The Driver Suit Blog-They Pay the Bills, So They Design The Suit

By David G. Firestone96-reeves-flogoFrom a design aspect, no other factor contributes as much as the primary sponsor or sponsors of the car. Everything from the colors to the torso design, to the television logos, to the shoulder epaulet and collar design depends on the primary sponsor. While this has been the case for the most part, how the primary sponsor is displayed can vary quite a bit.

Currently, the standard design for a primary sponsor logo is to have a large logo across the front of the lower torso, and on the back on the upper torso. These Christian Fittipaldi designs from 2002-2003 are great examples of that. The Georgia Pacific design from 2002 has a decent sized logo on the front bottom torso, and the same logo higher up on the back torso.45-fittipaldi-flogo 45-fittipaldi-blogoThe Bugles example from 2003 has identical logo placement for the Bugles logo.44-Fittipaldi-flogo 44-Fittipaldi-blogoMany driver suits feature this same logo placement.96-reeves-flogo96-reeves-blogo90-stricklin-flogo90-stricklin-blogo31-skinner-flogo31-skinner-blogo17-sedgwick-flogo17-sedgwickb-logo16-musgrave-flogo16-musgrave-blogo15-sprague-flogo15-sprague-blogo1-lajoie-flogo1-lajoie-blogo (2)12-miller-flogo 12-miller-blogoTaking a look at this Ricky Craven example from 1996, it features a design aspect that was very heavily used. The torso features a plan color, with a stripe across it with the sponsor name on that stripe. Dale Earnhardt Sr. used this design for many years, as did Rusty Wallace, Dick Trickle, and Steve Grissom among others. It is a fairly straightforward design, but it works very well.41-craven-flogo 41-craven-blogoOther suits have the primary sponsor logo present, but the logo is underwhelming. This design is exampled by this Bobby Hillin Jr. Moroso driver suit from 1991,20-hillin This Lake Speed example from 1997,9-speed

and this Ted Musgrave example from 1998.15-musgrave-lchest 15-musgrave-blogoIn very rare instances, a primary sponsor is excluded from the suit altogether. One example is this Terry Labonte suit I covered earlier this year. That example was made for Terry to wear in a very last minute driver change. Another example is this David Stremme suit from 2009. I covered this issue earlier in the year, but to sum it up, because of a conflict between Verizon, the sponsor of Stremme’s car, and Sprint, the title sponsor of the Sprint Cup race, Verizon was not allowed to have their logos on Stremme’s car and driver suit. As such, Stremme raced a Dodge sponsorship, and wore this suit.12-stremme-flogo 12-stremme-blogoOne of the newer designs that is frequently seen is what I call the leg stripe design. This Kasey Kahne example shows a leg design that has a large white stripe running up the red background, with the DODGE television logo running up the leg. Sponsors can make their logos stand out more with this design, so it is becoming more popular every year.9-kahne-legsThis Scott Wimmer example is from 2002, and is rather unique in this category.23-wimmer-legsIt needs an explanation…The suit was worn for the entire 2002 season, which had a Siemens sponsorship for the first 25 races. After Siemens left the team, Scott Wimmer went on to win 4 of the next 9 races in an unsponsored black car with red and yellow flames…while wearing this suit.

While I get that the team not buying another suit for Wimmer to wear…it just looks weird.

Now this is another suit that needs an explanation. Nort Northam is a Porsche dealer based in Florida. He was a race car driver from 1979-1992, and his career was not great, with no wins, and two podiums. In 1988, he raced in the Sunbank 24 at Daytona, now called the Rolex 24 at Daytona in a Porsche owned by fellow driver Karl Durkheimer.56-Northam 56-NorthambDuring that race, he wore this driver suit. It appears on this suit that a sponsor patch has been removed or fallen off. Now to understand the basic design, you need to understand that Nort raced in two races a year, and having a suit custom designed would be a needless expense. As such, his name, and two sponsor patches did the trick. Not fancy, but effective. This late 1980’s SCCA example is also a minimalist design, but it sticks to the “80’s stripe” design as the Ricky Craven example.

