A pair of James Buescher race-worn and autographed gloves from 2010 will be our subject this week.
A set of items, a driver suit, arm restraints, 2 sets of goggles, gloves, and shoes worn by 1980’s SCCA driver Jeff Jones will be examined this week.
Since the fire risk in racing is as high as it is, it makes sense that driver uniform includes fire retardant shoes and gloves to go along with it. Although they are frequently overlooked by many fans, they are just as critical to driver safety and comfort as the suit and helmet. Gloves and shoes have, like the suit and helmet, become fashion forward in recent years.
Let’s look at the gloves first. Gloves in racing are typically made of multiple layers of Nomex, and feature a textured layer on the palm, which is designed to help the driver grip the steering wheel. Gloves may be waterproofed for open cockpit racing, where rain and other inclement weather may not impede the race. The gloves give the same amount of protection that the suit does, roughly 30 seconds, and are certified by FIA and SFI. This example, worn by Hut Stricklin in 2000 shows the basics..
As I mentioned above, gloves have evolved to be more visible on in-car cameras. These examples, worn by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson show how these new customizations can take a simple safety equipment item, and add some visual appeal to it. A search on eBay reveals that these items do wind up for sale after they are used.
Next, let’s discuss the shoes.
Shoes are as important as gloves in terms of fire protection. Those 30 seconds of fire protection are critical for the driver to get out of a burning car. The basic design of the shoes are meant to help the driver, well, drive. Some drivers in years past have opted for nontraditional racing shoes, such as Dave Marcus who was well-known for wearing wingtips while racing.
Typical racing shoes consist of a rubber, fire retardant sole, with triple-layer Nomex material covering the foot. The tongue, and shoe laces are fire retardant as well. Velcro straps are frequently employed to secure the shoe as extra protection. Let’s look at a race-worn pair, this pair worn by Scott Riggs in the early 2000’s.
While the design of the gloves are fashion forward, the shoes are more utilitarian than anything else. But they do wind up on eBay sometimes…
Jamie McMurray #1 Bell Helicopters Chevy SS Love the simplicity in the design and color scheme, as well as Bell’s great logo! It is simple, yet elegant, and earns an A grade
Kasey Kahne #5 Farmer’s Insurance 85th Anniversary Chevy SS It’s amazing how a color change can affect a scheme. I graded the standard scheme at a D+ earlier this year, and with the black red and tan color change it takes it from a D+ to an A-. Notice that there is no real difference between the two schemes except the colors and the new one is so much better!
Kevin Harvick #29 Bad Boy Buggies Chevy SS I like this scheme for the same reasons as the Jamie McMurray Bell scheme, and it gets the same A grade!
David Stremme #30 Window Wax 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-
David Stremme #30 Lean 1 Toyota Camry See Above
Landon Cassill #33 Justin Workboots Chevy SS I like the design scheme except for the primary sponsor logo is a completly different color than the rest of the car. The thing is that the two color schemes work very well by themselves, but the combo of the two just makes no sense. It takes an A scheme and brings it down to a C…PICK A COLOR SCHEME!
Many race fans have seen these small patches on driver suits, and may have wondered what they are. What many do not realize is that these small patches have a very critical role in driver safety. These small patches are the safety certification patches. These small patches state that this uniform part has been examined by one of the two groups, and determined to meet the standards set by the group. For North American made equipment that group is SFI.
According to their website, SFI was founded in 1963 as part of Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association or SEMA, as a safety group. Back then, the safety culture wasn’t as rigorous as it is today, and there were not many standards in place. SEMA started the safety certification with SFI or SEMA Foundation, Inc certification. If the equipment didn’t meet SFI standards, the participant could be denied entrance to the event. Eventually, SFI left SEMA and became its own independent group.
Since then, SFI has certified safety equipment, and their certification is the standard in North America. This small patch is usually sewn into the inside wrist area on the left sleeve. This example, from a Terry Labonte suit from 2008, indicates that the suit meets “3.2A/5” standards. According to their site, this certification is standard for driver suits, and this suit would need re-certification in the next 5 years, or 2013. This certification is standard for many NASCAR suits, as shown below.
For suits made internationally, the certification comes from a different group, the FIA Institute. Like SFI, the FIA Institute has the exact same goal, to make sure auto racing is safe, and that the equipment that drivers wear is as safe as possible. Unlike SFI however, FIA certification ends up in one of two places, either on the back of the neck,
or inside the belt,
Moving on to more 2013 paint schemes…
Trevor Bayne #6 Valvoline Ford Mustang Love this scheme! This brings back some fond memories of Mark Martin behind the wheel back in the 1990’s. The color and design scheme are amazing, so it gets an A
Brad Keselowski #22 Hertz Ford Mustang Only Penske can ruin one of the best color schemes with an awful design. Seriously what is the design on the front? It kills this scheme. Final Grade: D
Travis Pastrana #60 Ford Mustang What the Hell? Did Lisa Frank design this car? I’d love to comment on the color scheme, but just looking at the picture is enough! I didn’t think it was possible to make a scheme worse than the Kyle Bush Sponsafier car, but here we are! Final Grade: F’
By the way, I never thought I would reference Lisa Frank in this blog…
Casey Mears #13 Geico Ford Fusion Eww…just eww. The color scheme is dreadfull, and the designs on the side are painful to look at. It passed because of the logo and number design. Final Grade: D-
Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry Great color scheme, and good basic design, but there is something with this car I find annoying. The driver’s name is on the windshield and above the door, so why is it on the top of the hood? Not just on the top of the hood, but UPSIDE DOWN as well? Seriously? It makes no sense, and takes the final grade down to a B