. The first ones were made in 1997, and made of a softer plastic. It almost has a rubbery feel to it. The visor is stuck in place, and can’t be moved up, and they have a thick plastic bottom permanently attached to the helmet. There are 5 holes, one large and four tiny. As for the design, I was able to find three examples, Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, and Mark Martin. Bobby Labonte was sponsored by Interstate Batteries, and the motif looks good. Previously, Labonte had worn NFL helmet designs, but that went away, and was replaced with Interstate Batteries motifs, and this example looks really good.blabonte1-1 blabonte1-2 blabonte1-3 blabonte1-4 blabonte1-5 blabonte1-6

Bill Elliott was sponsored by McDonald’s and the motif looks like a real McDonald’s helmet. McDonald’s has a really good shade of red, and it is frequently used on the helmets of the drivers they sponsor. This example really does look like a race helmet, though I don’t know who Serengeti, the visor stripe sponsor is though.elliott-1-1 elliott-1-2 elliott-1-3 elliott-1-4 elliott-1-5 elliott-1-6

The Mark Martin helmet is great because it really looks like what Martin used to wear in the 1990’s when he was sponsored by Valvoline. The details are good, and the visor stripe is accurate too. One thing I noticed is that on the bottom, it states that Roush Racing was, at the time this helmet was made, located in Livonia Michigan. I never knew that. Apparently, the team was originally a small piece of Roush Enterprises, but has since grown into a racing powerhouse.

martin1-1 martin1-2 martin1-3 martin1-4 martin1-5 martin1-6Sports Cover Up released a second set of full-size helmets, which we will discuss next week.

Grading the 2013 All-Star Race

Last week was the All-Star Showdown and the All-Star Race.  These two events are magnets for special paint schemes.  The top two finishers from the Showdown move to the All-Star Race.  I have graded both events, starting with the Showdown.  It is ranked from best to worst.

The Good:

1 David Reutimann #83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry. Great classic design with a great color scheme that gets an A+

2 Travis Kvapil #93 Burger King/ Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry See Above, A+

3 David Gilliland #38 Long John Silvers Ford Fusion Good color scheme, and the basic design used with that scheme on this car just makes it stand out. I’m not a fan of yellow on race cars in most cases, but I’ll overlook it this time because it is just so good. A+

4 Jeff Burton #31 Cat Chevy SS The scheme is solid, has good colors, great number designs and a good pattern used. Final Grade: A

5 Martin Truex Jr. #56 NAPA Toyota Camry Simple, elegant with a great color scheme, great logos and great number design.  Final Grade: A

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford Fusion Lose the design on the doors and it would be perfect. Other than that this scheme is perfect and earns a solid A

7 Mike Bliss #19 Gentry Plastics Inc. Toyota Camry-Good color scheme and simple design work well here, A

8 Terry Labonte #32 Oxy Water Ford Fusion I don’t know why, but I like this scheme. Normally I wouldn’t like the color scheme and basic design but for whatever reason, I like this. A-

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Target Chevy SS Great color, great number design, and the pattern used is a lot more subtle than last year’s scheme. The quarter-panels have too many associate sponsors and looks too cluttered, keeping the Final Grade at a B.

10 Bobby Labonte #47 House Autry House Foods Toyota Camry The design is simple, but good. The color scheme need some work. The red used is too bright, as is the blue. The logo group on the quarter-panel is awful. B-. If the color wasn’t so bright, I could grade it higher.

The So-So

11 Joe Nemechek #87 Royal Teak Toyota Camry Good color scheme, simplistic design, not much to say here, C

12 Landon Cassill #33 Bicycle NASCAR Playing Cards Chevy SS-Decent color scheme, but the design is all over the place, way too chaotic, C-

13 Paul Menard #27 Serta Chevy SS Basically the same scheme as his regular scheme, but different hood logo…nothing really to say here…C-

14 JJ Yeley #36 World TradeX Chevy SS– Not much to say here…other than make the logo bigger. D-

15 Dave Blaney #7 Sany Chevy SS Great color scheme ruined by bad door design and generic racing number design. The design is just disgusting to look at, and it gets a D-

16 Casey Mears #13 Geico Ford Fusion Eww…just eww. The color scheme is dreadful, and the designs on the side are painful to look at. It passed because of the logo and number design. Final Grade: D-

17 David Stremme #30 Lean 1 Toyota Camry The best way I can describe this scheme is that there is nothing good about it. Anything they could have messed up with this scheme, they did. It gets an F

18 Scott Riggs #44 No Label Watches Ford Fusion An awful scheme made much worse by a horrible color scheme that earns an F- grade.

