Ladies and Gentlemen…THE 2014 PAINT SCHEMIE AWARDS

CIMG1131By David G. Firestone

For the end of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, the Paint Schemies have returned! The Schemies will reveal the best  and worst paint schemes and driver suits of 2014. This was done using the Driver Suit Blog executive committee for paint scheme analysis and consists of me and me alone, and uses the following standards:

Color Scheme:How the colors look, and how they work with each other.

Overall Design:How good the design itself looks, is there too much, or not enough.

Primary Sponsor Logos: How the primary sponsor logos look on the car

Originality: How original is the scheme.

All of the above can work for or against a scheme, and all will be taken into consideration.

Let’s get the bad paint scheme awards out of the way.CIMG1131 - Copy

First, the Paint Schemie Award for Worst Regular Season Single Paint Scheme .

The nominees are:

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS

Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevy SS

Casey Mears #13 Geico Military Chevy SS

Clint Bowyer #15 Duck Commander Toyota Camry

Greg Biffle #16 Hire Our Heroes Ford Fusion

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford Fusion

Parker Kligerman #30 Phoenix Warehouse Toyota Camry

Morgan Shepherd #93 SupportMillitary.org Toyota Camry

Josh Wise #98 Provident Metals Ford Fusion

And the winner of the Paint Schemie Award for Worst Regular Season Single Paint Scheme is…

MORGAN SHEPHERD!

The next Paint Schemie Award is for Exhibition Race Paint Schemes. This category is a little different, as the Schemies will go to the best and worst special scheme that was run in either the Sprint Unlimited, the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint All-Star Race.

The Paint Schemie Award for Worst Exhibition Race Paint Scheme Goes To:

Blake Koch #32 Support Military Ford Fusion!

The paint scheme for worst driver suit goes to…

Joey Logano Auto Trader Ford Fusion

The Schemie for Least Improved Scheme Set from 2013 goes to

Greg Biffle’s #16 Ford Fusion

The next award is for Worst Paint Scheme Set, meaning the team that is running consistently bad schemes all year. The nominees are:

#16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion

#44 Xxxtreme Motorsports Chevy SS

#66 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Camry

The winner of the Award For Worst Scheme Set of 2014 goes to…

Michael Waltrip Racing #66 Toyota Camry!

CIMG1131Now after talking about the bad, we discuss the good. Here are the winners in the best category…

First, the Paint Schemie Award for Best Regular Season Single Paint Scheme.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Hawker Chevy SS

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry

And the winner of the Paint Schemie Award for Best Regular Season Single Paint Scheme is…

JIMMIE JOHNSON!

The next Paint Schemie Award is for Best Exhibition Race Paint Scheme that was run in either the Sprint Unlimited, the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint All-Star Race.

And taking these schemes into consideration, the Paint Scheme Goes To:

Dave Blaney #77 Folcher Law Ford Fusion

The Paint Schemie for Best Driver Suit of 2014 goes to…

JIMMIE JOHNSON!

The Paint Schemie for Most Improved Scheme Set goes to

We have a tie between Swan Racing/BK Racing, and Levine Family Racing, so both win the Schemie!

I will be adding a new category for this year, and it is best throwback scheme. It can be full time or special. The nominees are:

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Terry Labonte #32 C&J Energy Services Ford Fusion

David Ragan #34 Wendell Scott Tribute Ford Fusion

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford Fusion

David Stremme #90 Junie Donlavey Ford Fusion

The winner of the Paint Schemie for Best Throwback Scheme is…

TERRY LABONTE

The final award of 2014 is the Paint Schemie for Best Paint Scheme Set of 2014. The nominees are:

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SS

Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota Camry

The winner of the Paint Schemie is…

TREVOR BAYNE!

That’s all for the best and worst, now I wanted to do something in the way of a top 10 list, but I wanted to do something differnet. I wanted to do the top to logos that have never been the primary sponsor of a Sprint Cup Car, so here they are:

10: Apple

9: American Airlines

8: United Airlines

7: Lockheed

6: Microsoft

5: Bose

4: Boeing

3: Sprite

2: Fanta

1: Wendy’s

Now that’s all for this week, but stay tuned next week as the Paint Scheme Leaderboard Starts, this time with Chevy! See you soon!

