Grading the 2014 All-Star Race & How Far We Have Come In the Last 50 Years…

headerBy David G. Firestone.

The 2014 Sprint All Star race is behind us, and as usual, there were a myriad of different paint schemes.  Some were good, others not so much, but I have to say there were a lot of great schemes in this year’s race.  Let’s start with the Sprint Showdown.  Unlike in previous years, The Showdown took place on Friday, and the All-Star Race was on Saturday.  The Showdown was a great event, which saw Clint Bowyer winning, AJ Allmendinger finishing second, and in the upset of the year, Josh Wise winning the Sprint Fan vote, and advancing to the All Star Race.  Let’s get to the grades:

#1 Josh Wise #98 DogeCoin Ford Fusion Such colors! Much design! So good! A+

#2 Dave Blaney #77 Amy R. Fochler Ford Fusion I think that this is the first time a lawyer has sponsored a Cup car, and it is a great design. A+

#3 Ryan Truex #83 Burger King Toyota Camry Great simple design, and I love the Borla Exhaust design adds a unique look. A+

#4 David Stremme #33 Little Joe’s Autos Chevy SS Simple design, great color scheme A+

#5 Landon Cassill #40 Hillman Racing Chevy SS Silver is a very attractive color on race cars, and this is a perfect example. A+

#6 Aric Almirola #43 Farmland Ford Fusion Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

#7 AJ Allmendinger #47 Freightliner/Sullivan Palatek Chevy SS Classic look, good color scheme, A+

#8 Reed Sorenson #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy SS Simple design, great color scheme A+

#9 Alex Bowman #23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry Like the silver, and the design scheme is very good. A

#10 Cole Whitt #26 Speed Stick Gear Toyota Camry This is one of the few schemes that has both a classic and modern look at the same time, and paired with a great color scheme, it earns an A

#11 Marcos Ambrose #9 DeWalt/Stanley Ford Fusion Though a tad over designed, the car has a clean look, and a great color scheme, so I will give it an A-

#12 David Gilliland #38 Loves Truck Stops Ford Fusion Good color scheme, decent design, A-

#13 Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS While I like the color scheme and number and logo designs, the white stripe up the side kills the look. It takes an A scheme to a B+ scheme.

#14 Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SS The scheme looks decent, I like the red 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-

#15 Paul Menard #27 Menards/Serta Chevy SS Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade

#16 Michael Annett #7 Pilot/Flying J Chevy SS Good color scheme, but the awful template is back for Tommy Baldwin. It is really sad, because this could be a great scheme, but the template takes it from an A to a C-

#17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Building For America’s Bravest Ford Fusion Much too overdesigned, and another example of why camoflage on race cars NEVER WORKS! The only thing keeping this design above water is a great color scheme. C-

#18 Joe Nemechek #66 Land Castle Title Toyota Camry If the bottom was a single color stripe, I would give it very high marks, but the over design makes it look awful. C-

#19 JJ Yeley #44 Phoenix Warehouse Chevy SS My first thought when I saw this scheme was it looked like the color scheme from the 1994-1995 NBA All-Star Game jerseys which is a decent color scheme. But to say the car is overdesigned is an understatement. This scheme is awful. Not even a great color scheme can help this car pass. F

#20 Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Cares Chevy SS Same scheme but with a bunch of logos on the hood, instead of just one. F

#21 Casey Mears #13 Geico Chevy SS Once again, it needs to be said…CAMO DOES NOT WORK ON RACE CARS! I’l give this an F!

#22 Clint Bowyer #15 Charter Toyota Camry Clint’s already bad paint scheme with an even worse color scheme…F

#23 Blake Koch #32 Supportmillitary.org Ford Fusion No redeeming features whatsoever. F-

Now we move on to the All-Star Race, which saw Jamie McMurray pull an upset and take the win, thus guaranteeing him entry into the event for the next 10 years.  Overall there were a lot of great schemes, though I wish more teams would run special schemes.

