Proud to say that the thunderstorm videos are officially back! The first one of the year is from last night’s storm!
Powerboat racing takes center stage this week, as we examine a Forest Barber driver suit from his days at Drambue Racing in 1999.
By David G. Firestone
If I could give a new collector two pieces of advice, they would be 1: In this hobby, when you stop learning, it stops being fun and 2: Research, research, research. Research is critical in any hobby, and that is, for the most part, why The Driver Suit Blog exists. I put a lot of research into this hobby, and I will give some pointers to help my fellow collectors.
First, always get a picture of the item you are going to buy beforehand. This is useful for a number of reasons. First, you can photo match the item. If you are not able to find an exact photo of the suit, helmet or accessory, you can “style match” the item. Style matching is finding evidence that the driver or crew member wore a design similar to the item in question. Drivers wear multiple versions of the same suit for a number of reasons. Nomex is a great material, however, if the suit catches fire, the Nomex will change color, and will not protect the area of the burn after the fire. So if a driver gets into a fiery crash in practice, and the suit gets damaged on the arm. The suit will have to be replaced for the race, because it is very possible that a similar crash could occur during the race, and wearing the damaged suit would wind up burning the driver.
Figuring out WHEN the suit was worn can be tricky, but in addition to photo matching, you can do a driver search on Racing Reference. Racing Reference is a site devoted entirely to racing stats, and for every race they list, they have driver, owner and sponsor information. So for example, let’s take this Stevie Reeves suit:
and clicking the races in his Nationwide Series Statistics section, you can look at each of his sponsors. In this case, he was only sponsored by Big A Auto Parts in 1997. So it can be concluded that the suit was worn in 1997.
In some cases, you will not be able to find a photo of the driver wearing the suit, that is just the law of the land. When searching for a photo, I use Getty Images, Google, YouTube, and eBay. It might seem strange that I use eBay but it works quite well and I have had a lot of success. People sell photos, press kits, hero cards and other such things on eBay, and this is a gold mine. In some cases, I have no luck in searching for photos, and I will take a break, get something to eat, play with the cat, take the dog for a walk, and I will have a moment when I realize I should change a parameter of the search. Sometimes it works, other times it does not.
When it comes to learning, when you stop, the hobby stops being fun. I’ve been collecting sports memorabilia since I was 5, and I’m constantly learning new things about it all the time. Never stop learning, because every hobby is constantly changing, and new information can be very useful.
I also have to cover this story. I gave Swan Racing a lot of bad reviews for paint schemes last year, and I said this year, they stand a good chance of winning the Schemie for most improved paint scheme set. Well, it looks as though they will have to shut down due to a lack of sponsorship. As it stands right now, the team is shutting down and Cole Whitt does not have a ride for Richmond. I will update the story as I learn more information.
Now we move on to…
PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS
Brad Keselowski #2 Detroit Genuine Parts Ford Fusion Great design, great color scheme, I like the black B post, A+
Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SS The Coca Cola 600 is held as the July 4th race, and as such, NASCAR teams like to run patriotic schemes. The scheme as a whole is good, and red, white and blue is a great color scheme. I give it an A. Something else to note: Notice that the name on the windshield is in a patriotic design, as opposed to white lettering on a black background. Is this going to be run by all teams? Stay Tuned!
Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers/Thank A Million Teachers Chevy SS I really hate the huge FARMERS lettering on the side of the car, and I’m guessing that the design on the lettering is a photo mosiac. The color scheme is not good, and there are a number of dark designs on the black background which are almost impossible to see. I support the idea of Thank a Million Teachers, but this scheme looks awful, and earns an F
Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy SS Sadly this is the best Bass Pro Shops scheme I have seen in 2014, and it is a C+ design so that isn’t saying much. Why can’t we go back to this?
Greg Biffle #16 Scotch Ford Fusion Greg’s paint scheme downward spiral continues, with this horrid scheme! The green and plaid doesn’t work with the Biffle template, and it just looks like a mangled mess that earns an F grade!
Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Certainteed Chevy SS This scheme works! I love the color scheme, and the design is really good. A+
Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Pittsburgh Paints Chevy SS I love this scheme! The color works well, the design is original. It stands out, and it just plain works! A+
David Stremme #33 Newton Building Supplies Chevy SS Red and white is a good color combination, and if the side did not have the small rectangle just behind the front wheel, I would give it an A, but it takes it down to a B+
Kyle Larson #42 Target 25th Anniversary Chevy SS Really simple design, and a good color scheme. I will tentatively give this scheme an A until I see the real scheme.
