McDonalds Bacon Clubhouse…A Review

photo 2By David G. Firestone

After hearing from a couple of friends how good it is, I decided to try the new McDonald’s Clubhouse burger.   I went to the McDonald’s in Skokie on Dempster Street and had one for dinner before work.  I can only say that it was actually pretty impressive.  The basic concept is a higher quality burger with some variation in the ingredients.  It works quite well

The burger itself contains thick cut applewood smoked bacon, caramelized grilled onions, white cheddar, crisp leaf lettuce, a fresh tomato slice and Big Mac sauce.  Interestingly, the onions and sauce are below the burger patty as opposed to on top of it.  It seems odd, but it works well.  I’m not an onion fan, but I decided to try it as is.   The burger is wrapped in a piece of wax paper and then sold in a standard McDonald’s Box

Upon tasting it, I can say it is the best burger McDonald’s has ever made.  Again, while I don’t usually like onions on burgers, I liked them on this one.  The taste can be described as perfect.  It works very well.  The only bad thing I can say is that the burger itself is too small, because I wanted more of the flavor.

In short, go to McDonald’s right now and get one!  I promise you won’t be disappointed


An Open Letter to Roger Goodell

By David G. Firestone

Dear Roger Goodell,

I am an NFL fan, one of millions across the country and the world. I have been following the NFL for years. I am going to ask a question that every fan should be asking you. Why do you hate the fans?

You enforce a series of rules and have made a number of very questionable rulings recently that make it clear that you do in fact, hate your fan base. Let me rephrase that, you hate the fans but love their money. Ticket prices to games are out of control. Tickets for the last row of Soldier Field are $103.54 for one seat! At those prices, a family of four would have to pay $414.16. That’s just for tickets, that does not include parking, food, beverages, and souvenirs. All totaled, it would cost a family $500 to sit so far away from the field. To put that in perspective, that same family could go to a Cubs, White Sox, Bulls AND a Blackhawks game and have money left over!

Ticket prices are skyrocketing and the value doesn’t justify the price, so the question is, why would I go to a game? The answer is I wouldn’t. For the costs of a game, it is cheaper and easier to stay home and watch…oh wait, I can’t. You enforce the blackout rule which means that if 84% of the overpriced tickets are sold, the game cannot be broadcast to the fans in the market. You have really screwed the fans in this respect, it’s too expensive to go to games, but you can’t show the game on television unless 85% of these overpriced tickets are sold!

Let’s say I get a ticket. Let’s say I take a girlfriend with me. Let’s say she wants to take her purse, which is average sized. She can’t take it in because of a ridiculous bag policy implemented in 2013. This was voted on by the The NFL Committee on Stadium Security and I’ll wager a week’s pay that there wasn’t one woman on that committee, because it was passed unanimously. I understand that security is an issue, but you went way too far. You have clearly shown that women aren’t respected as real NFL fans…I’ll get to that in a little bit.

Some of the on-field rules are designed to spite the fans as well. The dunking of a football after a touchdown, the bob and weave, and many other touchdown celebrations that the fans love have been needlessly banned. Thursday Night Football, which was a failure in all respects last year, is not only back, but there are going to be TWO games instead of one. We hate the idea, we make it fail because we hate the idea, and you give us more. You banned teams using multiple helmets over the course of a season stating your concerns about concussions, while at the same time bragging about how you want an 18 game season. In every instance, the fans have reacted negatively, and they are the reason you exist. But what does it matter what the fans want? Again, more proof you hate us, but love our money.

But if we needed anymore proof that you hate us, you gave it to us on Thursday, when you announced that Ray Rice would be suspended for two games and fined 3 checks for a domestic violence incident. Terrelle Prior got a 3 game suspension for selling memorabilia in college, Josh Gordon is in serious trouble for smoking a joint, Ben Roethlisberger got a harsher sentence for a sexual assault accusation, and you suspend Ray Rice for TWO GAMES? Jimmy Haslam conned $54 million in a customer scam, and he gets nothing. Supposedly, you are waiting for the legal system to work this case through, though I have never seen this happen in any other sport, and you didn’t do this for any one of the other cases.

You and the rest of the front office of the NFL have made it clear that you hate women. The Ray Rice incident was horrific to watch! It was the end of a domestic violence incident where he dragged her unconscious body off an elevator, took some stuff off of her, and left. Josh Gordon may lose his entire season because of marijuana, where even the government is lessening it’s grasp on the laws against it. Ray Rice beats the tar out of a woman, leaves her lying in a hallway and is suspended for TWO GAMES?

