auto racing · paint scheme tracker

Paint Scheme Tracker-January 16, 2019

By David G. Firestone

STAR COM RACING #00

Landon Cassill #00 StarCom Fiber Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, Yellow, white, black and silver with numerous stripes and designs on sides. D+

CHIP GANASSI RACING #1

Kurt Busch #1 Monster Energy Chevy CamaroNo change. A

TEAM PENSKE #2

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford MustangNo change. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, black with red, white, and silver wave pattern. B+

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Gold Chevy Camaro-New scheme for 2019, gold with black and red stripe on bottom. A

Austin Dillon #3 AAA Chevy CamaroNo change. A

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, black has been removed entierly, white roof, light and dark green waves across sides. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #4

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Ford MustangNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy Johns Ford MustangNew scheme for 2018, similar to 2018 scheme, but with added stripes on sides. A-

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford FusionNew scheme for 2019, black with gray flames. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2019, green sides, white hood and roof, curve designs on sides. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Ford MustangNo change. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #6

Ryan Newman #6 Oscar Meyer Ford FusionNew scheme for 2019, orange with hot dog motif across whole car. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #8

Daniel Hemric #8 Bass Pro Shops/CAT Gold Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2019, same as #3 gold. A

Daniel Hemric #8 Liberty National Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, much more toned down. A

Daniel Hemric #8 Caterpillar Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, yellow front, fades to honeycomb on black rear. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #9

Chase Elliott #9 NAPA Chevy CamaroNo change. B+

Chase Elliott #9 Mountain Dew Chevy CamaroNo change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #10

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield Foods Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, slash patterns have been expanded. A

TEAM PENSKE #12

Ryan Blaney #12 PPG Ford MustangNo change. A

GERMAIN RACING #13

Ty Dillon #13 Twisted Tea Chevy CamaroNo change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #14

Clint Bowyer #14 Peak Ford MustangNew sponsor for 2019, black, and blue with curve elements. C

Clint Bowyer #14 Blue Def Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2018, same as 2019 Peak, but white replaces black. C

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush’s Truck Stops Ford MustangNo change. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fifth-Third Bank Ford MustangNo change. B-

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, black added to sides, along with hourglass design. B-

JOE GIBBS RACING #20

Erik Jones #20 Craftsman Toyota CamryNo change. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24

William Byron #24 Axalta Chevy CamaroNo change. A

William Byron #24 UniFirst Chevy CamaroNo change. B-.

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy CamaroNo change. A

William Byron #24 Hertz Chevy CamaroNo change. A

GO FAS RACING #32

Corey Lajoie #32 Keen Parts/Corvette Parts Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, black with red and silver stripes on sides. B-

Corey LaJoie #32 Schluter Systems Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, orange with black designs. A

RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #43

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Air Force Chevy CamaroNo change. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #48

Jimmie Johnson #48 Ally Financial Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2019, black with blue designs on wheel well. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88

Alex Bowman #88 LLumar Window Film Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, white front and top, orange and red rear, wave pattern in between. C

Alex Bowman #88 Valvoline Chevy CamaroNo change. A

Alex Bowman #88 Nationwide Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, blue hood and roof, white side, blue stripe across bottom. A

LEAVINE FAMILY RACING #95

Matt DiBenedetto #95 Procore Chevy Toyota CamryNo change. F

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auto racing · paint scheme grades

Paint Scheme Grades-January 5, 2019

By David G. Firestone

Landon Cassill #00 StarCom Fiber Chevy Camaro-The new stripe design doesn’t work here, even with a great color scheme. The cluttered design doesn’t look good, and earns a D+.

Kurt Busch #1 Monster Energy Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy Camaro-Get rid of the silver, and this would be a solid A scheme, but with the silver, this scheme gets a B+.

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Gold Chevy Camaro-Metallic gold and black is a great color scheme, and the overall design is great. I can’t say anything bad about this scheme, so I won’t. A

Austin Dillon #3 AAA Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy Johns Ford Mustang-The new stripes are visually distracting, but aren’t as bad as they could be. It’s not a bad scheme, just a step down from last year’s scheme. A-

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion-Black with gray flames is a great look. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang-A good look with a great color scheme will always earn an A.

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Daniel Hemric #8 Bass Pro Shops/CAT Gold Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as #3, same A grade.

Daniel Hemric #8 Liberty National Chevy Camaro-This new toned down scheme is so much better than the overly cluttered design used last year. This is a great design. Add in a good shade of yellow to boot, and you have a great scheme all around. A

Daniel Hemric #8 Caterpillar Chevy Camaro-This scheme is an improvement on the Mini Excavators scheme used last year, and I like this scheme a lot. It has a great design, and a great color scheme, and that will always earn an A.

Chase Elliott #9 NAPA Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.

Chase Elliott #9 Mountain Dew Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield Foods Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, slash patterns have been expanded. A

Ryan Blaney #12 PPG Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush’s Truck Stops Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fifth-Third Bank Ford Mustang-Same scheme as last year, same B- grade.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Mustang-When used with the right color scheme, hourglass designs can work well, this isn’t the right color scheme. It’s not horrible, but this isn’t great. I’ll give it a B-.

