This week, we take a look at some NASCAR replica helmets. Not made for racing, but made for collectors.
This week, we take a look at some NASCAR replica helmets. Not made for racing, but made for collectors.
By David G. Firestone
The focus group of one has had its meetings, and has made its decisions. Here are all 50 teams that ran the Sprint Cup this year ranked first to last on their paint schemes:
#3-Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Simple traditional designs. That is the secret to their success on the leaderboard. Color schemes are great as well. Nothing wrong with these schemes.
#4-Furniture Row Racing #78 When it came down to picking a number 1 for Chevy, for both the Paint Schemie and the Leaderboard, I had to flip a coin to pick a number 1, and Johnson won. Kurt Busch ran a series of very solid schemes, not a lot to comment on and it always looks good.
#5-Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Like Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch on the Chevy side, the Toyota winner for both the Paint Schemie and Leaderboard was decided by a coin flip. More modern than the 55, all these schemes are good, with amazing paint schemes and really good design.
#6-Richard Petty Motorsports #43 This team combines classic and modern looks, and uses Petty Blue very effectively. The Transportation Impact scheme was not good at all, and kept the 43 team out of the top spot. Extra Credit for the Maurice Petty Tribute Scheme.
#7-BK Racing #83 Great designs all around, but the hood needs work. Why is it black when the rest of the car is red?
#9-Penske Racing #12-Though only raced for one race, the SKF design worked very well. A great color and great design scheme. If this had been raced for multiple races, I would have ranked it higher, but it is still a solid scheme.
#12-Richard Petty Motorsports #9 This set earned a place in the top 5 because it improved by a lot over the course of the season. It has a great color scheme, but the early schemes were not great, but since Stanley redesigned their logo, and made some changes to the car, it is a very nice set.
#13-Phoenix Racing/Turner Scott #51 Guy Roofing and Hendrick Cars are hideous, but apart from that, they have run a great set of paint schemes. Bonus points given for the Neil Bonnett throwback scheme.
#15-JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Most of what they ran this year was great, but the Bushes Baked Beans car has an odd overall design, and a weird color scheme. The Clorox scheme has a bad color scheme, as does the Charter scheme, as does the Wounded Warrior Project scheme.
#16-Roush Fenway Racing #17 A pinkwashing scheme as well as the Valvoline NexGen scheme kick Ricky Stenhouse Jr. out of the top spot. Sad thing too, as Ricky had a very solid year when it comes to paint schemes
#18-Penske Racing #2 While I miss the beer colored wheels from last year, Keselowski has had a decent year, the color scheme is great, though there is too much white on the car. The Redd’s Apple Ale scheme was great, but the Fan Mosaic and Patriotic schemes need some work.
#19-Roush Fenway Racing #16 Greg Biffle had a lot of great schemes, but he had a number of awful ones , including a pinkwashing scheme as well. Get rid of the pinkwashing scheme, the Scotchguard, give blood, and Megulars schemes, and he would be in the top 5.
#20-Richard Childress Racing #27 The yellow is too bright, but other than that, the schemes are really good.
#21-Stewart Haas Racing #14 Some of these schemes are good, others not so much.
#26-Front Row Motorsports #38 The template they run works very well when the color scheme matches that of the sponsor. When it doesn’t match, it looks awful.
#27-Front Row Motorsports #35, See above
#29-Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 This team looks better without a primary sponsor than they do with one.
#30-Max Q Motorsports #37 Simple, yet attractive. Would be higher if they ran more races.
#32-Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.
#35-Richard Childress Racing #31 A few good schemes but most of them are mediocre at best.
#36-Hendrick Motorsports #24 See Above
#39-Humphrey Smith Racing #19 Another car that just looks better without a primary sponsor.
#40-Germain Racing #13 Nothing really wrong, but nothing really right with these schemes.
#41-Penske Racing #22 Red and yellow is a really great color scheme, but the design is all wrong. This design gets even worse with the AAA scheme, which has an even better color scheme. The Pennzoil scheme is good, but not good enough to save the set.