The cheerleader complaints, that they are paid poorly and are treated like crap only add to this situation. They spend all year working for $100 a game or less? They are given demeaning instructions and rules. They are basically treated like second class citizens. But then again, what should I expect from a league that takes such a lackluster position on domestic abuse? Why do you treat women like objects as opposed to human beings?

I implore you to look at the fans as an asset rather than a burden. We want to be able to come to games! We want to be respected ! We want justice when players break the rules! We want to be entertained at games! We want equality! We want to be a part of the NFL! Please, give us the respect and credit we deserve and stop screwing us over!


A concerned NFL Fan

The Driver Suit Blog-How a Photo Became A Racing Icon

wally9By David G. Firestone

Recently, Paul Lukas covered the history of league logos in sports. 1969 was a banner year for logos.That same year, The MLB silhouette logo came into being.  The other logo is interesting as well. It is the NBA logo. It is based on a photo of Jerry West and was introduced in 1969.  That got me to thinking, and I realized something. In 1969, another photo got turned into an icon. It was this photo of Jack Jones…wally9My thanks to Michael E. Mescher of Northidge Alumni Bear Facts for use of this photo!

If that photo looks familiar, it is because that photo became the legendary Wally trophy. That photo of Jack Jones in his driver suit, holding his helmet, and resting a pair of gloves and Nomex hood on a rear tire became the standard NHRA trophy. wally11Named after NHRA founder Wally Parks, this trophy, in varying sizes and weights is given to all winners of all national events, and other trophies have integrated the Wally design.wally1This example is from a class winner at the 2003 Gatornationals. Held at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville Florida since 1970, the Gatornationals is one of the opening events in the NHRA season. Since this is a Lucas Oil series trophy, it is much lighter and scaled down than it’s Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series trophy. This trophy weighs 2 or 3 pounds and is a little over a foot tall. The Mello Yellow trophies are 18 inches tall and weigh 12 pounds each. The trophy is made with a composite-standard metal mix and is plated in antique brass. The base is solid walnut.

Since these are the only trophies given to event winners, trophy shelves of drivers look awesome. That is the collection of former pro stock motorcycle legend George Bryce who has 77 event wins in total! John Force has 140 national event wins, the most of any driver, and his collection is awe inspiring!

The origin of the photo is interesting. According to the June 30, 1995 edition of National Dragster, the story goes that in early 1969, Jack Jones was at his day job, and got a call from Wally Parks. Parks asked him if he would be willing to pose for pictures for a trophy at Ponoma Raceway. Ponoma is a 16 minute ride from Glendora where the NHRA is based. Jack agreed and a number of pictures were snapped, including the now iconic photo of him with his equipment and a tire. Later that year, the famous Wally trophy was introduced. It is perfect because it is still the same design as in 1969. It does not evolve because it does not have to. Looking at it close, it really is a beautiful trophy.wally1 wally2 wally3 wally4 wally5 wally6 wally7

It is amazing how a sports photo can evolve into something much more than a photo. It has been said by those much wiser than I that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well photos that become iconic, whether it be in logos or trophies or stuck in public consciousness are not just worth a thousand words, they are priceless.

That’s going to be all for this week, there was not enough paint schemes to warrant an entry this week, so I’ll save it for next week!

The Driver Suit Blog-What’s Summer Without a Bit of Mud?

By David G. Firestone

I don’t often do mid-week posts, but this week warrants one. Tonight at 7PM EST on Fox Sports 1 the CarCash Mudsummer Classic Presented by CNBC Prime’s ‘The Profit’ will be held at Eldora Speedway in Rossberg Ohio. Since that name is a bit too long, I’ll just call it the Mudsummer classic. This will be the second year in a row the Camping World Truck Series will host a points paying event on the dirt track.

Last year, Ken Schrader qualified on the pole, and Austin Dillon went on to win the race. Kyle Larson, Michael Annett, Ty Dillon, Matt Crafton, and Norm Benning will be among the drivers who will join them on this historical dirt track owned by Tony Stewart. The trucks and tires will be modifiend from their normal configuration to accommodate the dirt track. Further info can be found here. I did a little research after watching the video and found that the Truck Series switched from Goodyear Eagles to Goodyear Wranglers in 2005.