The last thing about primary sponsors is that sometimes, primary sponsor designs follow other sports uniform trends. This example from 1998 was worn by Jeremy Mayfield. At that time, gigantic logos across the fronts of uniforms were the big thing, and that was not good. This fad did not last long, thank heavens!

Driver Suit Blog “Wheel Reviews”

Last night, I went to see the movie “Rush” and I have to say, it was really good.  It has been said “you love your rivals, because you need someone to beat.” Nowhere is this more evident than Rush. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Daniel Brühl as Niki Lauda and Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt, Rush is the story of the rivalry between the two, from their days in Formula 3 in 1970, to Formula 1 in the 1970’s. For fans of racing movies, it is a true masterpiece.

The film takes the perspectives of the two drivers. Lauda is represented in the film as a talented driver who is great with setting up a race car. He is a driver who takes what he does very seriously. Hunt on the other hand is more of a playboy. He is a great driver, but his fast and furious lifestyle is a distraction from his true talent. Both are talented, but when Hesketh Racing, Hunt’s team can’t find sponsorship for the upcoming 1976 season, Hunt loses his ride. After his wife leaves for a ski trip, Hunt gets a ride with McLaren after Emerson Fittipaldi leaves to race for his cousin.

In 1976, Hunt struggles for the first part of the year, while Lauda, fresh off his 1975 World Championship is always a factor in the points standings. Hunt’s luck changes at the Spanish Grand Prix, where he beats Lauda, though he is disqualified for his car being less than an inch over regulation. Hunt’s wife divorces him, and driven by this, his season turns around. Though Lauda struggles at this point, the points standings are close coming into the German Grand Prix

The 1976 German Grand Prix was a critical point in this story, as the points battle was heating up. This race was at the the “Old Nürburgring” one of the most difficult tracks in the world. The weather was stormy, which kicks up the danger. Knowing the track as well as he did, Lauda called a meeting of the drivers and stated that the race should be canceled because of the conditions. Hunt thinks it is just a trick to take a race out of the schedule, and the cancellation is voted down. Lauda is seriously hurt in a wreck, and he is hospitalized. Hunt blames himself for the wreck. The story from there is the story of the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship.

The cars in the movie were very accurate, in some cases, vintage equipment was used. The tires used were made by Goodyear, and had the lettering in white as opposed to the yellow lettering that they currently use. The crew uniforms were very accurate as well. The driver uniforms were very well done, as were the helmets. Something that I noticed about them was that I couldn’t see any safety certification visible.

All in all, this is a great movie, and racing fans will enjoy this movie, so I give it an A!

Paint Scheme Reviews

Jamie McMurray #1 Liftmaster Chevy SS Good color scheme and decent desisn add up to an A- grade

Clint Bowyer #15 Raspberry 5-Hour Energy/Living Beyond Breast Cancer Toyota Camry I hate pinkwashing and I hate raspberries, so this gets an automatic F

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry The leaf designs on the bottom of the doors just look odd, and it takes a solid A scheme, to an A-. It does have great overall design and great colors, but the leaves just kill it.

Matt Kenseth #20 Home Depot/Let’s Do This Toyota Camry The overall scheme is great, and has a great color scheme. The problem is that the back end is yellow, which just looks odd when compared to the rest of the car. If the back was black, it would match quite well, but this is just bad. I want to give this scheme a higher grade, but the best I can do is a B-

JJ Yeley #36 Drive Sober Arrive Alive Chevy SS Great color scheme, great colors, and a cause that is easy to support add up to an A+ scheme.

Ryan Newman #39 Slate Water Heaters Chevy SS While I don’t get the silver design at the bottom of the car, this is a great scheme, and gets an A+

Ryan Truex #51 Shooters Sporting Center Chevy SS The yellow outline on the numbers is brutal, and the Shooters Sporting Center logo is just awful. C- is the best I can do.