#42-Stewart Haas Racing #39 I have to give them credit, their schemes are mostly awful, but at least they are creative.
#44-Phil Parsons Racing# 98 The schemes come in one of two food groups, bland or awful. Great colors, but the designs are horrid.
#45-Levine Family Racing #95 Worst template in NASCAR.
#47-Circle Sport/RCR #33 It amazes me how two different teams can use the same car number, and both can put awful designs on their cars. Special credit for the Honey Nut Cheerios scheme, which is just horrific.
#50-Swan Racing #30/26 Please tell me this is an experiment on how to make the worst paint scheme in history? Is Swan Racing competing with Travis Pastrana for the most obnoxious paint scheme in NASCAR?
By David G. Firestone
The Paint Scheme Leaderboard continues with Toyota today. This has been a stressful series, and it will be even more so next week, when I rank all 50 teams in order from best to worst. Enough complaining, on to the schemes.
#1 Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Simple traditional designs. That is the secret to their success on the leaderboard. Color schemes are great as well. Nothing wrong with these schemes.
#2 Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Like Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch on the Chevy side, the Toyota winner for both the Paint Schemie and Leaderboard was decided by a coin flip. More modern than the 55, all these schemes are good, with amazing paint schemes and really good design.
#3 BK Racing #83 Great designs all around, but the hood needs work. Why is it black when the rest of the car is red?
#6 JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Most of what they ran this year was great, but the Bushes Baked Beans car has an odd overall design, and a weird color scheme. The Clorox scheme has a bad color scheme, as does the Charter scheme, as does the Wounded Warrior Project scheme.
#10 Nemco Racing #87 The word that can best describe this set is dull. Not bad, but not spectacular.
#12 Humphrey Smith Racing #19 Another car that just looks better without a primary sponsor.
#14 Swan Racing #30/26 Please tell me this is an experiment on how to make the worst paint scheme in history? Is Swan Racing competing with Travis Pastrana for the most obnoxious paint scheme in NASCAR?
Next Week, The big finale, all 49 teams ranked from best to worst!
By David Firestone
Today, I thought we should discuss an item that everyone sees, but not everyone understands…the mighty pit board. Pit Boards are an item that most average collector wouldn’t think that would come up for sale, but they do. I am a proud owner of one myself:
This beauty of an item is from MRD Motorsports, and was used between 2007 and 2009 for Chad McCumbee and Blake Bjorklund, amongst others. Made from a thick plastic inside, with the color design made with a plastic similar to many campaign signs, it shows very nice use, with scratches and scuff marks. There are two types of pit boards. One type hangs above the pit lane, to help indicate to the driver where his pit is. This board almost always has the car number and holes cut into it to cut down on wind resistance. This is an example of one used by MRD.
The other type, like the one shown above, is to indicate to the car where to stop in the pit. In years past, a crew member would stand behind the board and the car would drive up to him, as shown at 6:49 at the video here…
Since this was as dangerous as one thinks it is, in the 1990’s, pit crews switched to the “lollipop” form still used today. The board is held on a long pole and held where the driver can see and hit it to stop at their stall, as seen below:
Boards are often customized to driver preference. Kevin Harvick is known for his “Happy Face” pit board. Some drivers use sponsor names, other use car numbers. It all looks confusing on pit road sometimes. In this example, the MRD Motorsports board has the car number design on it. This board shows where the pole was attached to the board.