#1 Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion Best Throwback scheme of the last 5 years  A+

#2 Josh Wise #98 DogeCoin Ford Fusion Such colors! Much design! So good! A+

#3 Marin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Chevy SS Nothing wrong with this scheme at all.  A+

#4 Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry Great color and design schemes. A+

#5 David Ragan #34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion Overall design and color schemes are good, and the only complaint is that the Taco Bell logo should be in color as opposed to black and white.  A+

#6 Kurt Busch #41 Haas Chevy SS Great design and color scheme, A+

#7 AJ Allmendinger #47 Freightliner/Sullivan Palatek Chevy SS Classic look, good color scheme, A+

#8 Brian Vickers #55 Aarons Toyota Camry A good scheme, and the 55 lettering looks really good here, and the gold is a nice touch. A

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

#10 Jamie McMurray #1 Bass Pro Shops/National Wild Turkey Federation Chevy SS As Bass Pro Shops schemes go this year, this one is really good. Good color scheme, good design scheme, no camo, A

#11 Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS Great overall design, great color scheme, though the D on the hood reversed to miror the curves of the hood looks odd.  Still it’s a good scheme and Ill give it an A

#12 Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Chevy SS The new metallic numbers work, and the overall design is decent, since it incorporates the design used on the numbers.  I’ll give it an B+

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

#14 Kevin Harvick #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy SS  It’s a bit overdesigned, but the green looks good(I hate most shades of green used in NASCAR) and it earns a C

#15 Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SS It is a good color scheme, but the design on the side needs a little tweaking. Get rid of the needless zig-zag pattern and it works a whole lot better. It is still a decent scheme, so I will give it a C

#16 Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shop/Mobil 1 Chevy SS This is just brutal to look at. The orange and camo contrast is hideous, and the overall design is overdone. C-

#17 Matt Kenseth #20 Home Depot/Huskey Toyota Camry I would give this scheme an A grade, but the yellow back bumper ruins it.  The clash between the two just works awkward, and it takes an A scheme down to a C

#18 Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion Red and yellow is a really great color scheme, but the design is all wrong. It just looks awful. D

#19 Ryan Newman #31 Cat/Quicken Loans Chevy SS What in the blue hell is going on here? I’ve liked Ryan’s schemes this year but this is an F scheme, even though I like the color scheme.

#20 Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Patriotic Chevy SS Only one word can sum up this scheme…overdesigned. F

#21 Clint Bowyer #15 Charter Toyota Camry Clint’s already bad paint scheme with an even worse color scheme…F

#22 Greg Biffle#16 3M Ford Fusion-The sides and roof have gotten worse from last year.  I have to give it an F in that respect.

Also, check this video out concerning how different pit stops in open wheel racing were between 1950 and today:

The video shows how far we have come in pit stops, but we also have come a long way in driver uniforms.

By David G. Firestone

50 years ago this week, events over the course of 6 days in May of 1964 changed the culture, cars, and uniforms of auto racing forever. Three deaths in two races over those six days demonstrated that current safety methods were ineffective at best, and 3 talented drivers lost their lives. The 1964 World 600 and the 1964 Indianapolis 500 helped introduce reenforced fuel tanks and Nomex driver suits, among other things. 50 years later, those events are still being felt

The World 600 began in the early afternoon on May 24, 1964. For the first six laps, it was business as usual, but on lap 7, on the backstretch, Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett wrecked, and Glenn “Fireball” Roberts swerved to avoid them, and wrecked. He was trapped in the car by the pedals, and his car caught fire. Ned Jarrett ran and pulled Roberts from the car, and paramedics took him to the hospital. 39 days after the wreck, while still in the hospital from his injuries, he died from pneumonia.