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My Trip to U.S. Cellular Field

IMG_0183 IMG_0182 IMG_0184By David G. Firestone

On Monday, I had the opportunity to go to a Chicago White Sox game, and since I hadn’t been to a baseball game in quite a while, I figured that it would be fun. I got to U.S. Cellular Field before the game, and had my ticket ready. The first thing that I noticed was that it was “Dog Day at the Park.” so there were a lot of fans who took their dogs to the game.100_4122

I go up to section 514, I had the entire section to myself. A buddy of mine canceled at the last minute, so I was on my own. I went and had a hot dog before the game, and enjoyed a nice fall night at the stadium.IMG_0191 IMG_0187

The Sox were taking on the Minnesota Twins, and the seats that I had were not great…100_4128

but I settled in, took a picture of my 1954 White Sox Stirrups100_4123, and waited for the game to begin. As I did, I looked around the stadium. The full moon over the stadium caught my attention, and I also noticed the scoreboards. For those who don’t know, the White Sox have the “exploding scoreboard” installed by Bill Veeck in 1960, which had a series of lit pinwheels that light up when a home run is hit. The scoreboard has become part of Sox lore, and when it was time to play ball, the scoreboard came to life.100_4129

The Twins did not fare very well. The bottom of the first inning alone saw a total of 7 runs, 1 of which was walked I. I had a great view of the Twins bullpen, and saw that they had two pitchers warming up during the bottom of the first.

In the bottom of the second, a home run was disallowed on a video review, much to the chagrin of the fans.100_4139 The game went along until the bottom of the 4th, when Adam Dunn hit a home run, causing the scoreboard to light up…the very next pitch was to Dayan Vicideo, and he homered, causing the scoreboard to light up. At this point it is 9-0 White Sox.100_4129 100_4133 100_4131 100_4130 100_4143 100_4147 100_4148 100_4142  100_4152 100_4159

The Twins did manage to score a run the top of the 8th, but it was too little too late, as the White Sox would win.100_4155 100_4157

Had a great time, and I will go back later in the year.

The Driver Suit Blog-Open or Closed…Which Helmet Would You Have Chosen?

By David G. Firestone

[Editor’s Note: Originally, this week was a post dedicated to primary sponsor logos. However, I had this column on the shelf for a while, but given recent events in the NFL, which fellow uniform blogger Paul Lukas has covered in depth, I felt that this article concerning helmet safety in NASCAR would be appropriate to run this week, with the primary sponsor logo column running next week. DF]lepagePrior to the tragic events of the 2001 Daytona 500, drivers had to make a choice that in this day in age seems absolutely absurd. From the beginning of NASCAR to that tragic day drivers had their choice of helmets, and they were open-faced,lepage94-2or full-face.lepage99-2To examine the merits and demerits of both helmets let’s take a look at one example of each, both worn by the same driver, Kevin Lepage. First, the open-faced helmetlepage94-1 lepage94-2 lepage94-4 lepage94-3 lepage94-6 lepage94-5Worn in the Nationwide Series in 1994 and 1995 during his rookie and sophomore seasons, this helmet bears a decal from high-end plush toy company Vermont Teddy Bears. It shows very heavy use, with scratches and scuff marks, has had the microphone equipment removed, and Lepage has signed the back of the helmet in black Sharpie.

Now let’s look at the full-face helmet,lepage99-1 lepage99-2 lepage99-3 lepage99-5 lepage99-6 lepage99-7 lepage99-8Worn by Lepage in the 1999 Winston Cup season, this helmet was painted for the combination Primestar/TV Guide #16 Ford. Like the open-faced helmet, it shows scratches and scuff marks, and Lepage has signed the top of the helmet above the visor. Unlike the open-faced helmet, this helmet still has the microphone equipment.

