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.Funny 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.”Pro 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.
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. As 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.
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!
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. Now 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.
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. Also from 1997, this Tony Pedregon 1:24 funny car die cast, with a body that is removable My personal favorite die cast is this Bob Vandergriff 1:24 top fuel die cast.
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.