And now on to Paint Schemes…
Brian Vickers #11 FedEx Delivery Manager Toyota Camry Good simple scheme with great colors and design, gets an A
Sam Hornish Jr. #12 SKF Ford Fusion Good color scheme, but it looks like a cross between Joey Logano’s scheme and Aric Almirola’s schemes. I give it a B+
Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shop Chevy SS The color scheme is good, but the overall design isn’t as good as the regular scheme. Too much going on. The best grade it can earn is a C
Clint Bowyer #15 Toyota Toyota Camry Not much to complain about here, good color scheme and simple design and an A grade
Clint Bowyer #15 KFC I Ate The Bones Toyota Camry KFC has great lettering and a great shade of red, and both are not represented here very well. That said, I don’t hate this scheme, colors are good, but what is with the hood design? The KFC logo is too small, and the hood has some creepy guy with a bowl cut as the most promising feature. All things considered, it earns a C-
Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s M’ Prove America Toyota Camry Good scheme with a great color scheme and good design. Nothing wrong with this solid A scheme.
Kyle Busch #18 Doublemint Gum Toyota Camry Just like Kyle’s scheme on the 18, I love the color scheme, love the simple design, love the fact that the 81 is the 18 backwards, love this scheme, A+
David Ragan #34 Detail Doctor Ford Fusion Decent color scheme and decent design. C-
Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Clorox 100th Anniversary Chevy SS Surprise! Happy Birthday! The blue and white is good but the rest looks too goofy to be good. It looks like a birthday party for a 4 year old. Lose the confetti and streamers and I would like it much more, this scheme earns a D+
Aric Almirola #43 Enrich/Smithfield/Farmland Ford Fusion Lose the design on the doors and it would be perfect. Other than that these three schemes, different only by the hood and quarter panel sponsors are perfect and earn solid A schemes
Aric Almirola #43 Transportation Impact Ford Fusion Black white and lime green? Seriously? And the black front makes it look like the car was in a wreck and had the nose replaced. Not a good look at all. The door design is awful and the quarter panel is even worse! I can’t give this scheme a passing grade and it gets an F!
Aric Almirola #43 Jani-King/STP Gas Booster Ford Fusion This scheme makes up for the Transportation Impact scheme with simple perfection, and an A grade
Aric Almirola #43 STP/Farmland Ford Fusion OK, last Almirola scheme…I promise! A good throwback scheme is ruined with the door number design. Get rid of the oval design and it would get an A, whereas this scheme earns a B-
Scott Riggs #44 No Label Watches Ford Fusion An awful scheme made much worse by a horrible color scheme that earns an F- grade.
Scott Riggs #44 JPO Absorbents Ford Fusion Why do many racing teams have wave designs? It is not a good design, and in this case it takes a good color scheme and ruins it earning a D grade.
Bobby Labonte #47 Clorox 100th Anniversary Toyota Camry Did anyone look at the main color of the car before it was painted? This looks awful! Montoya’s version looks better, but not by much. D-
Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes “Reverse” Chevy SS Looks really good, and really stands out in nighttime racing. Color scheme is good, as Lowe’s often is. A+
Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s “Emerald” Chevy SS Decent color scheme, though if if were reversed it would look even better. Even still it is good enough to earn an A-
Martin Truex Jr. #56 NAPA Brakes Toyota Camry Simple design, good color scheme, but the Twitter handle on the back of the roof is distracting and it looks awful. It takes an A scheme to a B-
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-
Elliot Sadler #81 Double-Mint Gum Toyota Camry Just like Kyle’s scheme on the 18, I love the color scheme, love the simple design, love the fact that the 81 is the 18 backwards, love this scheme, A+
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 National Guard Chevy SS What the hell? The blue and white scheme works well with this design, but camo and black? It just looks awful. I love Dale Jr. but I can’t defend this scheme at all. F-
Scott Speed #95 Tracking Point/JTS Truck Sales Ford Fusion Good color scheme, but awful design. The diamond plate decals does nothing to help, and it earns a D-
Michael McDowell #98 Curb Record/ The Bobby Bones Show Ford Fusion Love the color schemes and design. Bonus points for the diagonal hood logo. Not many people can make the diagonal logo work, but it works here, A+
Carl Edwards #99 Geek Squad Ford Fusion. Not much to say here, really simple design and it looks alright…C+
Carl Edwards #99 Cheez Its/Frosted Flakes Ford Fusion. These two schemes are awful. Too much going on, too many colors, no consistency, not a good pair of schemes at all, F
By David G. Firestone
I would like to discuss some issues that have come up in recent weeks with the new Gen 6 car. These issues seem minor, but with this new car, they need to be addressed. And because these issues are issues, it leads to a conclusion that is kind of stunning in my mind.