NASCAR had rules concerning “fire retardant” uniforms but these were inadequate at best. These uniforms were cotton coveralls traditionally used by workmen that had been dipped in a number of fire retardant materials including Borax. These were not only ineffective, but were extremely uncomfortable to wear. They were known for inflaming the skin, and aggravating asthma. Fireball was not wearing these coveralls during that race, because he had a doctor’s note stating he should not wear them. There is some debate over what the doctor’s note was for, either for asthma or skin hives. It llustrates why these uniforms were not popular, they were so uncomfortable to wear that drivers did not want to wear them.

6 days later, on May 30, the 48th Indianapolis 500 was held. Dave MacDonald started 14th, and Eddie Sachs started 17th when the green flag dropped. MacDonald was racing a car built by racing innovator Mickey Thompson, which by all accounts was badly built and difficult to drive. The first lap led into the second, which saw Dave MacDonald lose control of his car and smash into the inside wall. The fuel tank instantly ignited and the car went across the track, and collected a number of other cars, including Eddie Sachs car, which also exploded on impact. Sachs was killed by the impact, but MacDonald was seriously burned, and his lungs were scorched, the lung damage proved to be fatal.

Inspired by these events, the Nomex firesuit was introduced in 1967 as a replacement for the cotton coveralls dipped in chemicals. It was a lot more comfortable and safer than chemical-dipped cotton, so drivers were more willing to wear them. Like most new safety equipment in sports, it took a while to catch on. Nomex was created in 1967, for NASA. Its main use at the time was for the Apollo Command Module parachutes. NASA needed a material that could stand up to the heat of reentering the earth’s atmosphere, and still remain fully functional.

Bill Simpson is credited with introducing Nomex to driver suits. The story goes that Simpson started making Nomex suits after learning about the material from astronaut Pete Conrad while Simpson was working as a consultant for NASA. One of the pivital moments in the history of the suit was when Simpson had heard that a competitor had been badmouthing his products, and so, in something he said later was “the dumbest thing I have ever done,” challenged the competitor to a “burn off.” Simpson put on his suit and lit himself on fire. He later recreated this for a Mazda commercial.

Why did it take so long to make critical changes to driver uniforms? The events that took place in 1964 were tragic, and it clearly illustrated why the old system didn’t work. The only change made immediately after the events was the rule that fire retardant suits were now mandatory, regardless of how it made the driver feel. In today’s sports safety culture, there would be focus groups, meetings within the sanctioning body, and changes within a few months after the event. But by 1964 standards, just rigidly enforcing the rule was the best course of action. Remember that in 1964 race car drivers were seen as somewhat expendable. Driver deaths in racing were stunningly common back then. As such, while there was a need for improvement, it was not a priority for sanctioning bodies. The sad fact is that back then, driver deaths were part of the allure of racing. People would go to these events and hope to see a fatal crash, as crass as that sounds. As for the suits themselves, the only other options besides chemical dipped cotton was aluminized cotton or aluminized kevlar, which was not more comfortable, as it was like wearing aluminum foil.

So what did these pre-Nomex driver suits look like? They looked like this. This is a driver suit made by Hinchman in Indianapolis. It is basically a polyester suit that is customized to the driver’s preference. It is not all that different than a jumpsuit that one would wear to work. It is a very flimsy material, has no cuffs on the arms or legs, and, most amazingly, the tag states that the suit is “Untreated, will burn, must be dipped.” This suit was worn circa 1972, which is indicated by the “Archie Bunker for President” patch sewn into the chest. Like any new safety technology in sports, it takes time for it to become the standard, and for Nomex, this is no exception.

This race, along with the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2001 Daytona 500 have their legacies written in death, but unlike other similar events, the lessons they had to teach were learned, and the racing world as a whole is better for them. The deaths in these events were not in vain, and others are alive because of them. 50 years later, those 6 days in May 1964 are still having an impact on racing.

Thoughts On A Bad Situation

By David G. Firestone

I was ready to present a behind the scenes video this week, but I’m gonna put that on the back burner until next week. Last Saturday was the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, an IndyCar race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race as a whole was fun, but it did have some issues. There was a huge wreck on the standing start, fortunately all were Ok. The same cannot be said for James Hinchcliffe.

