Introduction to Press Kits-1995 Bill Sedgewick Press Kit

Bill Sedgewick raced for one season in the Die Hard Chevy 1500 CKfor the 1996 Craftsman Truck Series for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, and this press kit was issued for that season.

“Press Kit” Does NOT Mean Ironing a Uniform!

By David G. Firestone17-sedgwick-presskit1

Hope you all had a great holiday season, whatever you celebrate. I turned 32 on Thursday, and am celebrating the first year of the The Driver Suit Blog. Ok, enough sappy stuff, on to this week’s column.We’ve discussed photo-matching before, but here is something regarding photo matching that many people don’t know about, using press kits to photo match a suit. Press Kits are defined on Wikipedia as “a prepackaged set of promotional materials of a person, company, or organization distributed to the media for promotional use.” In sports, these are usually distributed to the media, prior to the start of the season, and usually contain information about players, statistics on players, history of the teams, photos, and the occasional gift.

NASCAR teams distribute these to the media before and during the season, and they often find their way into the hands of collectors. These kits are fun to collect, and I enjoy looking at the various driver suits that the drivers are wearing. These have a serious side in the collectors market, as they can easily be used for photo-matching.17-sedgwick-presskit2This is an example of a NASCAR press kit, this one from 1996. Bill Sedgwick was the driver of the #17 Die Hard Chevy C-1500. The team was owned by Darrell Waltrip, who also raced for the team in a number of events. In 1996, he started 23 of the 24 races in the Craftsman Truck Series, and had a decent season, with 3 top 5’s and 8 top 10’s, including a 2nd place finish at Milwaukee. He finished the season in 14th place. During the season, this press kit was distributed to the media. It comes in a custom folder,17-sedgwick-presskit1 17-sedgwick-presskit16and contains race statistics17-sedgwick-presskit4 17-sedgwick-presskit5 17-sedgwick-presskit6 17-sedgwick-presskit7 a driver profile17-sedgwick-presskit9,an owner profile17-sedgwick-presskit10 17-sedgwick-presskit11,sponsor information,17-sedgwick-presskit8technical information, 17-sedgwick-presskit12 17-sedgwick-presskit13 17-sedgwick-presskit14a bumper sticker,17-sedgwick-presskit15and a photo of both Darrell and Bill.17-sedgwick-presskit2I own Sedgwick’s suit from that season, it was the first driver suit I ever bought.17-sedgwick 17-sedgwickb

17-sedgwick-presskit2  17-sedgwick17-sedgwick-presskit2I tried to find a picture of any kind of him wearing the suit, but had no luck, until I found the press kit, and the black and white photo of him wearing the suit. So I bought it and photo matched the suit. Photo-matching, though time-consuming, it is a part of this hobby that is a necessary evil. If you buy a driver suit, helmet, or anything else worn by a driver, finding pictures or video of the driver wearing the suit is crucial to authenticating the suit. Sometimes traditional manners come up empty, and a press kit is the only way. Kits typically run between $5 and $30, so they can be pricy, but the upside to this is that when it works, you have indisputable proof that this suit was worn by the driver in question.

This last year, I took exception with a display at the Museum of Science and Industry concerning an obviously fake helmet that is being passed off as real.  I recently went back there after sending my argument that the sign should be changed.  Last time I went the display had been emptied:100_3811Recently, I went back and went back to the display, and saw this:gh1 - CopyThe display has been restored, and it looks really good except…gh2 - CopyTHE SIGN HASN’T BEEN CHANGED!  I want to love this display, I really do, but I can’t ignore the fact that there is a fake item being represented as real.  I have seen items from museum collections go up for sale to the public, and I have to make sure a fake item doesn’t get misrepresented as real.


Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1 Chevy SS  The color scheme is good, but the design is horrid!  The contrast between the black and the white looks awful.  As much as I want to defend this scheme, I can’t.  F

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shop Chevy SS  Same scheme as last year, same C- grade.  Also, it appears that the last name on the windshield has larger lettering than last year.

