MOMO and Christian Fittipaldi…A Match Made In Heaven

44-fittipaldiBy David G. Firestone

These last few weeks have been hell in Chicago weather-wise.  I have been under the weather myself, but this week, I wanted to touch on something that I covered in depth last year. After watching the Rolex 24 at Daytona, I learned that MOMO is celebrating its 50 anniversary this year. I first learned about MOMO when I covered Christian Fittipaldi’s Driver Suits back at the beginning of the blog. MOMO is one of the more ubiquitous racing safety companies in racing.sccatrack-blogo

MOMO is short for “Moretti-Monza” which is Giampiero Moretti’s last name and Monza, a town in the Province of Milan. Giampiero Moretti was a driver who won the 1998 24 Hours of Daytona. He created a company specifically to make racing products. MOMO has gradually expanded over the years, and is now involved heavily in almost all forms of auto racing.

One thing I have noticed is that MOMO steering wheels are used very heavily in NASCAR. Whenever there are in-car cameras, there is always one located near the ignition behind the steering wheel, and almost every one of them has a MOMO logo on them. They are also very involved in F1, and IndyCar racing in terms of parts. When the best and most recognizable teams in the biggest forms of auto racing all use the same group for their parts, it proves that MOMO is the best in what they do.

I also mention Christian Fittipaldi because he won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in an Action Express Coyote Corvette DP. This is his second win, his first one coming in 2004 in a Bell Motorsports Doran JE4-Pontiac. As covered earlier in the year, I own two Christian Fittipaldi MOMO driver suits. In all honesty, these two suits were my first introduction to MOMO as a brand. MOMO however has a large presence in auto racing.fittipaldiIn the SCCA Miami Grand Prix, these suits were issued to track workers. MOMO stated that these would be fireproofed for one race only. It feels like an old school chemical dipped suit, but I have no proof of that. It does not appear to have been worn, but it probably is not fireproof any more though. sccatrack sccatrackb2014 is the 50th anniversary of what I’m going to call “The dark week,” May 24-30 1964 when the World 600 and Indy 500 took place. Three drivers were killed by fire, which changed the safety culture of racing forever. I will cover that issue in depth later in the season.

Paint Scheme Reviews

Marcos Ambrose #9 Stanley Ford Fusion Though a tad over designed, the car does has a clean look, and a great color scheme, so I will give it an A-

Marcos Ambros3 #9 DeWalt Ford Fusion See Above

Kyle Busch #18 Skittles Toyota Camry When I first heard about Skittles returning to NASCAR, I thought it would look like this or this, so naturally I was worried, but I like this simple and attractive design. A+

Kyle Busch #18 Peanut M&M’s Toyota Camry Decent scheme, good color scheme, A-

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toyota Camry My major complaint was the black and silver stripes on the sides were too big and promenent. They solved that issue this season, and the car looks better. In fact, I’ll give it a B!

Jeff Gordon #24 AXALTA Chevy SS Classic Jeff Gordon design, and I like the blue on the flames, and the black flames on the back. A+

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Richmond Chevy SS Love this scheme, great design and color scheme, A+

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Serta Chevy SS Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade

Eric McClure #35 Hefty/Arm and Hammer Ford Fusion Good color scheme, but the car looks over deisgned and it doesn’t look good at all. D+

Kurt Busch #41 Haas Chevy SS Great design and color scheme, A+

Kurt Busch #41 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SS Kurt is running a really good template this year, and this is another example. The condensation design is overdone, and it takes an A scheme down to a B-, otherwise it is a great design.

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford Fusion This is one of my favorite schemes this year! A classic design, with great colors and a great look earns an A+

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger/USO Chevy SS Though the scheme is the same as last year, JTG Daugherty Racing has switched from Toyota to Chevy this season. That being said, I like this scheme, and I will give it an A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bushes Baked Beans Chevy SS Simple design, great color scheme, A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kingsford Chevy SS See Above

AJ Allmendinger #47 Scotts Chevy SS See Above

AJ Allmendinger #47 Clorox Chevy SS See Above

AJ Allmendinger #47 Charter Communication Chevy SS I like the overall design, but that is an awful shade of green. Green is not a great color for a race car, neither is yellow, so yellowish-green definitly doesn’t work. I’ll be generous and give it a C-

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-

Michael McDowell #95 K-Love Ford Fusion Not only is McDowell and Levine Family Racing running a better template this year, the K-Love scheme actually improves on it. I can’t give this scheme anything lower than an A

Carl Edwards #99 Subway Ford Fusion A bad design from last year, earns a D-

The Goal of All Drivers in Racing…

trophiesBy David G. Firestone

I’m going to do things a little bit differently this week.  This week’s article will be done in conjunction with another article I am writing for my other blog., both are about the same subject, trophies, but this article will be on racing trophies, whereas the other article will be on other trophies.  Let’s get started.