The 2011 Rookie of The Year suffered a concussion when he was hit by a piece of flying debris. Watching it live, it looked like after he had gotten hit, he pulled off the track and he was stunned by what had happened. The report was, at the time, that he had hurt his hand. The race went on, no caution flag flew because the safety crew was able to get the car out of harms way quickly. It looked like everything was normal, then suddenly the camera shows Hinchcliffe on a stretcher being led away seemingly in distress. He was loaded onto an ambulance, and was taken to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a concussion and his future status for the season is yet to be determined.

This incident reminded me of something Tony Schumacher said last year. I was in his hospitality tent listening to him make a speech, and he took a number of questions. One of them concerned the canopy he has over his cockpit. He stated that it took some time to convince the NHRA to allow a cockpit canopy. He stated that he is really scared of hitting a bird with his helmet, stating that “I’ve taken a few out with my tail, and if you catch one of those with your helmet, you’re getting coloring books for Christmas for the rest of your life.”

I’m wondering if in the near future canopies will come to IndyCar. With the current safety culture in racing, I’m kind of shocked it hasn’t yet. Racing fans will complain that it breaks tradition, but at the same time, nobody wants another Dan Wheldon. Fans do not want to watch a driver to die. I think that canopies will come to IndyCar, I want them to come to IndyCar, and I think that safety should take precedence over tradition.

The other factor that needs to be discussed is that there is a parallel to the recent concussion lawsuit filed with the NFL. The information that was gained from that suit was that no helmet can definitely prevent all head injuries. As such, a canopy could very well prevent a fatality in that respect. Give the driver an extra layer of protection so that he could walk away. These canopies are not plexiglass, they are the same exact material used to make F-16 bulletproof canopies. It is a very durable material that could have prevented what happened to Hinchcliffe.

Shifting gears now, I want to discuss something else. Starting in a couple of weeks, I will be restarting Wheel Reviews. I started with Rush, an amazing F1 movie by Ron Howard about James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the 1976 F1 season. So what I am going to do is to alternate the paint scheme reviews and Wheel Reviews. I’ve got 13 movies in total to review so far, and I hope to find some more. With that, we move on to…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!

Jamie McMurray #1 Bass Pro Shops/National Wild Turkey Federation Chevy SS As Bass Pro Shops schemes go this year, this one is really good. Good color scheme, good design scheme, no camo, A

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Cares Chevy SS Same scheme but with a bunch of logos on the hood, instead of just one. F

Casey Mears #13 Geico Chevy SS Once again, it needs to be said…CAMO DOES NOT WORK ON RACE CARS! I’l give this an F!

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS Some patriotic schemes go too far, but this works. The stripe across the front and door takes an A grade down to a B-

Clint Bowyer #15 Charter Toyota Camry Clint’s already bad paint scheme with an even worse color scheme…F

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford Fusion much too overdesigned, the blue stripes look awful, and the yellow door number is hideous…F

Ryan Newman #31 Cat/Quicken Loans Chevy SS What in the blue hell is going on here? I’ve liked Ryan’s schemes this year but this is an F scheme, even though I like the color scheme.

Landon Cassill #40 Cars For Sale Chevy SS I like the design, but to be honest, I don’t know where I stand on the color scheme. The red is good, but the when it comes to yellow/green I’m not sure if I like it or hate it. I’ll give it a C

Aric Almirola #43 US Air Force Ford Fusion I’ve been tough on military schemes this year, but this is the best one! The dark blue sky theme, with two small fighters with light clouds works perfectly, and earns an A+. See, military schemes CAN be done well without camo.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Freightliner/Sullivan Palatek Chevy SS Classic look, good color scheme, A+

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Patriotic Chevy SS Only one word can sum up this scheme…overdesigned. F