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Paint Scheme Grades-November 1, 2014

Just after I posted that there were no 2015 to speak of this week, a bunch of them were released.

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SS-Same design as this year, same A scheme.

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Home Defense Ford Fusion-A totally new paint scheme for next year, and this is actually an A scheme! Color scheme is good, the minimalist design with the red and yellow stripe on the bottom looks good, and again, this is an A scheme.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SS-Same scheme as last year, same D- grade.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kelly Blue Book Chevy SS-Blue has taken over as the primary color. It is a decent scheme, but a bit overdeisgned. Color scheme looks good. B

We also have a couple of 2014 schemes to talk about.

JJ Yeley #83 Zak Toyota Camry-Good simple design with a great color scheme earns an A+

Josh Wise #98 Provident Metals Ford Fusion-Good color scheme, too over designed C-

Two For One! Steve Lorenzen and Miss Winston

winston - CopyBy David G. Firestone

Gonna do a two for one this week. Two suits this week, in a good mood, gonna spread the love. Our first week is my first Stand 21 suit, a 2000-2001 Toyota Atlantic series suit worn by Steve Lorenzen. The Toyota Atlantic Championship was a racing series in Champ Car that ran from 1977 to 1988 as the Formula Atlantic Championship. It then became part of Champ Car from 1989 to 2005, then it became Champ Car Atlantic from 2006-2007. After than from 2008-2009 it was unaffiliated with any major racing series, and is currently on hiatus.lorenzen

This particular suit was worn by driver Steve Lorenzen. Lorenzen raced in the Toyota Atlantic Championship from 2000-2001 for 6 races in total. He did not have any success, and left the series after 2001.lorenzen lorenzenbThe suit shows light use, having been raced for only 6 races, and is FIA certified. The collar has a Stand 21 logo on either side.lorenzen-collar A warranty label is present on the inside of the collar in French and English. lorenzen-tagThe front of the suit has a YOKOHAMA and MCI WORLD COM logo on the right side,lorenzen-rchest and on the left is a TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP logo,lorenzen-lchest and nothing except stripes on the torso.lorenzen-flogo lorenzen-blogo The shoulders have no epaulets,lorenzen-rshoulder lorenzen-lshoulder no logos on the top of the sleeves lorenzen-rsleeve1 lorenzen-lsleeve1and STAND 21 logos on the ends, just below an arm restraint on each sleeve.lorenzen-rsleeve2 lorenzen-lsleeve2

The second item is a jump suit worn by Miss Winston in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.winston Miss Winston was an idea thought up in the 1970’s. The idea was to have a beauty queen with the drivers in Victory Lane after races. The idea died after the Winston Cup turned to the Nextel Cup, but when Sprint took over in 2009, the idea was revived. It is a simple red polyester jumpsuit winston-collarwinston winstonbwith a Winston logo on the chest,winston-logo a white belt, winston-beltstraps on the legs, winston-legsand short short sleeves. winston-lshoulder winston-rshoulderMiss Winston was an idea thought up in the 1970’s. The idea was to have a beauty queen with the drivers in Victory Lane after races. The idea died after the Winston Cup turned to the Nextel Cup, but when Sprint took over in 2009, the idea was revived.

Now we move on to…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS!

Kasey Kahne #5 Design the 5 Chevy SS This is an awful scheme, even by Kasey Kahne standards. I can’t say anything good about it, so I will just give it an F

Greg Biffle #16 3M/W.B. Mason Ford Fusion Another terrible Greg Biffle scheme, another D grade.

