Commemorative Patches…and Why I HATE Them!

301650thanniversarylogoBy David G. Firestone

Derek Jeter has had his  number retired. Several teams this year have various anniversaries they are celebrating.  All of them are wearing commemorative patches on their uniforms.  Why is this important to The Driver Suit Blog? Because too much salt will ruin the soup.  What does that mean, well, I saw that Jeter was wearing a patch to commemorate his upcoming retirement, and, well it got me thinking, and I’d like to talk about this issue, which has been getting on my nerves for a while. Sports uniforms in 2014 are designed to move merchandise, and this is the case in racing. I can’t begin to put the blame for this on NASCAR, so I won’t. But I do think that what happened in 1998 is a perfect example of why it doesn’t really work.

In 1998, NASCAR turned 50. In 1948, Bill France Sr. saw the potential for a unified stock car racing series, so at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, a series of meetings took place. France was in charge of the National Championship Stock Car Circuit or NCSSC, which was founded in 1947, but when the AAA refused to fund the series, France had to make do. Fonty Flock would win the 1947 NCSSC Championship. In December, the meetings took place at the Streamline, and the Series was supposed to be renamed the National Stock Car Racing Association, or NSCRA, but that name was used by a rival organization, so on December 14, 1947, the name NASCAR or National Association of Stock Car Racing Association. NASCAR itself was founded on February 21, 1948.

On February 15, 1998, almost 50 years to that day, the 1998 racing season began in great style with Dale Earnhardt Sr. winning the Daytona 500. NASCAR as a whole celebrated the anniversary in grand style, with NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers being named, and the sports history was celebrated. For an event like this, you need a good logo for it, so this design was utilized to commemorate the 1998 season.301650thanniversarylogoI vividly remember seeing this patch in Winston Cup Illustrated before the season start, and I can remember thinking “I am going to get so sick of seeing this patch by season’s end.” Well I was sick of it, and that was long before the end of the season. NASCAR smeared this patch on everything. Every NASCAR telecast had this logo. Anything and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, sold by NASCAR in 1998 had this logo. Not even the iconic Barbie doll was immune from this plague. You couldn’t turn around in 1998 without seeing this logo. NASCAR wanted it that way. They used this logo to sell merchandise. That was the whole line of reasoning. This logo will sell merchandise, yes we are thrilled to be 50, but really they just want to move merch.

Every driver suit had this patch somewhere, as this Ted Musgrave example from that season shows.15-musgrave-lsleeve1 Decals would up on helmets as well. grissom-1NASCAR used this to move merchandise, but it was so overused in telecasts and car designs, that I intentionally didn’t buy that much NASCAR stuff during that time. I could not wait for the season to end, and I didn’t have to look at that logo again.  Sports uniforms as a whole are using more of these patches to sell merchandise, and frankly it’s now completely out of control.  Sports jerseys retail about $100 on the low end, and these patches are used to sell more of them.   Is a logo like that really worth shelling out $100 for a new jersey, or shirt, or jacket?  I’m gonna say no.

After the 1998 season, the logo did go away, but not before another major issue with these types of logos come up. When these logos are being used, merchandise sells. When the season ends, and a new season begins, the logos aren’t selling as much, and the retailers who sell merchandise have a lot of this stuff that they have to put on sale to move it. This is not a small issue for retailers, as many of them are mom and pop stores whose profit margins are razor thin enough. In many instances, these items will be sold at a loss to make room for new merchandise.  People will say that these are “collector’s items” but prices on eBay would lead me to believe that this is not the case.  They make money for a short time, and lose money in the long term.  This has become the case in general with commemorative logos on merchandise.

If this logo had been used on merchandise, but hadn’t been used in the telecasts as much as it was, I would be willing to work with it a bit more, but even in 2014, 16 years after the fact, my hatred for this logo is still with me. Words can’t say how much I hate seeing this logo again.  What I’m about to say next might seem odd, but it is the truth…I don’t think it’s a bad logo. In fact, I think it’s a good logo, but I was so sick of seeing it, that I hate it.  When you as a fan would watch a 3 hour long race, and had to see this logo in the corner while the race was on, and at every commercial break, it got really old, really fast.

It’s a problem with sports uniforms that’s endemic. It started with anniversaries, and moved on to number retirements, old stadiums closing, new stadiums opening, announcers retiring, players about to retire, and even anniversaries of tragic events. It has gotten out of hand. It moves merchandise in the short term, which is good, but too much salt will ruin the soup every time. Commemorative patches need to be toned down…way down.

Editor’s Note, we are now in October, and now starts the Pinktober, Pinkwashing, call it whatever you want, but for the next month, sports teams across the country will be using pink on uniforms and equipment to raise money for in support of breast cancer. Much of this does not go to serious research, but to more “feel good” charities that don’t really help. Toward that end, all pinkwashing schemes will earn an automatic F. If someone is bold enough to try pinkwashing and camo, it will earn them a one rank loss on the Paint Scheme Leaderboard, and automatic disqualification for the best paint scheme set in the Schemies.