Tony Stewart #14 Rush Truck Centers Chevy SS Same Scheme as last year, same A grade

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


They Pay the Bills, So They Design The Suit

By David G. Firestone96-reeves-flogoFrom a design aspect, no other factor contributes as much as the primary sponsor or sponsors of the car. Everything from the colors to the torso design, to the television logos, to the shoulder epaulet and collar design depends on the primary sponsor. While this has been the case for the most part, how the primary sponsor is displayed can vary quite a bit.

Currently, the standard design for a primary sponsor logo is to have a large logo across the front of the lower torso, and on the back on the upper torso. These Christian Fittipaldi designs from 2002-2003 are great examples of that. The Georgia Pacific design from 2002 has a decent sized logo on the front bottom torso, and the same logo higher up on the back torso.45-fittipaldi-flogo 45-fittipaldi-blogoThe Bugles example from 2003 has identical logo placement for the Bugles logo.44-Fittipaldi-flogo 44-Fittipaldi-blogoMany driver suits feature this same logo placement.96-reeves-flogo 96-reeves-blogo 90-stricklin-flogo 90-stricklin-blogo 31-skinner-flogo 31-skinner-blogo 17-sedgwick-flogo 17-sedgwickb-logo 16-musgrave-flogo 16-musgrave-blogo 15-sprague-flogo 15-sprague-blogo 1-lajoie-flogo 1-lajoie-blogo 12-miller-flogo 12-miller-blogo

Taking a look at this Ricky Craven example from 1996, it features a design aspect that was very heavily used. The torso features a plan color, with a stripe across it with the sponsor name on that stripe. Dale Earnhardt Sr. used this design for many years, as did Rusty Wallace, Dick Trickle, and Steve Grissom among others. It is a fairly straightforward design, but it works very well.41-craven-flogo 41-craven-blogoOther suits have the primary sponsor logo present, but the logo is underwhelming. This design is exampled by this Bobby Hillin Jr. Moroso driver suit from 1991,20-hillinThis Lake Speed example from 1997,9-speed

and this Ted Musgrave example from 1998.15-musgrave-lchest 15-musgrave-blogo

In very rare instances, a primary sponsor is excluded from the suit altogether. One example is this Terry Labonte suit I covered earlier this year. That example was made for Terry to wear in a very last minute driver change. Another example is this David Stremme suit from 2009. I covered this issue earlier in the year, but to sum it up, because of a conflict between Verizon, the sponsor of Stremme’s car, and Sprint, the title sponsor of the Sprint Cup race, Verizon was not allowed to have their logos on Stremme’s car and driver suit. As such, Stremme raced a Dodge sponsorship, and wore this suit.12-stremme-flogo 12-stremme-blogoOne of the newer designs that is frequently seen is what I call the leg stripe design. This Kasey Kahne example shows a leg design that has a large white stripe running up the red background, with the DODGE television logo running up the leg. Sponsors can make their logos stand out more with this design, so it is becoming more popular every year.9-kahne-legsThis Scott Wimmer example is from 2002, and is rather unique in this category.23-wimmer-legsIt needs an explanation…The suit was worn for the entire 2002 season, which had a Siemens sponsorship for the first 25 races. After Siemens left the team, Scott Wimmer went on to win 4 of the next 9 races in an unsponsored black car with red and yellow flames…while wearing this suit.

While I get that the team not buying another suit for Wimmer to wear…it just looks weird.

Now this is another suit that needs an explanation. Nort Northam is a Porsche dealer based in Florida. He was a race car driver from 1979-1992, and his career was not great, with no wins, and two podiums. In 1988, he raced in the Sunbank 24 at Daytona, now called the Rolex 24 at Daytona in a Porsche owned by fellow driver Karl Durkheimer.56-Northam 56-Northamb

During that race, he wore this driver suit. It appears on this suit that a sponsor patch has been removed or fallen off. Now to understand the basic design, you need to understand that Nort raced in two races a year, and having a suit custom designed would be a needless expense. As such, his name, and two sponsor patches did the trick. Not fancy, but effective. This late 1980’s SCCA example is also a minimalist design, but it sticks to the “80’s stripe” design as the Ricky Craven example.