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Fan Designed Chevy SS Great scheme, I like the black and gray effect, and the color scheme is good, A+

David Ragan #34 Wendell Scott Tribute Ford Fusion There is nothing wrong with this paint scheme. Color and design are perfect and it earns an A+

David Ragan #34 Plimpton Hills Ford Fusion See above, and you know it’s fall when pumpkin chucking ads start popping up. A+

Kurt Busch #41 Haas CNC 500th Start Chevy SS Kurt is starting his 500th race this week at Dover, and to celebrate, he is running a special paint scheme. The color scheme is decent, it has a gray scale look, but it is somewhat overdesigned. I wish Kurt would have a scheme for his 500th start that is better than a C, but that is how the cookie crumbles.

The End of An Era in Evanston

DSCN0972By David G. Firestone

We all have at least one place that we always remember fondly from our childhood. It could be a restaurant, a park, the home of a close friend, or family member, or a park. We all have at least one, probably many. It is always sad when one of these places goes away. Well this happened to me this last week, when an Evanston institution began the process of moving.

Tom Thumb in Downtown Evanston was a place that I and a number of my friends spent a great deal of our childhood. Some of us were skateboarders, some of us were RC car fanatics, some of us, like me were model builders and die cast collectors. It had been in the same place for 49 years, but they announced that they were going to move after a zoning decision was made to replace the current building with a two-story building for two restaurants. So, on July 12, after 49 years as an Evanston institution, it closed. I went there on the 12, and made, with a heavy heart, my last purchase.photo 2 photo 1This was a sad day because I am a huge NASCAR fan, and for many years, Tom Thumb was the only store in Evanston that sold NASCAR stuff. It was also one of, if not the oldest skate shop in the midwest. I went there, looked around the store where I spend my childhood, took it all in, and bought my last purchase, this 1997 Darrell Waltrip 25th Anniversary set.DSCN0972I bought this for two reasons. The first is that I love this set, I remember many of these schemes from races I watched in 1997. They all look really good, and they bring back memories. The second reason, and I didn’t even think about this until I started doing some work for next week. During my research, I was grumbling about how many different paint schemes each car runs every week, and it dawned on me that this might be the first example of that in the Sprint Cup Series.

You never had this much variety in paint schemes before 1997. Each team ran one scheme for the majority of the season, maybe 2 or 3 different schemes and special schemes for the All-Star race, and possibly the Busch Clash. But Darrell Waltrip ran, in total, 7 different schemes, each based on a specific era in his career. Each had Western Auto Parts America as the primary sponsor, but were based for past sponsors. He started with Gatorade, which he ran for DiGard Motorsports, from 1975-1980. He won two Coca Cola 600’s(1978, 1979) a Winston 500(1977) the Southern 500(1978,1979)as well as 22 other races during that time.DSCN0990In 1981, he left DiGard for Junior Johnson Motorsports, and was sponsored by Mountain Dew, where he won 24 races including the 1982 Winston 500, the 1981 Busch Clash, and two of his three Sprint Cup ChampionshipsDSCN0991Pepsi replaced Mountain Dew and created The Pepsi Challenger which he ran in 1983 for Junior Johnson. He won 6 races for PepsiDSCN0992After Pepsi left, Budweiser took over the sponsorship, and from 1984-1986, he won 13 races, the 1985 Winston Cup Championship, the Inagural All-Star Race in 1985, the 1985 Southern 500, and the Winston 500. I find love how they call it “Red” instead of Budweiser since this was marketed to kids at the time.DSCN0993In 1987, he made the move to Hendrick Motorsports, and picked up Tide as a sponsor. He won the 1989 Daytona 500, The 1988 and 1989 Coca Cola 600’s and 6 other races. I loved that it was identical to the scheme used by Ricky Rudd that same season.DSCN0994From 1990-1997, he raced the #17 for Hendrick Motorsports in 1990, and then founded Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, which raced this scheme from 1990 to 1997. He won 5 races, but was never to get his former glory back. Western Auto left the team after 1997, and Darrell Waltrip Motorsports shut down shortly after the start of the 1998 season.DSCN0995The last scheme is one of the most innovative schemes in the history of NASCAR. His legendary Chrome scheme.  Darrell loved chrome, using chrome numbers, and a chrome helmet.  This was supposed to be used for just a single race, but it was raced a number of times that season. Nothing like this had ever been done in NASCAR before. There had been chrome numbers, but never a chrome car. This car was so far ahead of it’s time.  Darrell even had a Chrome driver suit that he wore with this car!DSCN09961997 would be the beginning of the end for Darrell Waltrip. He shut down his Winston Cup team in 1998, and joined Dale Earnhardt Inc. midway through the season. He would race for just two more seasons before fully retiring in 2000.