Now on to the comparison…

Looking at the helmets from the inside, there was no real difference between the two. Both are the same basic design, with the same inner liner and filler.lepage7The left sides of the helmets differ greatly. Notice that there is a hose attachment near the Ford logo on the full-faced helmet. This is to accommodate the “hotbox” attachment. Hotboxes are designed to force air into the driver’s face to help keep them cool. This is not a luxury, as driver compartments can reach as high as 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and drivers typically wear 3-4 layers of Nomex during a race. Keep in mind that in-car drinking systems are not standard as of 2000, and the hotbox is a great tool for driver comfort.lepage5Microphone equipment is added to the helmet on the right side. The only difference between these two helmets is that the microphone has been removed on the open-faced helmet.lepage1The back of the helmets are virtually identical except for the paint schemes and the liability tag present.lepage6The front of the helmet is the key to making the decision. Everything else thus far is a minor issue. The question was asked then, and is asked now, why were these helmets legal for as long as they were? These pictures should answer that question:lepage3 lepage4The bottom of the helmet underneath the visor gives an extra bit of safety in case of fire, BUT takes away about 2-3 inches of visibility. That 3 inches might not seem like that much, but in a race car, trying to keep situational awareness of what the car is doing, those 3 inches are as critical as you can imagine. NASCAR at the time had the opinion that if they had the restriction in place, that the obstruction could cause a driver to lose that situational awareness, and lead to a wreck. NASCAR felt that any rule that could cause a wreck is a bad idea, and rightfully so. How often in the wake and investigation of accidents does it reveal that a rule, regulation, or guideline cause an accident? It happens quite often. NASCAR at the time felt that imposing a rule that all helmets should be full-faced that is could very easily lead to an accident, and as such, allowed open-faced helmets to avoid that from happening.

It was a rule that was easy to understand, but would lead to tragedy. It led to this design, which itself is now becoming obsolete:mcdonalds-1 mcdonalds-6 mcdonalds-7 mcdonalds-4 mcdonalds-3 mcdonalds-9 mcdonalds-10 mcdonalds-12Now, even the best full-faced helmet designs from the 1990’s are now a distant memory and the current helmet design has taken over. It might seem like unfair, but if these rules were in place at the 2001 Daytona 500, we would have never lost a true legend.

Paint Scheme Reviews!

Jamie McMurray #1 Linksys Chevy SS Clean lines and a great color scheme make for an A+ scheme!

Matt Kenseth #20 Husky/500th Start Toyota Camry The gray-scale design does not work here at all. The rest of the car looks very good, but the black and dark gray color scheme needs work. If the Husky red is where the gray is, it would work better, but the best grade I can give is a C-

Michael McDowell #51 SEM Chevy SS Classic design with a great color scheme, A+

And we have a 2014 leak…

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SS This is the best Cheerios scheme I have ever seen! The goofy bagel design is gone, and has been replaced with a couple of racing stripes. I also love the black around the #3. If this is the final design, it will be a great car, and I give it an A+!

The Driver Suit Blog-My Statement Regarding the events of the Federated Auto Parts 400

By David G. Firestone

I normally don’t do two posts in one week, but after the events of the last two weeks in NASCAR, I felt compelled to state my feelings on the matter. Obviously, what took place at and after the Federated Auto Parts 400 is shocking to say the least. As a NASCAR fan, and collector, I felt that I had to say something.

First, I’ll discuss Joey Logano and David Ragan. Obviously what happened was that Ragan allowed Logano to pass him, to get a position, to get points needed to make the chase. It does need to be noted that on a very technical basis, the two are “partners” as they are both Ford drivers. However, it is still a violation of the rules, but at the same time, I can’t really blame Ragan. Front Row Motorsports is a middle-shelf team that has flashes of success, but is not a championship team. Ragan had nothing to gain in that race at that point. Logano had everything to lose at that point. He is having a great year, with a new team, and I think he can win the Sprint Cup this year. That said, it is a violation of the rules, and the rules are the rules.

Now we turn to the Michael Waltrip situation. Michael Waltrip and his older brother Darrell are old school stock car drivers. Old school drivers are notorious for trying to and finding ways around the rules. However, unlike the old days, in this day in age, cars are very closely inspected, and radio chatter is monitored by fans and officials alike. That is why this whole situation is as important as it is.

Now clearly what took place is that with 10 laps to go, Ryan Newman was leading the race, and with the points they way they were, he would make the Chase with a win. Martin Truex Jr. who would miss the Chase with Newman’s win is trying his best to make as many positions as he can to get as many points as he can to make the Chase, and give his teammate Clint Bowyer an advantage. Bowyer is being given info on the situation via team radio, and was obviously given a very poorly coded radio message to intentionally spin out to bring out a caution, and start a round of pit stops. When all pit stops are said and done, Newman is far back in the pack, and is out of the Chase Points wise. The race restarts, and on lap 198, Brian Vickers, the third driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, was ordered by his spotter Ty Norris, who is also the general manager and vice president for Michael Waltrip Racing to make a green flag pit stop, which gives Truex another boost in the point standings.