First, we have some 2015 Schemes…

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SS It has a good color scheme, and while it’s overdesigned, it still looks better than the current scheme. I’ll give it a C+

Ty Dillon #33 Yuengling Brewery Chevy SS I love the faded glory design, I think it works well, and I’ll give it an A+

Now onto the 2014 schemes…

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Monopoly Chevy SS Overall design is good, I like the color scheme, and it is a great looking car, A+

Michael Annett #7 Cypress Chevy SS Overdesigned and has a goofy color scheme earns an F every time.

Clint Bowyer #15 Five Hour Energy Pink Lemonade Toyota Camry Pinkwashing earns an automatic F.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Cargill Beef Ford Fusion I like the black flames on the blue background, but the orange and white stripes take away from it. It kills a great look with a great color scheme, and takes it from an A to a B-

Timmy Hill #32 US Chrome Ford Fusion Great simple design with a great color scheme earns an A+

Josh Wise #98 Vapor Station Ford Fusion Good design, good color scheme, A+

Getting the Belt…Not Always a Bad Thing!

By David G. Firestone

One aspect of driver suits that has become a target for new customizations in the last 15-17 years is the belt. For many years, the belt was unadorned, or had a very small logo. Belts are a comfort feature, and typically made of the same material that the suit itself is made out of, with the same amount of layers and has a Velcro closure on it. Belts may incorporate a border made with an alternate color, to help it stand out.

Belts had no design or decoration on them for many years, as examined by this Ted Musgrave example from 1995,16-musgrave-beltthis Ricky Craven example from 1996,41-craven-beltand many more.barber-belt nunn-belt petty-belt 17-sedgwick-belt 9-speed-belt But it was around that time, that something began to happen. Looking at the Ted Musgrave suit from 1995, his name is embroidered into the left-chest area.16-musgrave-lshoulderIn 1998, this had changed so that his name is embroidered into the belt.15-musgrave-beltThis was popular in F1 and IndyCar for many years, and is still the way that names are presented on the driver suit.25-wallace-belt 23-wimmer-belt 12-stremme-belt 10-labonte-belt 15-sprague-belt 31-skinner-belt 36-said-belt1 90-stricklin-belt 96-reeves-belt Other examples, such as this Randy Lajoie example circa 1999-2000 will have a sponsor logo embroidered into the belt.1-lajoie-BELTKasey Kahne wore this suit in 2005 at an event, and it has a GOODYEAR logo on the front, and when the belt is opened, on the inside, the FIA certification is present here. 9-kahne-belt 9-kahne-fiaFormula 1 and IndyCar have a unique quirk to the design. Since the drivers come from all over the world, the flag from the driver’s home country is sewn into the belt, such as this Alex Barron example from 1998:36-barron-beltNot all belts are created equal. Christian Fittipaldi didn’t wear belts on two of his NASCAR suits. The first one, comes from 2002, while he was sponsored by Georgia Pacific, and instead of the belt, he just has his name sewn into the suit.45-fittipaldi-beltThis Christian Fittipaldi example from 2003 features no belt, and no name.44-fittipaldi-beltThis Nate Northam example from the 1988 Sunbank 24 at Daytona, now the Rolex 24 at Daytona, features a belt that is specifically designed to be removed.56-Northam-beltMany NASCAR action figures will feature the belt designs on them, and many of these figures are pretty accurate, but I think I’ll save that for another blog.

Tailgating Time!

Just for fun, I’ve decided to add a recipe that can easily be made while tailgating at the track. This is my recipe for beer-broiled brats. This works well in the fall, during the Chase, on a cooler day.

You will need:

1 6-pack of beer

1 16oz jar of sauerkraut

½ sliced onion

garlic salt and butter to taste

12 plain, uncooked bratwurst

Take the 6 pack, and pour it into a large pan. Place the pan on the grill or stove, and add 1/4 the jar of sauerkraut, the onions, salt and butter, and finally the brats. Bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes.

Tip-Do NOT cut or puncture the brats in any way, the casing keeps the juice, and taste in the brats. For more flavor, let soak after cooking. DO NOT OVERBOIL THE BRATS, that is the best way to ruin them.

While the brats are boiling, prepare a grill. Gas or charcoal works either way. After boiling is done, remove from the liquid, and place on the hot grill, and cook 5 minutes per side. Brats are made from pork, and under-cooking them can be hazardous, You want to watch the race from the stands, not a hospital room.  Here is a video visualizing the process…

After grilling the brats, toast the buns on the grill for 20 seconds, place the brats in the buns, and serve. For sides, I would recommend some mustard potato salad, some potato or tortilla chips, and, of course, plenty of ice-cold beer!

This recipe will rock your tailgating party at the next race, and I will post more simple recipes for tailgating in the near future.