19 Michael McDowell #95 Levine Family Racing Ford Fusion There is nothing right about this scheme. F-

20 Brian Keselowski #52 Toyoa Camry-Eww…Too much going on, with the oversized camo in too many different colors, and the door design which is awful. F-

Now on to the All-Star Race.  Jamie McMurray, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. transferred in from their performances in the Showdown, and Danica Patrick was voted in.  As such, their grades will be mentioned here.

The Good

1 Brad Keselwoski #2 Miller Lite Fan Mosiac Ford Fusion.  It looks really good, and the pictures of the fans give it a condensation on the can effect that is really cool.  A+

2 David Ragan #34 CSX Play It Safe Ford Fusion This is a very solid scheme, with great colors, great design and an overall great look. CSX did this scheme very well and it gets an A+

3 Kyle Bush #18 Snickers Bites Toyota Camry A paint scheme that has a great color scheme, and illustrates the theory that less is more. Nothing bad about this Scheme-A+

4 Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Ford Fusion Pennzoil has an amazing shade of yellow, and they really put it on display in this A+ scheme

5 Jeff Gordon Cromax Pro Chevy SS Another good DuPont inspired scheme with a great color scheme and great design-A+

6 Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Chevy SS Great scheme, nothing wrong, A+

7 Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Cares Chevy SS-The racing stripe makes the scheme look better, and the hood logo is good as well  A

8 Carl Edwards #99 Fastenal Ford Fusion The stripes work well here, and the color scheme is good. A

9 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Best Buy Ford Fusion  The number design, color scheme, and simplistic design give the car a good look. A

10 Kevin Harvick #29 Budweiser/Rheem Chevy SS-Good color scheme, and I like the two different designs on the side.  A-

11 Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry Good color scheme, decent design, could use some work on the front. B+

12 Tony Stewart #14 National Wild Turkey Federation Chevy SS Good color scheme and overall design, but the major issue I have is with the NATIONAL WILD TURKEY being on a curve and not as visible It gets a B-

The So-So

13 Jamie McMurray #1 Bass Pro Shops/NWTF Chevy SS-Great Color Scheme, Awful design, C+

14 Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry The front nose design and stripes are awful. The color scheme is great, but the stripes kill it. The best grade I can give is a C+

15 Greg Biffle #16 3M Filtrete Ford Fusion-Could you please pick a color scheme and stick with it?  Two different color schemes on the same car is just awful. But they are two good color schemes. C-

16 Ryan Newman #39 Aspen Dental Chevy SS-Good colors, but awful design…what does this have to do with teeth?  C-

17 Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Patriotic Chevy SS-Not the best scheme he has run all year, but I would love to see the car in that shade of red on the bottom C-

18 Matt Kenseth #20 Husky Toyota Camry Not much really to say, mediocre color scheme, no real design to comment on, the logos are plain Jane enough, it’s a bland scheme that earns a C grade. A mediocre grade for a mediocre scheme.

The Awful

19 Marcos Ambrose #9 Stanley/DeWalt Ford Fusion  Is it normal to get seasick while looking at a paint scheme?  The Petty Blue just does not work here, and the oval around the letters is pointless.  The car looks awful even though it has a great color scheme and great sponsor logos. D

20 Kurt Busch #78 Furniture Row Military Appreciation Night Chevy SS I love the matte black that Furniture Row usually uses, so this is kind of disappointing. That said, the color are good, but the hood design needs work. The MILITARY APPRECIATION banner is much to small and it is hard to see at speed. A good scheme that has been ruined and earns a D-

Before I leave, I have two more pieces of business.  First off, I would also like to extend congratulations to Tim Flock, Jack Ingram, Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty, and Glen “Fireball” Roberts for being elected to the 2014 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Second off, RIP Dick Trickle.  You will be missed.