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row/Colorado Freedom Memorial Chevy SS Nothing wrong with this scheme! A+

Ryan Truex #83 Burger King Toyota Camry Great simple design, and I love the Borla Exhaust design adds a unique look. A+

Paint Scheme Grades, Some F1 News and Clarification of a Term

By David G. Firestone

I have been neglecting the Paint Scheme grades for the last few weeks, so after this brief post, we will focus on those this week.  I want to clarify a term that I use regularly.  I use the word “overdesigned” and what it basically means is that the paint scheme has design for design sake.  The scheme has design that serves no real purpose, and was just added needlessly.  Most things we own are, to a certain extent, over designed, mainly to prevent damage from regular use.  But when a car uses needless design in a paint scheme, more often than not, it looks awful.

The other news items I wanted to get to are from Formula 1.  I’m not an F1 fan per se, but I felt that these deserved some time on the DSB.  First there was a major shift in how cars are numbered in F1.  It used to be that were ever the driver finished in the previous season is what his car number was.  Now the change has been made and instead it is that the drivers pick a number and then use that for their entire careers.  Sky Sports covered the driver’s number choices in full, and I’m now a Daniel Ricardo fan!  The 2014 F1 helmet designs have been released and the designs speak for themselves.  This last item is about the man who is in charge of painting Lewis Hamilton’s Silver Arrow for the German-based Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team, my favorite team appearance wise in F1.  Now we move on to…

Paint Scheme Reviews

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SS For many years, green was considered an unlucky color in auto racing. That said, this is a decent scheme. The green used is very good, and the overall design is good. The green around the vent on the side is needless, but this scheme still works. A-

Austin Dillon #3 Bad Boy Buggies/Realtree Chevy SS I’m seriously considering giving any camo paint scheme an automatic F because not one that I have seen in the last 5 years looks good at all. This scheme is just awful. The white/camo scheme is hideous and I’m embarrassed to have to grade it. F

Greg Biffle #16 Red Cross Give Blood/3M Ford Fusion One of Greg’s best schemes he has ever run. I can’t say anything bad. It has a simple yet attractive design, and a great color scheme. A+

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Zest Ford Fusion Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same B Grade

Jeff Gordon #24 Texas A&M Engineering Chevy SS Decent color scheme, but the side design is odd. It has a little too much design. The crooked Texas A&M logo looks odd here too. Still it is a decent design and earns a C+

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Quaker State Chevy SS Quaker State has a great shade of green, and it should be the dominant color of the car. The yellow base with green accents looks awkward. I’ll give it a C

Parker Kligerman #30 Swan Racing Toyota Camry Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Parker Kligerman #30 Swan Racing Toyota Camry Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

Travis Kvapil #32 Ask More Get More Ford Fusion Yellow, white and black is a great color scheme. Overall design is great and the car has a great look to it. A+

Travis Kvapil #32 Ask More Get More Ford Fusion Two different schemes in two weeks is unusual and for whatever reason, the new car was a bit over designed. It still has a decent look and earns a B+

Timmy Hill #33 Circle Sport Chevy SS Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

David Ragan #34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion Overall design and color schemes are good, and the only complaint is that the Taco Bell logo should be in color as opposed to black and white.  A+

David Ragan #34 Dockside Logistics Ford Fusion  The car looks great, with a great color scheme and great design scheme…A+

David Ragan #34 Farm Rich Ford Fusion  Good color scheme and I love the rolling hills effect…A+

Reed Sorenson #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy SS Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

David Gilliland #38 Long John Silvers Ford Fusion Great design, great color scheme, great look, A+

Landon Cassill #40 Nabi Tablet Chevy SS Good color scheme, but the the car, like the Nabi Tablet is overdesigned, and earns a C

Landon Cassill #40 CRC Industries / K&W FiberLock Chevy SS A very simple design, though the yellowish-green is unattractive. If the green was darker it would work better. C+