Kyle Larson #42 Axe Peace Chevy SS Decent color scheme, but much too overdesigned. Too much visual noise, and i just don’t like it. The green number look awful as well. D-
Ryan Truex #83 VooDoo BBQ Toyota Camry color scheme is not great, and the car in general is way too overdesigned. I can’t give this scheme anything less than a D-
Carl Edwards #99 Fordalwaysracing.com Ford Fusion See Brad Keselowski Above…A+
Also, NASCAR.com has come up with their staff picks for the best paint schemes in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series. I can’t say I disagree with most of their choices in this respect!
This week, we look at two lesser-known but critical aspects of racing uniforms, the gloves and shoes. Specifically, a pair of Scott Riggs race-worn and autographed shoes circa 2004-2007, and a pair of Hut Stricklin race-worn and autographed gloves circa 2000-2001
By David G. Firestone
I wanted to wait until all 3 racing seasons got underway to do this chart because by this time, more photos are accessable and it makes my job much easier. This is the 2014 driver uniform chart. I am fully aware this list is incomplete, but if I can’t find photographic or video evidence of what kind of suit the drive wears. We start with the…
===2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series===
Martin Truex Jr.-Oakley
Dale Earnhardt Jr.-Alpine Stars
Jeff Gordon-Alpine Stars
Jimmie Johnson-Alpine Stars
Kasey Kahne-Alpine Stars
Kyle Busch-Alpine Stars
**Randy Humphrey Racing
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-Oakley
Danica Patrick-Alpine Stars
===2014 Verizon IndyCar Series===
Carlos Huertas-Alpine Stars
Juan Pablo Montoya-Puma
===2014 FIA Formula One World Championship===
Sebastian Vettel-Alpine Stars
Daniel Ricciardo-Alpine Stars
Romain Grosjean-Alpine Stars
Pastor Maldonado-Alpine Stars
Sergio Pérez-Alpine Stars
Nico Hülkenberg-Alpine Stars
I can hear many of you saying “why are you still covering this Dave?” and this will be my last Washington Senators article for a while. When I started this project, I had no idea it would balloon the way that it did. I’ve found more layers to this story than I ever could have predicted. This article was a direct result of these layers. I’ve developed a theory of why they were designed they way that they were, and their design origins…but more on that later.
I was recently contacted by a seller who was able to get the numeral off Albie Pearson’s road uniform from his 1958 rookie season. As you can see, it looks like a generic two-tone number used by the Cardinals or Braves. The home number is an intricately designed number, with aspects never seen before or since. Whereas the road numeral looks like something that one would be able to buy for a little league, or softball uniform.
This was something I could not understand in terms of design. Normally, when a uniform is designed, the home and road numbers are similar to each other. In this case, they are the polar opposite of each other. When compared side by side, they look like they are from two different uniforms.
Not a bad looking number, but why would there be a revolutionary design like that on a home uniform, and nothing new for the road uniform. The road uniform they were wearing at the time was created in 1955, a year before the 3D uniforms were introduced. It makes sense, why would you redesign a uniform that was already recently redesigned? But it also does not explain why no effort was made to add some design to the road uniforms.
I was trying to figure this out, and something dawned on me. Maybe this design wasn’t supposed to be a primary uniform, but instead meant to be an alternate uniform. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. The 3D was meant to be worn at home for certain games, and then for other games, they would wear their regular uniforms. Back in the 50’s, the merch machine was not as in production as it is today, and alternates were not as common as they are today, but not unheard of. Fans were buying merchandise, but didn’t buy jerseys they way they do today. So it wasn’t made to sell replica jerseys, so we can eliminate that as a reason.
The Washington Senators had some alternates in their history. They had home alternates in 1910, 1924, and 1942. While alternate uniforms were used, they were not common in the 1950’s. Calvin Griffith, then owner of the Senators had just taken over from his father Clark, and it can be argued that Calvin was dealing with new competition. The St. Louis Browns had moved to Baltimore in 1954, and attendance at Senators games was down. Griffith Stadium in Washington was old, the Senators were, for the most part, a spent force, and the team had a negative image. Clark Griffith was a segregationist, and the Jim Crow laws applied to Griffith Stadium. Toward the end of the 1950’s, this was more of a liability than an asset.
My theory is that Clark had to find a way to boost attendance, and he wanted the Senators to have new uniforms to help that. He took an alternate design for a home uniform, made it into the primary home design, to give the Senators a futuristic look. The first era of 3D films was nearing its end, and Clark must have seen that they brought people in. It didn’t last long, only 3 seasons, and in 1959, it became clear that the Senators were heading for greener pastures, this pasture being in Minnesota, where they have remained ever since.
This is one of the most attractive uniform designs ever created, and the fact that it died less than 3 seasons after it was unleashed is a tragedy. The fact that this design isn’t seen as much on replica designs, or throwbacks is even more of a tragedy. This research project has been a labor of love, but for the time being, I have to move on to other projects. I don’t think that this will be the last I do on the subject, but it is for now.
We crack open another 1994 Finish Line Gold box on Vintage Box Breaks.