When the checkered flag flew, both Logano and Truex were in the Chase, and Jeff Gordon, and Ryan Newman were out. Gordon and Newman were disappointed, but they handled it well. Almost instantly, the issue came to light, starting with ESPN’s coverage. The commentators knew something was up, and it was clear from the in-car camera that the spin was intentional. Between Richmond and Chicago, the investigation led to the biggest penalty in the history of NASCAR, with a $300,000 fine and 50 owner point reduction for all 3 teams, all crew chiefs, were placed on probation, and Ty Norris was suspended indefinitely. Because of this, Truex was removed from the Chase, and Ryan Newman was added. Furthermore, with the Logano/Ragan situation, a 13th driver, Jeff Gordon, was added to the Chase.

Drivers know when they have in-cars, so it makes no sense that he would intentionally spin out. If Brian Vickers, who did not have an in-car had spun out, it would have been much more difficult to make a case. Also, if Vickers had pitted under green to fix some damage, it would have been much harder to prove something would have happened.

If this was a unique incident for Michael Waltrip Racing, I think that it could be forgiven at the end of the season, but let’s take a trip back to 2007, specifically, the days leading up to the Twin 125’s before they Daytona 500. Evernham Motorsports and Roush Fenway were caught with “illegal modifications” for their cars, and fines and suspensions were levied. Michael Waltrip Racing was caught with an illegal fuel additive in his primary car, and was fined 100 points for the violation.

NAPA, who had sponsored Waltrip since his 2001 Daytona 500 win had said that they would stand by him, but if something like this happened again, that would not be guaranteed. Well something like that happened again. This morning, NAPA announced that they will not sponsor MWR anymore after this season, which is understandable. NAPA is a very loyal sponsor, so clearly what happened was that they decided that the cheating was going to continue until they said something. It is sad, but it happened.

My question is this, a very valid argument could be made that Truex himself did not do anything intentionally wrong, and that he was thrown under the bus because of the actions of his teammates. Another argument can be made that NASCAR stated when announcing the penalty, that they could not prove that Bowyer spun intentionally. Taking all the evidence into consideration, it appears that Truex had no idea what was going on around him, and that his teammates kept this information from him. I think with the penalties NASCAR levied against MWR, that Truex did in fact get thrown under the bus. At the same time, the rule comes across as a “hand of one is the hand of all” rule, which means that if your team cheats to help you, you are just as responsible for what happens.

To summarize, I think that NASCAR did what they felt was right, and I feel as though NAPA had to do what they they thought was right. Do I agree with it? Absolutely! NASCAR and its sponsors need to make it as clear as they can that cheating will not be tolerated. The rules are the rules, and even if the drivers disagree with them, they have to be followed.

DGF2099 Productions-Introduction to Sports Memorabilia-Las Vegas Outlaws Practice Helmet-Season Finale

A rare Las Vegas Outlaws helmet that was worn in practice will be examined this week in our season 9 finale. Season 10 will start in November.

The Driver Suit Blog-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-skinnerThe 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-futureThis Stevie Reeves suit from 1997 has a similar inscription96-reeves-neckThis Lake Speed suit from 1997 was purchased off the rack, and does not bear the inscription,9-speed-bInterestingly, suits from 1996 and before,41-craven-neck

and suits from 1998 and after,15-musgrave-blogodo 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-skinnerbThe logos on the upper sleeves are identical on both the figure and the real suit.  31-skinner7 31-skinner-rsleeve1 31-skinner9 31-skinner-lsleeve1

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-skinner2 31-skinner-rsleeve2 - Copy1The 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-skinner10

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.   31-skinner2 88-jarrett2 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.

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:5Classic 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

The Driver Suit Blog-NASCAR Sponsorship and Children…Sailing the Censorship.