Kyle Larson #42 Clorox Chevy SS AJ Allemdinger has a good Clorox scheme, this is an awful scheme . Why did they choose that shade of yellow instead of white? I can’t give this a passing grade. F

Aric Almirola #43 Farmland Ford Fusion Simple design and a great color scheme earns an A+

JJ Yeley #44 Phoenix Warehouse Chevy SS My first thought when I saw this scheme was it looked like the color scheme from the 1994-1995 NBA All-Star Game jerseys which is a decent color scheme. But to say the car is overdesigned is an understatement. This scheme is awful. Not even a great color scheme can help this car pass. F

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Grilling Beans Chevy SS  Great color scheme and a simple design earns an A+

Justin Allgaier #51 SEM Chevy SS Simple design, great color scheme, looks great, A+

Brian Vickers #55 Xarelto Toytoa Camry Good simple design with a great color scheme earns an A.

Jeff Burton #66 Toyota Toyota Camry The stripe down the side is much too big, and the hood design looks odd. The color scheme is good, but the overall design is a D+

Joe Nemechek #87 SmartBen Toyota Camry Simple design, great color scheme, looks great, A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevy SS The black and green color scheme is good, and the side is a bit overdeisgned. If the green stripes were scaled back, it would work better. It is work a B- grade.

Michael McDowell #95 WRL Contractors Ford Fusion Levine Family Racing continues to get back into my good graces with another A scheme with great design and a great color scheme.

Carl Edwards #99 Kelloggs/Cheez Its Ford Fusion Too many colors, and the car is overdesigned. F

MOMO and Christian Fittipaldi…A Match Made In Heaven

44-fittipaldiBy David G. Firestone

These last few weeks have been hell in Chicago weather-wise.  I have been under the weather myself, but this week, I wanted to touch on something that I covered in depth last year. After watching the Rolex 24 at Daytona, I learned that MOMO is celebrating its 50 anniversary this year. I first learned about MOMO when I covered Christian Fittipaldi’s Driver Suits back at the beginning of the blog. MOMO is one of the more ubiquitous racing safety companies in racing.sccatrack-blogo

MOMO is short for “Moretti-Monza” which is Giampiero Moretti’s last name and Monza, a town in the Province of Milan. Giampiero Moretti was a driver who won the 1998 24 Hours of Daytona. He created a company specifically to make racing products. MOMO has gradually expanded over the years, and is now involved heavily in almost all forms of auto racing.

One thing I have noticed is that MOMO steering wheels are used very heavily in NASCAR. Whenever there are in-car cameras, there is always one located near the ignition behind the steering wheel, and almost every one of them has a MOMO logo on them. They are also very involved in F1, and IndyCar racing in terms of parts. When the best and most recognizable teams in the biggest forms of auto racing all use the same group for their parts, it proves that MOMO is the best in what they do.

I also mention Christian Fittipaldi because he won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in an Action Express Coyote Corvette DP. This is his second win, his first one coming in 2004 in a Bell Motorsports Doran JE4-Pontiac. As covered earlier in the year, I own two Christian Fittipaldi MOMO driver suits. In all honesty, these two suits were my first introduction to MOMO as a brand. MOMO however has a large presence in auto racing.fittipaldiIn the SCCA Miami Grand Prix, these suits were issued to track workers. MOMO stated that these would be fireproofed for one race only. It feels like an old school chemical dipped suit, but I have no proof of that. It does not appear to have been worn, but it probably is not fireproof any more though. sccatrack sccatrackb2014 is the 50th anniversary of what I’m going to call “The dark week,” May 24-30 1964 when the World 600 and Indy 500 took place. Three drivers were killed by fire, which changed the safety culture of racing forever. I will cover that issue in depth later in the season.