The idea of 7 different schemes seems like standard opperating procedure today, but back in 1997, this was revolutionary. This was unheard of. These schemes were all good, and they worked well, but this surprised some fans. 17 years later, this is the norm rather than the exception. If I did the paint scheme reveiws back in 1997, I would write one article at the beginning of the season, one before the all-star race, and maybe one midway through the season. There were no changes to paint scheme, or if there were, they were very rare.

Tom Thumb will reopen eventually. But whavever the new location, it will never have the same feel as the decades old building were it was once housed. I will miss it. I really will. But I find a bit of irony in that I bought the beginning of an era at the end of another era. I will visit Tom Thumb when they reopen, and I wish them the best of luck. From the residents of Evanston to Tom Thumb, we will miss you, and we wish you the best of luck in your new location!

We also have a paint scheme related news item to discuss.  This last week, NASCAR announced that the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup would have some new features on their cars.  Specifically,  all Chase contenders will have a yellow splitter cover, a yellow window stripe with black letters, yellow roof numbers, and a special Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup decal.  I’ve been speculalting that this might come to be, and now I have proof.  I am not going to discuss how I think it will look, until I have a good idea as to who is in the Chase, and how it will look on their cars.  Here is an illustration of how it looks.

With that out of the way, we move on to…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS

Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevy SS Another case where it looks like two different designers created the car without speaking to each other. It looks awful. The color scheme is good, so it passes, though just bearly with a D-

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy SS For a Bass Pro Shops scheme it looks really good. It isn’t over designed, has a nice patriotic touch, and has a good color scheme. A+

Clint Bowyer #15 RK Motors Charlotte Toyota Camry Clint’s C scheme but with an even worse color scheme ends in a D-

Greg Biffle #16 3M Throwback Ford Fusions Greg Biffle is holding a contest to pick a throwback sheme for his race at Pocono in August. I would normally grade all four of these seperatley, however they all have the same traits, so I will grade them at once. All four have really good color schemes, and really nice logos, but they are all plagues with modern car numbers as well as modern designs. They simply look awful. I will vote for none of these schemes and give them all an F-

Trevor Bayne #21 QuickLane Ford Fusion A really good design with a really good color scheme. It works very well, A+

Cole Whitt #26 Scorpion Window Film Toyota Camry Good color scheme, good design, though the silver stripe on the bottom is a bit much. A-

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Splash Chevy SS The Splash logo looks really good, and I’ll give it a B+

Joe Nemechek #29 Toyota Cares Toyota Camry Great color scheme, awful design, they average out to a C-

Morgan Shepherd #33 ThunderCoal Chevy SS I liked the other ThunderCoal scheme, but this is just awful. Too many neon colors, and it is needlessly overdesigned. I give it an F

Alex Kennedy #33 MediaCAST Chevy SS Awful color scheme and way too over designed. F

Landon Cassill #40 Gallery Furniture Chevy SS Great color scheme, great simple design, though the 40 could be brighter. A

Kyle Larson #42 Cottonelle Chevy SS Great color scheme, great design A+

Michael Waltrip #66 Royal Teak Toyota Camry Good color scheme, great simple design, A+

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Worldvision Chevy SS Great color scheme, great design, I love that fade, looks great. A+

Ryan Truex #83 Voodoo/Armed Forces Motorsports Toyota Camry A D+ scheme with a new hood logo is still a D+ scheme.

Michael McDowell #95 JPO Absorbents Ford Fusion Another great Levine Family Racing scheme. It is hard to believe how bad they were last year. Great color and design scheme equals an A+ scheme.