By David G. Firestone

Since I started this blog, I have found myself chasing stories more. One thing will lead to another, and sometimes, I will discover something that I have never thought I would write about. Today’s column is one of these examples. This story started off when I tried to photo-match this Bobby Hillin suit from 199120-hillin

I came across this card:hillin

It is a perfect match except for one thing. Note that the Winston logo has been edited out. 20-hillin-rchest 20-hillin-lchest  hillinNow this is not an isolated incident. Many toys and cards are marketed to children. As such, having alcohol and/or tobacco sponsors on cards and toys is a no-no. But I came across this recently, and it just boggled my mind.

I wrote about my trip to the National Sports Collectors Convention a few weeks ago. Something else I did was that I bought 3 boxes of 1995 Upper Deck NASCAR Series 2 and did a vintage box break on YouTube. What a “vintage box break” means is that I buy a box of cards from the 1990’s or early 2000’s that claim to have autographed cards randomly placed in packs, and open every pack in the box to try and find an autographed card. Sometimes it works,

sometimes it doesn’t.

Well this is the result of the 1995 Upper Deck box break…

After I finished the break, I began to examine the cards more closely, and came across something really unusual. For reasons I can’t understand, the sponsors are partially sponsored, which means that some alcohol and tobacco sponsors are censored, while others are not. For example, Skoal is censored in all forms on cardsscn - Copy (4) scn - Copy (5) scn0001 - Copy (3) scn0001 - Copy (2)Whereas Kodiak, which is the same product is not. scn - Copy (3) scn - Copy (8)The other one that I saw is that Budweiser is censored as a sponsor,scn - Copy (6) scn0001 - Copy scn - Copy (2)While Miller Genuine Draft, the same product is not.scn - Copy (7)Some cards censor all the controversial sponsors, some don’t censor any, but I have never seen a company favor one over the other before, and it just seems odd. There seems to be a science to censoring sponsors. While I’m not a fan of censorship of sponsors, it is easy to understand why it happens. Parents don’t want their children to smoke or drink alcohol, which is understandable. So these toys, such as these 1/64 scale cars will replace the alcohol sponsor with the name of the driver and/or the name of the team that owns the car, as these examples show, such as Rusty Wallace  100_4049 100_4050 100_4047Ricky Craven100_4052 100_4053 100_4051Ken Schrader100_4059 100_4060 100_4058  and Steve Grissom100_4055 100_4057 100_4054  Those marketed for grown-ups will have the logos, such as these Ken Schrader examples.25-scharder-1 25-scharder-2 25-scharder-3 33-schrader-1 33-schrader-2 33-schrader-3And this Dale Earnhardt Jr. Example8-earnhardt-1 8-earnhardt-2 8-earnhardt-3  Simpson mini helmets manufactured in the early to mid 1990’s always have the sponsors, such as these examples from Rusty Wallace,2-wallace1 2-wallace2 2-wallace3 2-wallace4 2-wallace5 2-wallace6     Red Dog Beer,reddog1 reddog2 reddog3 reddog4 reddog5 reddog6     Ricky Craven,41-craven1 41-craven2 41-craven3 41-craven4 41-craven5 41-craven6     and Robert Pressley. 33-pressley1 33-pressley2 33-pressley3 33-pressley4 33-pressley5 33-pressley6    “Hero Cards” which are given out to fans by race teams will never censor the primary sponsor logos in any situation.wallace1 wallace2 Whereas other cards are left up to the teams many of which will censor the cards:tlabonte1 tlabonte2  cope-card1 cope-card2 blabonte1-1 blabonte1-2 kleenex1 kleenex2Kenner made a series of NASCAR figures under the Finish Line banner in the mid 1990’s, and these religiously censored the sponsors, as this Rusty Wallace figure from 1998 clearly shows.

While tobacco has all but disappeared from NASCAR, alcohol is still a prominent. Coors Light sponsors the pole award, but in the die casts made for kids, which are 1/64 size, the Coors Light decal is missing as displayed on this Tony Stewart diecast. Whereas on the adult 1/24 sized car, the Coors Light decal can clearly be seen as seen on this Tony Stewart diecast. This Tony Stewart photo puzzle, in the kids section of the NASCAR Superstore has the Coors Light decal intact for some reason. Again, while I disagree with censorship, at least be consistent.

And now for something that isn’t censored…

Nothing new paint scheme wise…At this point, many teams are going to start premiering their 2014 schemes, and we’ll get to those at another time.