Paint Scheme Reviews

Marcos Ambrose #9 Stanley Ford Fusion Though a tad over designed, the car does has a clean look, and a great color scheme, so I will give it an A-

Marcos Ambros3 #9 DeWalt Ford Fusion See Above

Kyle Busch #18 Skittles Toyota Camry When I first heard about Skittles returning to NASCAR, I thought it would look like this or this, so naturally I was worried, but I like this simple and attractive design. A+

Kyle Busch #18 Peanut M&M’s Toyota Camry Decent scheme, good color scheme, A-

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toyota Camry My major complaint was the black and silver stripes on the sides were too big and promenent. They solved that issue this season, and the car looks better. In fact, I’ll give it a B!

Jeff Gordon #24 AXALTA Chevy SS Classic Jeff Gordon design, and I like the blue on the flames, and the black flames on the back. A+

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Richmond Chevy SS Love this scheme, great design and color scheme, A+

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Serta Chevy SS Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade

Eric McClure #35 Hefty/Arm and Hammer Ford Fusion Good color scheme, but the car looks over deisgned and it doesn’t look good at all. D+

Kurt Busch #41 Haas Chevy SS Great design and color scheme, A+

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SS Kurt is running a really good template this year, and this is another example. The condensation design is overdone, and it takes an A scheme down to a B-, otherwise it is a great design.

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford Fusion This is one of my favorite schemes this year! A classic design, with great colors and a great look earns an A+

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger/USO Chevy SS Though the scheme is the same as last year, JTG Daugherty Racing has switched from Toyota to Chevy this season. That being said, I like this scheme, and I will give it an A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bushes Baked Beans Chevy SS Simple design, great color scheme, A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kingsford Chevy SS See Above

AJ Allmendinger #47 Scotts Chevy SS See Above

AJ Allmendinger #47 Clorox Chevy SS See Above

AJ Allmendinger #47 Charter Communication Chevy SS I like the overall design, but that is an awful shade of green. Green is not a great color for a race car, neither is yellow, so yellowish-green definitly doesn’t work. I’ll be generous and give it a C-

Joe Nemechek #66 Land Castle Title Toyota Camry If the bottom was a single color stripe, I would give it very high marks, but the over design makes it look awful. C-

Michael McDowell #95 K-Love Ford Fusion Not only is McDowell and Levine Family Racing running a better template this year, the K-Love scheme actually improves on it. I can’t give this scheme anything lower than an A

Carl Edwards #99 Subway Ford Fusion A bad design from last year, earns a D-

The First Question…Where Do You Buy This Stuff?

By David G. Firestone100_2479 100_3147

I discuss the various aspects of race-worn and race used collectibles on this blog, and in researching something, I had received a suggestion that sounded like a great idea. The idea that was posed was “You may want to mention where people can actually buy these suits as well.” So I think I will.

The most obvious place to purchase race-worn and race-used items is eBay. Now this is not as simple as it might sound. In the Sports Memorabilia, Cards and Fan Shop section, entering the term “Suit”is a good place to start. Entering the term “driver” can be a mixed bag, and the term “firesuit” as well as “driver suit” work well. If that is not to your liking, search “driver suitfiresuit” “driver firesuit” “NASCAR uniform” “racing uniform” or “driver uniform” in the Any Categories setting.

Another, less likely place on eBay is the Safety Equipment section on eBay motors. Reason being that not all race-worn driver suits end up in collections, many of them are recycled and sold to racers who need a quality firesuit but do not have the resources to spend the thousands needed for a customized one. In fact, many auctions that are geared towards collectors also mention the size in case the suit is bought by a racer.

I have a couple of sellers that I buy from on a regular basis. One of my favorites is Just For Fun Collectibles. They have an amazing selection, and some of the best prices for stuff I have ever seen. I have bought a lot from them, and I always enjoy buying from them. The other seller I buy from regularly is Race Image. Both are based in North Carolina, and Race Image buys regularly from race teams, and resells the items both on their site and on eBay. Like Just For Fun, I have bought a lot from them, and I always enjoy buying from them.  Raceusedrescued is another great seller, who has a whole lot of NASCAR stuff.