Two issues revolve around Denny Hamilin. The first is his $25,000 fine for “criticizing the product.” and I’ll get to that in just a minute. The other one is his massive L1 Compression fracture that he suffered at Fontana. This injury should never have happened, but it did. The Gen 5 cars, as unattractive as they were design-wise, were safety-focused. The discussion on how safe they were ended with Michael McDowell’s scary wreck during qualifying at Texas in 2008. The car suffered serious damage, but McDowell was unhurt. This wreck was just as bad, but Hamlin is out of the car until he is fully healed.
NASCAR needs to be safety-focused, putting driver and fan safety before anything else. The fact that Denny has an L1 compression fracture because of a wreck is proof that there is a lot of room for improvement in the Gen 6 car. That isn’t the only issue with the car that needs to be addressed. The car seems to change with each race. At a super speedway, the spoiler is lower than it is at other tracks. At intermediate tracks the roof cameras are not used for reasons that have yet to be explained to the general public. It almost seems as though NASCAR is making the rules up as they go along. Please pick a design and setup and stick with it.
The other issue that needs to be discussed is penalties surrounding the new car. Denny Hamlin was fined $25,000 for saying that the car has room for improvement. Why was he fined for that? I understand that the car was designed by many different people, who put a lot of time and effort into it, but here is the thing…the people who designed the car are not the ones who are the focal point of racing, the driver is. If the drivers are complaining about the car not being competitive, and not driving the way it is supposed to, it should be addressed. The Gen 4 and Gen 5 cars went through a lot of refining, and so should the Gen 6 car.
One penalty that was issued was to Penske Racing for having suspension parts unapproved by NASCAR. Although all of Ford’s engines come from Roush Yates, many teams use their own designs for equipment used in the car. As such, these parts have to be approved by NASCAR. Obviously these parts weren’t approved. Yet Penske, Brad Keselwoski, and Joey Logano are swearing up and down that they were legal, and working in a gray area. If the parts are unapproved, they are unapproved.
The other major penalty was to Matt Kenseth for having a connector rod that was 3 grams under the minimum weight required by NASCAR. My concern with this issue is that the engine in question came from Toyota Racing Development. TRD knows what the rules and regulations are, and they knew what the parts should have been. I do not believe for a second that of the people involved with making the engine, not one of them knew didn’t realize that the parts were illegal. They knew what it was, and they sent it out anyway. That brings up an important question. 8 teams in the Sprint Cup work with TRD. In total that accounts for 10 different teams. Each team has a primary and backup car. There is also an additional engine at the teams disposal. So for each Toyota team there are 3 engines for use. If Matt Kenseth is running illegal equipment, who else is?
On to paint schemes…
Brad Keselowski #2 Redd’s Apple Ale Ford Fusion Black and Red is always a good scheme, and the overall design is good. The sticking point for me with this scheme is that APPLE ALE is almost invisible on the quarter panel. So for a final grade, it gets a B-
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-
Jeff Gordon #24 AARP Chase Card Chevy SS The color and designs are all over the place, and the giant credit card on the hood is pretty ugly. Not good at all, F
Kevin Harvick Bell Helicopters Chevy SS A simple design with a good color scheme. Not much else to say other than good job, and it gets an A grade.
Jeff Burton #31 Airgas-Bulwark Chevy SS Meh. That sums it up. Uninspired color scheme, and bland design give it a mediocre look and a C- grade.
Jeff Burton #31 American Ethanol Chevy SS Good color scheme and design. A-
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+
JJ Yeley #36 NASCAR Day Chevy SS Another simple yet attractive scheme that works very well. Nothing more to say than great job, and enjoy your A grade.