For this week, we will focus on collecting trophies. Drivers race for two things, the love of the sport, and to win. Climbing out of the car in victory lane feels good, and being presented a trophy for winning feels even better. Interestingly, trophies and awards from NASCAR and other racing series are frequently finding their way into private collections, such as mine. It might seem odd that trophies make their way into private collections, but there are a myriad of reasons for this.

One reason for this is that after their racing career ends, drivers will sometimes need to make some money, and will sell them. Other times, they are sold to raise money for charity. Sometimes it is because they need more space. After a driver passes away, the family will sell off the trophies, because they don’t have the same meaning to the rest of the family. In any event, these artifacts are unique items to collect, and are as unique as the drivers who won them.

Drivers have been awarded everything from surfboards, wine bottles, and guitars, to grandfather clocks, and gas pumps. The grandfather clock is given out to winners at Martinsville was started in 1964. The story goes that track founder Henry Clay Earles was talking with Curtis Turner, and in the course of conversation, Turner mentioned he did not have the room for trophies, and had to give some away, so he decided to award a trophy with a legitimate function, and as luck would have it, Ridgeway Clocks had a factory 3 miles away from the track. Earles gave the first grandfather clock to Fred Lorenzen when he won the 1964 Old Dominion 500, and the rest is history.

Interestingly, giving trophies that had everyday functions is a lot more common than most people realize. This example is a silver footed tray.onteroa-trophy1 It is 21 inches long, and 17.5 inches wide. It looks as though it could have been used for a tea service or as a serving tray for food at a party.onteroa-trophy2 onteroa-trophy3 It was awarded to the winner of the Oilzum Motor Oil Trophy Race at Onteora Speedway in Olive New York. onteroa-trophy4The name of the winner, and when the race was run has been lost to history. onteroa-trophy5It has some scratches across the front, but for a trophy as old as it is, it is still in very good condition.

Award and function combine again in this 4 inch tall silver mug given to the winner of something called the SCCA Rallye on December 1, 1957. It has not fared as well as the tray, showing rust spots and discoloration.ralleyecup1 ralleyecup2 ralleyecup3 ralleyecup4 ralleyecup5 ralleyecup6

Then again, there is something to be said for the traditional trophy. One driver who had a lot of them is Ernie Derr. Derr raced in IMCA or the International Motor Contest Association, which was founded in 1915, and is the oldest active auto racing sanctioning body in the United States. Derr has more victories and championships in IMCA than anyone else, having won a total of 328 wins and a staggering 12 IMCA championships. STP sponsored him for a number of years, and awarded him this STP Handicap trophy. Derr-1It is 11 inches tall, with a winged wheel design, and a vintage STP logo decal, which is peeling off. Though the mirrored background around the STP decal is discolored, it is still in decent condition, though I have not been able to figure out what the STP Handicap is.Derr-2 Derr-3 Derr-4Races are won and lost on pit road, and having a great crew chief is key to winning. Pit crews are given trophies for helping their team win. Buddy Parrot was a NASCAR crew chief for 34 years, and helped Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, and Rusty Wallace. In 1996, he joined Roush Racing, as crew chief for Jeff Burton. Burton did not win a race in 1996, but Parrott was awarded this 1996 RCA Pit Strategy award.parrott1 It is a Plexiglass hexagon, over a foot tall, and 3 inches wide, some of the lettering is engraved into the Plexiglass, other lettering is added with decals, which are slightly peeling off.parrott2 parrott3 parrott4 parrott5 parrott6

The reasons why collectors like these trophies in their collections is that a trophy represents a drivers true success. It is the same reason collectors collect championship rings in their favorite sport. The trophies themselves have stories behind them, they are uniquely designed, and are treasured by the drivers, though sometimes circumstances lead them to being sold or auctioned off.  They are unique and interesting to collect. and are great conversation pieces.

We will continue this discussion next week…