William Byron #24 Axalta Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

William Byron #24 UniFirst Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same B- grade.

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

William Byron #24 Hertz Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Corey Lajoie #32 Keen Parts/Corvette Parts Ford Mustang-Keen Parts had a great design last year, but this new design is over done. Add in the pointless addition of black, and an A scheme got take down to a B-.

Corey LaJoie #32 Schluter Systems Ford Mustang-This is a great shade of orange, and the black designs work very well. It’s a great look. A

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Air Force Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Alex Bowman #88 Valvoline Chevy Camaro-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Alex Bowman #88 Nationwide Chevy Camaro-This new scheme is a smooth, simple look, and it has a great color scheme. This gets an A.

Matt DiBenedetto #95 Procore Chevy Toyota Camry-Same scheme as last year, same F grade.

auto racing · paint scheme tracker

Paint Scheme Tracker-January 2, 2019

By David G. Firestone

STAR COM RACING #00

Landon Cassill #00 StarCom Fiber Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, Yellow, white, black and silver with numerous stripes and designs on sides. D+

CHIP GANASSI RACING #1

Kurt Busch #1 Monster Energy Chevy CamaroNo change. A

TEAM PENSKE #2

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford MustangNo change. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, black with red, white, and silver wave pattern. B+

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Gold Chevy Camaro-New scheme for 2019, gold with black and red stripe on bottom. A

Austin Dillon #3 AAA Chevy CamaroNo change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #4

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Ford MustangNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy Johns Ford MustangNew scheme for 2018, similar to 2018 scheme, but with added stripes on sides. A-

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford FusionNew scheme for 2019, black with gray flames. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2019, green sides, white hood and roof, curve designs on sides. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Ford MustangNo change. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #8

Daniel Hemric #8 Bass Pro Shops/CAT Gold Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2019, same as #3 gold. A

Daniel Hemric #8 Liberty National Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, much more toned down. A

Daniel Hemric #8 Caterpillar Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, yellow front, fades to honeycomb on black rear. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #9

Chase Elliott #9 NAPA Chevy CamaroNo change. B+

Chase Elliott #9 Mountain Dew Chevy CamaroNo change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #10

Aric Almirola #10 Smithfield Foods Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, slash patterns have been expanded. A

TEAM PENSKE #12

Ryan Blaney #12 PPG Ford MustangNo change. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #14

Clint Bowyer #14 Peak Ford MustangNew sponsor for 2019, black, and blue with curve elements. C

Clint Bowyer #14 Blue Def Ford Mustang-New sponsor for 2018, same as 2019 Peak, but white replaces black. C

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush’s Truck Stops Ford MustangNo change. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fifth-Third Bank Ford MustangNo change. B-

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, black added to sides, along with hourglass design. B-

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24

William Byron #24 Axalta Chevy CamaroNo change. A

William Byron #24 UniFirst Chevy CamaroNo change. B-.

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy CamaroNo change. A

William Byron #24 Hertz Chevy CamaroNo change. A

GO FAS RACING #32

Corey Lajoie #32 Keen Parts/Corvette Parts Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, black with red and silver stripes on sides. B-

Corey LaJoie #32 Schluter Systems Ford MustangNew scheme for 2019, orange with black designs. A

RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #43

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Air Force Chevy CamaroNo change. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88

Alex Bowman #88 LLumar Window Film Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, white front and top, orange and red rear, wave pattern in between. C

Alex Bowman #88 Valvoline Chevy CamaroNo change. A

Alex Bowman #88 Nationwide Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2019, blue hood and roof, white side, blue stripe across bottom. A

LEAVINE FAMILY RACING #95

Matt DiBenedetto #95 Procore Chevy Toyota CamryNo change. F

auto racing

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.

auto racing

Showing Some Love for the NHRA!

100_3556By David G. Firestone

While the bulk of The Driver Suit Blog is devoted to NASCAR, which, admittedly is my favorite form of auto racing, I do follow other forms of racing, and collect items from many different forms of racing. I am a fan of NHRA drag racing, and I attend races when I can. I have a decent collection of NHRA memorabilia, so this week, I’m gonna show some love for drag racing.

First, let’s get some factual history out of the way. Founded in 1951 by Wally Parks, the National Hot Rod Association or NHRA was created to act as a governing body for the sport of drag racing. Parks had previously founded Motor Trend and Hot Rod magazines, and was a racing enthusiast . The NHRA has 80,000 members, 95% of which are non-professional drivers. While there are hundreds of drag racing classes, The three most popular and well-known are top fuel, funny cars and pro stocks.

