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-

 

Advertisements

Figure This Out!

By David G. Firestone

In my last column, I mentioned that Starting Lineup and Winner’s Circle figures made in the 1980’s and 1990’s censored alcohol and tobacco logos. But when it comes to these figures, how do the uniforms the figures portray stack up to their real-life counterparts?

First, lets discuss the figures themselves. Created by Kenner starting in 1988, Starting Lineup was a line of action figures based on baseball starts. As time went on, the line expanded from just baseball to football, basketball, hockey, and racing. The figures are 4 inches tall. For racing, Starting Lineup figures were packaged under the Winner’s Circle brand. The drivers features were championship-level or rookie of the year drivers. One of those was Mike Skinner released in 1998, which is in perfect condition, though has been removed from the package.31-skinner2 31-skinner

The driver suit it is based on is Mike Skinner’s 1997 race-used driver suit from his rookie of the year campaign. It was purchased from the Jeff Hamilton collection, and came with a letter stating as such. It shows nice use, and Jeff has signed the right chest. It also features something I have seen on a few other suits from that era, but from nowhere else, the Future Suit inscription. I have been waiting a while to discuss this. Custom suits from 1997 have something written on the back of the neck. On the Skinner suit it reads “Future-Suit-2-2252.31-skinner-future

This Stevie Reeves suit from 1997 has a similar inscription96-reeves-neck

This Lake Speed suit from 1997 was purchased off the rack, and does not bear the inscription,9-speed-b

Interestingly, suits from 1996 and before,41-craven-neck

and suits from 1998 and after,15-musgrave-blogo

do not have this inscription. From what I have been able to gather, this was an inventory number for customized suits. But I do not understand why it seems to only be used on suits from 1997. Ok, getting off track here, getting back to Finish Line figures….

Taking a look at this figure as compared to the real-life driver suit this figure is based on, it is very accurate. The bottom torso logos, and television logos on the sleeves are identical. The chest is missing the Chevy and Winston Cup logos, and has the name, whereas on the real suit the name is on the belt. They still did a very good job though.31-skinner4 31-skinnerb

The logos on the upper right sleeves are identical on both the figure and the real suit.31-skinner-rsleeve1 31-skinner7

The scale and position of the LOWES logo on the back of the figure as compared to the back of the real suit is identical as well.31-skinner6 31-skinner-rsleeve2 - Copy1

The position, location, and size of the television logos on the legs are perfect as well. They really did a great job with this figure.31-skinner11 31-skinner-legs

The detail in this figure is amazing, because Finish Line’s Starting Lineup counterparts lacked some details. Baseball figures from the same set in the same year, such as this Albert Belle figure often lacked pinstripes.8-belle4 8-belle1 8-belle2 8-belle3

Other examples include recycling of bodies. Every Finish Line figure is basically 4 different body parts, head, upper body, legs, and arms. These were taken, painted appropriately and then attached to each other. That is why all the figures look alike, but with minor differences.88-jarrett2 31-skinner2 17-waltrip2 force2

I can vividly remember buying these as a kid. When I got my first, a Dan Pasqua 1989 White Sox figure for my birthday, I was excited. Now, 23 years later, I have the ability to take a toy from my childhood, and compare it side by side to the uniform it is based on. I can honestly say I never thought it would happen, but I am thrilled to take the opportunity.

Tailgating Time!

Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

In honor of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship starting at Chicago, I will do a couple of Tailgating Time recipes featuring Chicago food products. The first is Chicago-style Hot Dogs. This classic has been enjoyed in Chicago since the Great Depression. It has been enjoyed by those in the Chicago-land area for some time.

You Will Need:

2 packages Vienna Beef hot dogs

2 packages S. Rosen’s Mary Ann Buns-Both come in packages of 8

1 Chopped white onion

1 Sliced Tomato

1 Jar Yellow Mustard

1 Jar Sweet pickle relish with mint,

2 Jars of pickled sport peppers

Celery salt

Chicago-Style dogs are traditionally boiled or steamed. If it is grilled, it is referred to as a “char-dog.” Once the hot dogs are done cooking, place the hot dogs in the bun, and then put the condiments in this order: mustard, relish, onion, tomato, sport peppers, pickle spear, celery salt. Ketchup on these dogs is UNACCEPTABLE! The final product will look like this:5

Classic Maxwell Street Polish Sausages

Anyone from Chicago will recognize this dish, and those from all over the country will enjoy this dish as well. This recipe needs both a hot plate as well as a grill. For a group of 6 people, you will need:

12 kielbasa links

12 sausage buns

1 large jar yellow mustard

6 large sweet onions

1 jar Olive Oil

First, on the pan, saute the sweet onions in a bit of olive oil on low for an hour and a half with a touch of thyme and salt. This might seem like a while, but the results are worth it.

While the onions are cooking, fire up the grill, wait until it is hot, and cook the kielbasa links until they show some char on the outside.

A few minutes before the kielbasa and onions are done cooking, pour the mustard into a bowl, this will help in the serving process.

Take the buns and smear the insides of the bun with mustard using a rubber spatula. Take the sausage and place one piece in each bun, and cover the top of the sausage with the now caramelized onions. The final product will look like this:29

Paint Scheme Reviews!

Marcos Ambrose #9 DeWALT/ACE/CMN Ford Fusion Good overall design however my main issue with the scheme is the very small writing on the side of the car. Designing a car with lettering too small to show up on the track that can be seen on the track or on television makes no sense at all. That said, this is still a good scheme, and I will give it a B

Greg Biffle #16 3M/Scotchguard Ford Fusion Everything I just said about the Marcos Ambrose scheme above applies here, as the Scotchguard logo is much too small. But the scheme is good and I will give it a B

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Ford Ecoboost Ford Fusion Great color scheme, great design, works very well, and it gets an A

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s American Heritage Toyota Camry Kyle has great schemes, and this is no exception. The American Heritage chocolate line features chocolate made as it was back in 1750. The scheme has some light changes, including the American Heritage logo, and a stereotypical colonial hat on the quarter panel. It works very well, and it earns an A

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger/Fan Names on Hood Chevy SS Taking a terrible paint scheme to begin with, and adding tiny lettering to the hood is a great way to earn an F

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Quaker State Chevy SS Green and gold is always a great scheme, but the spike design just does not work at all. I can give it a C at best, but the spikes are just awful.

Jeff Burton #31 Utility Trailers Chevy SS Great color scheme and great design. This scheme earns an A

Ken Schrader #32 Safe Skies Locks Ford Fusion It is a very basic paint scheme however basic can be very good, as this scheme shows. Looks very smooth and very good, and has a great color scheme. It earns an A

David Ragan #34 Farm Rich Ford Fusion Mediocre color scheme, but what they did is that they took that color scheme and designed the car to look like the rolling hills of a farm, with the Farm Rich logo acting as the sun, which works very well, and I have to give this scheme an A

Josh Wise #35 The Pete Store Ford Fusion The template this team uses works well when they have a logo with the matching colors. This example works very well, and earns an A

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Time Warner Cable Chevy SS The blue is too bright, but the overall scheme is good, though I do wish Time Warner could pick a better logo. 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.