Paint Scheme Reviews

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s/Monopoly Chevy SS The simple design is good, but the color scheme needs a lot of work. Beige does NOT work on race cars, and this is a perfect example. The Rich Uncle Pennybags(or Mr Monopoly) wearing sunglasses is not very attractive either, so I can give this scheme a C at best.

Kasey Kahne #5 Pepsi Max Chevy SS Are you kidding me? Is it too much to ask to pick a design scheme? You can have a cutting edge purple design which works, OR a matte black design that works, BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE BOTH! The purple, red and black design is good, but the design scheme is just horrible. Even with a good color scheme, this earns an F

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil1 Chevy SS Ok, now THIS is a great scheme! Simple design, great color scheme, great design all over, A+

Tony Stewart #14 Go Daddy Chevy SS This is, without a doubt, the best Go Daddy scheme EVER! Great simple design, amazing color scheme, and black works much better than yellow or green. A+

Clint Boyer #15 Peak/Duck Dynasty Toyota Camry Oh man, where do I start here? The color scheme would work without the baby blue stripe, the hunting camo roof is just awful, and the overall design just looks forced. This car looks like a bad photoshop job…F

Greg Biffle #16 3MSafety Ford Fusion The contrast between the white and black parts of the car would normally not work, but because it is a safety themed car, and safety coveralls are typically white or black with an orange and silver stripe on them to increase visibility, this scheme makes sense. The colors are good, and I give this scheme an A

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Peanut Butter Toyota Camry I ranked Kyles regular M&M’s scheme as an A+, and this scheme somehow improves on it. The orange background works even better than the regular scheme. I have to give this scheme an A+

Trevor Bayne #21 Motorcraft/Henry Ford Ford Fusion This is a solid scheme, I like the Henry Ford design. The black, white and gold scheme works very well, and it is an A scheme

Austin Dillon #33 Mycogen Seeds Chevy SS Meh. I like the color scheme, but the front to back arch is overdone, and the is unoriginal at best. I will give it a C

Ron Fellows #33 Canadian Tire Chevy SS Grey red and black can be tough to work with sometimes, but this scheme works very well. The red flames work well, and the otherwise basic design is very attractive. A

Victor Gonzalez Jr. #36 Mobil 1/IMCA Chevy SS This was a late entry into the race in Sonoma, Gonzalez is a “road course ringer” so there was not much time to design and decal a car, but that said, this is a great simple scheme, no pointless design, and a great color scheme. A+

Ryan Newman #39 Quicken Loans/Smurfs 2 Chevy SS Again, as with Kasey Kahne above, PICK A DESIGN SCHEME! You can either have a red and black scheme, or a red and white scheme, BUT NOT BOTH! It looks like someone designed a Smurf scheme, quickly realized that it needed to carry a Quicken Loans design as well, and tried to make a hybrid of the two, which is just awful, and earns an F

Landon Cassill #40 Interstate Moving Company Chevy SS Good color scheme, kinda reminds me of United Airlines back in the day, and a really simple smooth design. Good scheme and earns an A

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Depends Chevy SS Is this a good look? Depends! Joking aside, this is not a very good scheme, the green logo works, but the black and grey scheme is awful.

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Axe Apollo Chevy SS The Apollo Astronaut design is unique. It works very well, and although the design is convulted, it is very attractive. The color scheme works well and this scheme earns an A

Juan Pablo Montoya #42 Energizer Chevy SS From the wheel well forward it is a great scheme. From the driver door backward it is awful. Whatever look they were going for, they missed. It just looks horrible. Great colors, but awful design, D

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Helping Hungry Homes Ford Fusion A patriotic scheme, mixed with Petty Blue, that is not overdesigned. Giving this scheme an A is not going far enough to describe how good it is.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes/Disney’s Planes Chevy SS While I like the color scheme and basic design, the hood logo is awful. The door number has a black outline, and it is very visible, but the hood logo which does not have a black outline is next to invisible, which defeats the purpose of having a logo on the car in the first place. That said, it is still a good design, and I will be generous and give it a B.

Paulie Harraka #52 HASA Pool Products Ford Fusion I like matte black, and the hood logo and basic color scheme are good. The smaller logos on the quarter panel are hard to see, but it gives the car a smaller, short track look. A

David Reutimann #83 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry Dr Pepper has a great color scheme and great designs on their packaging, and this is reflected in this paint scheme. It works very well, and is a great complement to a bottle of Dr. Pepper. A

Tomi Drissi #87 The Wolverine Toyota Camry Many movie paint schemes don’t work, but this is not most movie paint schemes. It is simple, has a great color scheme, and has a great design, and earns an A

Travis Kvapil #93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry A design based on Diet Dr. Pepper, again a design faithful to the packaging, that works very well. Everything that I said about the Reutimann scheme above applies here, and this scheme earns an A

Travis Kvapil #83 Burger King Rib Sandwich Toyota Camry BK Racing has a lot of great schemes this year, and this is another one. Great color scheme, great overall design, and I like what they did with the rib sandwich. I’m not a “Rib-wich”guy, but I like this, and give it an A.