The last thing about primary sponsors is that sometimes, primary sponsor designs follow other sports uniform trends. This example from 1998 was worn by Jeremy Mayfield. At that time, gigantic logos across the fronts of uniforms were the big thing, and that was not good. This fad did not last long, thank heavens!

Driver Suit Blog “Wheel Reviews”

Last night, I went to see the movie “Rush” and I have to say, it was really good.  It has been said “you love your rivals, because you need someone to beat.” Nowhere is this more evident than Rush. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Daniel Brühl as Niki Lauda and Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt, Rush is the story of the rivalry between the two, from their days in Formula 3 in 1970, to Formula 1 in the 1970’s. For fans of racing movies, it is a true masterpiece.

The film takes the perspectives of the two drivers. Lauda is represented in the film as a talented driver who is great with setting up a race car. He is a driver who takes what he does very seriously. Hunt on the other hand is more of a playboy. He is a great driver, but his fast and furious lifestyle is a distraction from his true talent. Both are talented, but when Hesketh Racing, Hunt’s team can’t find sponsorship for the upcoming 1976 season, Hunt loses his ride. After his wife leaves for a ski trip, Hunt gets a ride with McLaren after Emerson Fittipaldi leaves to race for his cousin.

In 1976, Hunt struggles for the first part of the year, while Lauda, fresh off his 1975 World Championship is always a factor in the points standings. Hunt’s luck changes at the Spanish Grand Prix, where he beats Lauda, though he is disqualified for his car being less than an inch over regulation. Hunt’s wife divorces him, and driven by this, his season turns around. Though Lauda struggles at this point, the points standings are close coming into the German Grand Prix

The 1976 German Grand Prix was a critical point in this story, as the points battle was heating up. This race was at the the “Old Nürburgring” one of the most difficult tracks in the world. The weather was stormy, which kicks up the danger. Knowing the track as well as he did, Lauda called a meeting of the drivers and stated that the race should be canceled because of the conditions. Hunt thinks it is just a trick to take a race out of the schedule, and the cancellation is voted down. Lauda is seriously hurt in a wreck, and he is hospitalized. Hunt blames himself for the wreck. The story from there is the story of the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship.

The cars in the movie were very accurate, in some cases, vintage equipment was used. The tires used were made by Goodyear, and had the lettering in white as opposed to the yellow lettering that they currently use. The crew uniforms were very accurate as well. The driver uniforms were very well done, as were the helmets. Something that I noticed about them was that I couldn’t see any safety certification visible.

All in all, this is a great movie, and racing fans will enjoy this movie, so I give it an A!

Paint Scheme Reviews

Jamie McMurray #1 Liftmaster Chevy SS Good color scheme and decent desisn add up to an A- grade

Clint Bowyer #15 Raspberry 5-Hour Energy/Living Beyond Breast Cancer Toyota Camry I hate pinkwashing and I hate raspberries, so this gets an automatic F

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry The leaf designs on the bottom of the doors just look odd, and it takes a solid A scheme, to an A-. It does have great overall design and great colors, but the leaves just kill it.

Matt Kenseth #20 Home Depot/Let’s Do This Toyota Camry The overall scheme is great, and has a great color scheme. The problem is that the back end is yellow, which just looks odd when compared to the rest of the car. If the back was black, it would match quite well, but this is just bad. I want to give this scheme a higher grade, but the best I can do is a B-

JJ Yeley #36 Drive Sober Arrive Alive Chevy SS Great color scheme, great colors, and a cause that is easy to support add up to an A+ scheme.

Ryan Newman #39 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SS While I don’t get the silver design at the bottom of the car, this is a great scheme, and gets an A+

Ryan Truex #51 Shooters Sporting Center Chevy SS The yellow outline on the numbers is brutal, and the Shooters Sporting Center logo is just awful. C- is the best I can do.