Top fuel dragsters are 25 feet long, have the engine mounted behind the driver to provide weight to the rear tires, which are 36 inches high by 17 inches wide. They run on a 90/10 fuel mix, 90% nitromethane and 10% methanol.100_3531Funny cars are designed with a frame, engine, suspension and cockpit with a fiberglass body that raises up to allow access to the car. The name “funny car” came to be because the early models in the 1960’s had the rear wheel base moved forward, and huge rear tires. They didn’t look “stock” so they were called “funny.”100_3545Pro stocks are an interesting design. Whereas top fuel and funny cars use nitro burning supercharged V8’s, by rule, pro stocks can’t use superchargers, turbochargers, or nitrous oxide. They also run on 118 octane racing fuel. Little consideration is given aerodynamically, and the cars can be hard to handle.alderman1

In regards to race-used equipment, I have this timing belt from Bob Tasca’s Motorcraft Funny car, this one used in his first qualifying session at the Ford Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol Tennessee. This run he had a 4.15 second, 306 MPH run. This thing is HUGE, measuring over 64 inches in circumference and 3 inches across.tasca-belt2 tasca-belt1As well as an ignition coil and a spark plug from Morgan Lucas Racing. Ignition coils are used to turn on cars in general, but this MSD 8142 is designed to fire up these 8000 horsepower engines, which need a lot of electricity to start and operate. I was fortunate enough to have Tony Schumacher and Ron Capps autograph it in person.mlr-coil3 mlr-coil6 mlr-coil5 mlr-coil4 mlr-coil1 mlr-coil7 mlr-plug

One thing I wanted was a race-used piston. I recently got one, but it is in two different pieces. The piston rod itself was used and autographed by top fuel driver Bob Vandergriff, and the piston head was used and autographed by Brandon Bernstein, son of drag racing legend Kenny Bernstein. The piston head is 3 inches in diameter, and the piston rod is almost a foot long!vandergriff1 vandergriff2 bernstein-piston1 bernstein-piston2

One of the more oddball items I have is this 1987 Budweiser/NHRA driver suit. Here is what I can say definitively about this suit: It was made in 1987, shows a lot of use, is not safety certified, and shows the Simpson open-wheel tag. Other than that, I don’t know much about this suit and I’m still working on it.budweiser budweiser-lchest budweiser-rchest budweiserb budweiser-blogoNow we move on to die-casts. In my die cast article, I mentioned that I have a 1:32 Cruz Pedregon 1998 die cast from his days with Joe Gibbs Racing.pedregon-1 pedregon-2 pedregon-3 pedregon-4 pedregon-5 pedregon-6 pedregon-7 pedregon-8 pedregon-9 pedregon-11 pedregon-10

During my recent vacation, I found myself at a baseball card store. I bought a bunch of NASCAR die casts, as well as a Darrell Alderman 1:24 pro stock from 1997, where the doors open, and the hood comes off.alderman1 alderman2 alderman3 alderman4 alderman5 alderman6 alderman7 alderman8 alderman9 alderman10 alderman11 alderman12Also from 1997, this Tony Pedregon 1:24 funny car die cast, with a body that is removabletpedregon-1 tpedregon-2 tpedregon-3 tpedregon-4 tpedregon-5 tpedregon-6 tpedregon-7 tpedregon-8 tpedregon-9 tpedregon-10 tpedregon-11My personal favorite die cast is this Bob Vandergriff 1:24 top fuel die cast.vandergriff-1 vandergriff-2 vandergriff-3

Now we move from NHRA to NASCAR with…

PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna Chevy SS  Not the worst patriotic scheme I have seen, but it it a bit overdone.  Giving it a C+

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

Danica Patrick # 10 GoDaddy Chevy SS  I didn’t think this was possible, but they took one of the ugliest schemes in racing and found a way to make it worse…the hood speaks for itself, and it says “I’m getting an F-!”

Greg Biffle 3M Window Film Ford Fusion What in the blue Hell is going on here?  This is the worst Greg Biffle scheme I have seen this year and considering how bad his schemes have been that is saying a lot.  F-

Travis Kvapil #32 Keen Parts Ford Fusion  Awful color scheme, and the goofy pyscadelic side design just looks awful.  I’m also laughing at corvetteparts.net painted on the side of a FORD!  F-

David Ragan #34 KFC Ford Fusion  Great color choice, smooth look, great all around design, I will give them an A+

Landon Cassill #40 Atlantic Plumbing and Utilities Chevy SS  Good color scheme, and the simple yet attractive design works well.  A

Kurt Busch #41 Haas Made in America Chevy SS  When it comes to patriotic schemes, it is hit or miss, and this is a hit.  The stars and stripes look good, and the overall design is solid enough to earn an A.

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

Before I go I need to cover an update to a story I discussed last week.  I had discussed Swan Racing going under due to lack of sponsorship.  I did not get a chance to discuss that Swan Racing has gone under, but the two cars, #26 and #30 have found new homes.  BK Racing is now the new home for the #26, and XXXtreme Motorsports is home for the #30, though it will change to #44, and keep the current owner points.  It is always sad when a team has to close, but at least the equipment did not go to waste.  Sadly, Parker Kligerman is now out of a ride for the foreseeable future.