Carl Edwards #99 UPS Ford Fusion They took a D- scheme, and made it worse. Awful color scheme, awful design, F-

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-

 

All-Star Race Weekend Events and Fun

100_3196 By David G. Firestone

With the sad passing of Dick Trickle, as well as the All-Star Race, and the Memorial Day trifecta next week, I decided today I needed a change of pace, and I wouldn’t think about racing or driver suits today. So with my uncle in town, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It’s an amazing museum with a lot of fun things to see and do, and we had a great time.

They have an exhibit that I saw concerning vintage cars, and a number of race cars. They have the winning car from the 1993 Sunrace USA100_3197

A 1924 Marmon race car 100_3194 100_3195

Wally Dallenbach’s car from the 1972 Indy 500 100_3193 100_3192

and Al Unser’s 1978 Lola race car that won the triple crown 100_3190 100_3191

The Spirit Of America, which held the land speed record from August 1963 to October 1964, and still holds the record for world’s longest skid mark is also on display as well.100_3185

There is a new exhibit as well, Science Storms, an impressive state of the art exhibit detailing the science of natural phenomena, and how modern society has to interact with it. It is on two floors in the main gallery. On the second floor, there are displays for physics, magnetism, electricity, and fire among other things. At the end of the balcony, there is a large Tesla coil mounted in the ceiling. Nearby, I was shocked to see this display:IMAG0047That is a Jeff Gordon driver suit, with a similar helmet. 100_3176 100_3175 100_3177 100_3171

A helmet that has been bi-sected to display the fire protection that the helmet100_3180

A helmet used for fire testing, and a Nomex hood.100_3181

A racing helmet and matching goggles from the 1950,s and a 1975 drag racing helmet worn by Dennis Baca100_3182

and some Nomex undergarments and a Sparco bag. 100_3178 100_3179

Now first off, why is the picture of Jeff Gordon from 2011 when the suit is from 2002? I think that it would be better if the picture of Gordon featured him wearing the suit on display. But that’s a minor complaint compared to some of the other issues the display has. The bag in the display clearly states “Jeff Gordon 2003.” So that might lead one to believe that the suit was from 2003. However after doing some research, the suit is from 2002. Looking at a 2003 suit, The Quaker State logo is different, the Lowes logo is gone, and the GMAC and Goodyear logos are in different places. So kudos to the museum for catching that.

The biggest issue is with the helmet cut in half. The sign clearly states “Jeff Gordon’s Helmet, Circa 2002.” Just taking a look at it, and I can clearly tell it’s not race-worn. I can tell for a number of reasons. Let’s start with the obvious fact that the color schemes on the helmet and driver suit are completely different. Second off, there are no ventilation ports or microphone equipment present. Since Gordon was wearing the vent on the left side of his helmet, the fact it is not there is very telling. Considering that DuPont Automotive Finishes paid nearly $12 million total to sponsor Gordon in 2002, his sponsor logos are conspicuously absent, and for a helmet that was supposedly worn for an entire racing season, it seems to be in very VERY good condition, almost new. It should also be noted that there are no HANS anchors present. At first I thought it was because the helmet was not meant to have them, but it turns out they were either supposed to be there, or have been removed. Why this occurred is not clear, but it clearly was NOT worn by Jeff Gordon. In fact, I would be shocked if he ever held this helmet. 100_3180 100_3180 - Copy100_3180 - Copy - Copy

But there is one other issue with this display. The whole display is geared around fire protection, but there is no mention of safety certification. This is not a minor complaint, as the suit has a FIA certification on the back of the neck, but in the display is almost invisible.100_3184

That picture, as bad as it is, is the best I can do, because the side of the display is inaccessible to viewers. If a display discussing fire safety, at least mention that the suit is certified to do just that!

Outside of that display, I had a great time at the Museum of Science and Industry, and I can look past those complaints to say that it is a really nice display that tells viewers a lot about racing safety. So if you are ever in Chicago, stop on over. I promise it is worth the time!

Now on to NASCAR All-Star Showdown Special Schemes…

First the All-Star Showdown Schemes…

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Keselowski #52 Supportmillitary.org 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 All-Star Race Schemes.

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+

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-

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

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

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-