David Gilliland #38 EZ Pawn Ford Fusion Good color scheme though the design is a bit over complex. As such it gets a B+.
Ryan Newman #39 Code 3 Associates Chevy SS Ok, you can have either flames OR a racing stripe, but not both. Because the combo takes a good design and makes it into a horrible design. The only thing giving this scheme a passing grade is the color scheme being as good as it is, but it earns a D-
Bobby Labonte #47 Pine Sol Toyota Camry Yet another simple yet amazing good scheme that earns an A grade!
Elliot Sadler #81 Alert Energy Gum Toyota Camry A good scheme with a consistent design and a decent color scheme that earns a B+ grade.
Travis Kvapil #93 Dominion Raceway Toyota Camry Am I the only one who thinks it is odd that a speedway that doesn’t exist yet is sponsoring a car for one race? That aside, the door design needs work, but the color scheme is solid, and I give it a B-
When I started this blog, I wanted to appeal to two different groups, racing enthusiasts and collectors. I think that this post should appeal to both groups. The MLB, NFL, and NHL have a product that is very useful, for autographs, and for fans alike…the replica helmet. Replica helmets have been made for the NFL for over 15 years now, and baseball replica helmets date back further than that. NHL minis, although more recent, are becoming a fan favorite…so why not racing replica helmets?
This has been tried before. In the late 1990’s Simpson released a series of ¼ scale mini-helmets. These helmets were reasonably accurate replicas of the real thing, but only 3 inches long. Although the design was good, the product was costly for the time, and very small, which made it very impractical for autographs.
The autograph issue is important because something that mini-helmets in baseball, and football are frequently used for autographs from players. These helmets are half-scale, and are very accurate to the helmets worn by the players. Similar to the football mini-helmet, this half-scale mini-helmet would fit the bill very well.
It is a replica of Elliot Sadler’s M&M’s Bell helmet from 2003-2006. It measures 5 inches in length and is very easy for drivers to sign. A search on ebay reveals that there are minis, but not on a cohesive levels. I think that fans would love to own a mini-helmet of their favorite driver, and buy new ones each season.
To answer the next question, yes there are full-size helmets, but they come in two different food groups. The first are helmets that are clearly replicas, such as this Derrike Cope Friendly’s replica from 2003. This example is clearly a motorcycle helmet, that has Friendly’s decals attached to the. Derrike has autographed the helmet on the right side. It looks good, but it is still clearly a replica.
The other food group in full-size replica helmet is the helmet designed to be as accurate as possible. This example, again an Elliot Sadler M&M’s replica is clearly marked as being a replica and for display. It is actually very accurate, including a ventilation hose attachment on the right side. This type of helmet was common for a while, until the HANS restrictions forced the ventilation attachment to the top. This not only works very well for autographs, but looks really nice on itself. I think that the helmet companies that make driver helmets would be willing to make these helmets for the racing fan base, and I think that the racing fan base would love them as collectables!
Paint Scheme Time!
Clint Boywer #15 Gander Mtn. Toyota Camry Color scheme…good. Car design…ugh. But the thing that really irritates me is that with the gun debate in this country the hood reads “With rights comes responsibility.” Seriously? I thought Michael Waltrip’s Newton scheme at the Daytona 500 was bad, but this is just beyond bad. KEEP POLITICS AND RACING SEPARATE! F– grade!
Jeff Burton #31 Childress Institute Chevy SS The only bad thing I can say about this scheme is that the door numbers are orange. If they were white with orange borders, I would love this scheme. Even so, it earns a C grade.
Joe Nemechek #87 Maddie’s Place Rocks! Toyota Camry They took a good scheme, with good colors and just made it look so much worse! The design is just awful, and the color scheme doesn’t help. It went from a B to a D in one week.
That’s it for this week, except for some April Fools Fun…