Using legitimate auction sites can be iffy, not as many people are into race-worn and race-used memorabilia, as are into baseball, or football. But one place that regularly sells race-worn material is Paragon Auctions. They have had a lot of race-worn driver suits for sale in their auctions. Other groups, such as Heritage Auctions and American Memorabilia both have had a lot of suits sell through their auctions.

But with all the places to buy items, doing the research before you buy is critical. That is why I started The Driver Suit Blog, to give collectors the resources and information that they need to do the hobby, and do it right. I’m not someone who just buys these because they look nice, throw them in a closet, and never think about them. I look at them, admire them, and I understand how much work went into designing them. I love this hobby, and I fully support it, and I want to help collectors advance in this hobby in any way I can. That is why I put the time and effort I do into this blog.

Next week, I will announce the 2013 Driver Suit Blog Paint Schemie Awards. The Schemies are a series of awards given out for paint schemes in the Sprint Cup series. For every category, there are two awards given, First and Worst. First awards are given to the best schemes of the year, and worst…well that is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?

Tailgating Time!

I took my chili recipe I previously mentioned, and  changed the recipe slightly.

You will need:
2 pounds beef chorizo sausage
1 onions, chopped
1 (7 ounce) can diced tomatoes-drained
1 (7 ounce) cans smoked chipotle salsa
1 (12 ounce) can kidney beans-drained
1 cup water
Chili powder and garlic powder to taste
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the chorizo and onion and saute until meat is browned and onion is tender. Add the diced tomatoes, smoked chipotle salsa,beans and water.
Season with the chili powder, and garlic powder to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Paint Scheme Reviews

First we start with 2014 schemes…

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Retro Ford Fusion This scheme is perfect. There is nothing that can be done to improve it. A+

Marcos Ambrose #9 Twisted Tea Ford Fusion A good color scheme is in play here. I like the shades of yellow, green and blue used here. The overall design works well with the color scheme, and I will give it an A.

Now on to 2013 schemes…

Jamie McMurray #1 Lexar Chevy SS  Decent color scheme, and if you get rid of the flash drives at the bottom, it would be an A scheme.  This scheme is good, and earns a B+

Dave Blaney #7 Ultra Wheels Chevy SS This is the first time that this car actually looks good…provided you get rid of that door number. B+

Clint Bowyer #15 5-Hour Energy Sour Apple Toyota Camry Another example of why camouflage does NOT work on race cars. What does camouflage have to do with sour apples? This scheme does not work, and it gets an F

Greg Biffle #16 Scotch Ford Fusion  Eww…the green design clashes with the red, and the plaid design is atrocious.  F

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 RFR Driven Chevy SS  Ricky has run a lot of great schemes this year, and this scheme is not an exception.  Great color and simple design earns this scheme an A.

Ryan Newman #39 Quicken Loans-Salute to Veterans Day Chevy SS This scheme is a bit more complex in the grade that I gave it, and requires some explanation.  This scheme features pictures of United States Military Veterans on the side as a tribute to them.  They have earned a place on the car, and have earned the respect as a nation, and an A+++ grade.

Landon Cassill #40 Pirate Oilfield Chevy SS Looks good, great color scheme, simple design, A+

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Target Camouflage Chevy SS Camo just doesn’t work for race cars, an this is no exception. While they did try to keep the red, it just looks awful, and I’ll give it an F

Bobby Labonte #47 Wounded Warrior Project Toyota Camry Camo doesn’t ever look good on a race car, and this is another example. It looks better than this though…

Kyle Larson #51 Visit Dallas Chevy SS I love color scheme, and I love the skyline on the hood. I’m disappointed that the skyline isn’t on the side of the car, it would look good on the door, but it is still a solid A scheme.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Breast Cancer Awareness Chevy SS Pinkwashing is an automatic F grade.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Amp Gold Chevy SS Not a bad color scheme, though the dot design does not look good at all. I’ll be generous and give it a B-