The heat race style format from last year will be back again this year, and unlike most NASCAR Big 3 series races, there will be work done on the cars while the race is under red. It will be pit stops, but it will still be allowed. The qualifying was a bit confusing, but it was still fun to watch. You had better believe I will be watching the entire event flag to flag. Fox Sports explains it in detail here.

The question that was asked numerous times last year and will be asked this year is “will there be a Nationwide or Sprint Cup Series race on dirt in the near future?” To that I say…”THERE DAMN WELL BETTER BE!” The mud racing is fun to watch, and it brings many of the drivers back to the roots. It also brings NASCAR back to its roots, as well as stock car racing as a whole back to its roots. The fans loved it last year, I’ll bet they’ll love it this year, and you know as well as I do they’ll want more. But if it does happen, it will probably happen at another track besides Eldora. Since Tony Stewart owns the track, he can’t compete because he has a really unfair advantage. So when it does happen, it will happen at another track. I think that Davenport Speedway might be a good venue.

I will enjoy tonight’s race, I hope you do too, and I’ll be back on Saturday with my usual work…this time on number design…see you then!

The Driver Suit Blog-The End of An Era in Evanston

DSCN0972By David G. Firestone

We all have at least one place that we always remember fondly from our childhood. It could be a restaurant, a park, the home of a close friend, or family member, or a park. We all have at least one, probably many. It is always sad when one of these places goes away. Well this happened to me this last week, when an Evanston institution began the process of moving.

Tom Thumb in Downtown Evanston was a place that I and a number of my friends spent a great deal of our childhood. Some of us were skateboarders, some of us were RC car fanatics, some of us, like me were model builders and die cast collectors. It had been in the same place for 49 years, but they announced that they were going to move after a zoning decision was made to replace the current building with a two-story building for two restaurants. So, on July 12, after 49 years as an Evanston institution, it closed. I went there on the 12, and made, with a heavy heart, my last 2 photo 1This was a sad day because I am a huge NASCAR fan, and for many years, Tom Thumb was the only store in Evanston that sold NASCAR stuff. It was also one of, if not the oldest skate shop in the midwest. I went there, looked around the store where I spend my childhood, took it all in, and bought my last purchase, this 1997 Darrell Waltrip 25th Anniversary set.DSCN0972I bought this for two reasons. The first is that I love this set, I remember many of these schemes from races I watched in 1997. They all look really good, and they bring back memories. The second reason, and I didn’t even think about this until I started doing some work for next week. During my research, I was grumbling about how many different paint schemes each car runs every week, and it dawned on me that this might be the first example of that in the Sprint Cup Series.

You never had this much variety in paint schemes before 1997. Each team ran one scheme for the majority of the season, maybe 2 or 3 different schemes and special schemes for the All-Star race, and possibly the Busch Clash. But Darrell Waltrip ran, in total, 7 different schemes, each based on a specific era in his career. Each had Western Auto Parts America as the primary sponsor, but were based for past sponsors. He started with Gatorade, which he ran for DiGard Motorsports, from 1975-1980. He won two Coca Cola 600’s(1978, 1979) a Winston 500(1977) the Southern 500(1978,1979)as well as 22 other races during that time.DSCN0990In 1981, he left DiGard for Junior Johnson Motorsports, and was sponsored by Mountain Dew, where he won 24 races including the 1982 Winston 500, the 1981 Busch Clash, and two of his three Sprint Cup ChampionshipsDSCN0991Pepsi replaced Mountain Dew and created The Pepsi Challenger which he ran in 1983 for Junior Johnson. He won 6 races for PepsiDSCN0992After Pepsi left, Budweiser took over the sponsorship, and from 1984-1986, he won 13 races, the 1985 Winston Cup Championship, the Inagural All-Star Race in 1985, the 1985 Southern 500, and the Winston 500. I find love how they call it “Red” instead of Budweiser since this was marketed to kids at the time.DSCN0993In 1987, he made the move to Hendrick Motorsports, and picked up Tide as a sponsor. He won the 1989 Daytona 500, The 1988 and 1989 Coca Cola 600’s and 6 other races. I loved that it was identical to the scheme used by Ricky Rudd that same season.DSCN0994From 1990-1997, he raced the #17 for Hendrick Motorsports in 1990, and then founded Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, which raced this scheme from 1990 to 1997. He won 5 races, but was never to get his former glory back. Western Auto left the team after 1997, and Darrell Waltrip Motorsports shut down shortly after the start of the 1998 season.DSCN0995The last scheme is one of the most innovative schemes in the history of NASCAR. His legendary Chrome scheme.  Darrell loved chrome, using chrome numbers, and a chrome helmet.  This was supposed to be used for just a single race, but it was raced a number of times that season. Nothing like this had ever been done in NASCAR before. There had been chrome numbers, but never a chrome car. This car was so far ahead of it’s time.  Darrell even had a Chrome driver suit that he wore with this car!DSCN09961997 would be the beginning of the end for Darrell Waltrip. He shut down his Winston Cup team in 1998, and joined Dale Earnhardt Inc. midway through the season. He would race for just two more seasons before fully retiring in 2000.

The idea of 7 different schemes seems like standard opperating procedure today, but back in 1997, this was revolutionary. This was unheard of. These schemes were all good, and they worked well, but this surprised some fans. 17 years later, this is the norm rather than the exception. If I did the paint scheme reveiws back in 1997, I would write one article at the beginning of the season, one before the all-star race, and maybe one midway through the season. There were no changes to paint scheme, or if there were, they were very rare.

Tom Thumb will reopen eventually. But whavever the new location, it will never have the same feel as the decades old building were it was once housed. I will miss it. I really will. But I find a bit of irony in that I bought the beginning of an era at the end of another era. I will visit Tom Thumb when they reopen, and I wish them the best of luck. From the residents of Evanston to Tom Thumb, we will miss you, and we wish you the best of luck in your new location!

We also have a paint scheme related news item to discuss.  This last week, NASCAR announced that the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup would have some new features on their cars.  Specifically,  all Chase contenders will have a yellow splitter cover, a yellow window stripe with black letters, yellow roof numbers, and a special Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup decal.  I’ve been speculalting that this might come to be, and now I have proof.  I am not going to discuss how I think it will look, until I have a good idea as to who is in the Chase, and how it will look on their cars.  Here is an illustration of how it looks.

With that out of the way, we move on to…


Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevy SS Another case where it looks like two different designers created the car without speaking to each other. It looks awful. The color scheme is good, so it passes, though just bearly with a D-

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy SS For a Bass Pro Shops scheme it looks really good. It isn’t over designed, has a nice patriotic touch, and has a good color scheme. A+

Clint Bowyer #15 RK Motors Charlotte Toyota Camry Clint’s C scheme but with an even worse color scheme ends in a D-

Greg Biffle #16 3M Throwback Ford Fusions Greg Biffle is holding a contest to pick a throwback sheme for his race at Pocono in August. I would normally grade all four of these seperatley, however they all have the same traits, so I will grade them at once. All four have really good color schemes, and really nice logos, but they are all plagues with modern car numbers as well as modern designs. They simply look awful. I will vote for none of these schemes and give them all an F-

Trevor Bayne #21 QuickLane Ford Fusion A really good design with a really good color scheme. It works very well, A+

Cole Whitt #26 Scorpion Window Film Toyota Camry Good color scheme, good design, though the silver stripe on the bottom is a bit much. A-

Paul Menard #27 Menards/Splash Chevy SS The Splash logo looks really good, and I’ll give it a B+

Joe Nemechek #29 Toyota Cares Toyota Camry Great color scheme, awful design, they average out to a C-

Morgan Shepherd #33 ThunderCoal Chevy SS I liked the other ThunderCoal scheme, but this is just awful. Too many neon colors, and it is needlessly overdesigned. I give it an F

Alex Kennedy #33 MediaCAST Chevy SS Awful color scheme and way too over designed. F

Landon Cassill #40 Gallery Furniture Chevy SS Great color scheme, great simple design, though the 40 could be brighter. A

Kyle Larson #42 Cottonelle Chevy SS Great color scheme, great design A+

Michael Waltrip #66 Royal Teak Toyota Camry Good color scheme, great simple design, A+

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Worldvision Chevy SS Great color scheme, great design, I love that fade, looks great. A+

Ryan Truex #83 Voodoo/Armed Forces Motorsports Toyota Camry A D+ scheme with a new hood logo is still a D+ scheme.

Michael McDowell #95 JPO Absorbents Ford Fusion Another great Levine Family Racing scheme. It is hard to believe how bad they were last year. Great color and design scheme equals an A+ scheme.

Carl Edwards #99 UPS Ford Fusion They took a D- scheme, and made it worse. Awful color scheme, awful design, F-