The Driver Suit Blog-NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Racing Uniform Variations

NHRA_EppingWC660-660x400 By David G. Firestone

Editor’s Note, I was going to run an article on driver suits as a marketing tool, but I shelved that for now. I wasn’t happy with the way it was turning out so I decidied to run this instead. DF

Drag racing has been a popular form of auto racing, both to watch and participate. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the top of the mountain in drag racing. Four classes compete in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, top fuel, funny car, pro stock, and pro stock motorcycle. Each has their own unique uniform quirks.zizzovisor-1zizzovisor-1 - Copy

Let’s start with top fuel. Top fuel dragsters are 25 feet long, nitromethane powered and run 10,000 horsepower. While they are traditionally open cockpit, in recent years canopies, introduced by Tony Schumacher have come into style. Schumacher said that when he drives, he wears a 5-layer suit, with two layers underneath that. As the fuel tank is at the front of the car, and the engine directly behind the driver, this style of suit is very necessary. He also wears the older sunglasses style visor, as does TJ Zizzo. I bought this visor from TJ and asked him why he has as much of it blacked out as he does.  He explained that when he is in the car, he needs to focus as much on the track as possible, and it’s easy to get distracted. This visor style helps create tunnel vision, and helps keep him focused. He also said that he blacks out more of the visor, so it looks like this now.

Funny cars are the next category. The name came about when drivers would take a regular car, move the front and rear wheelbases forward, and add large tires on the back wheels. Fran Hernandez, who at the time was head of Mercury’s racing program is credited as the first person to call them funny cars, doing so in 1965. Funny cars are, like top fuel dragsters, nitromethane powered, but these cars are only 8,000 horsepower. The driver suits and helmets are identical in design to top fuel driver suits. Older helmets, such as this Cruz Pedregon model from 2011 have respirators built into them. Since the engine is in front of the driver, breathing in fumes is a concern. However with the new modifications to the cars, these respirators have all but disappeared from the sport.

Pro stocks are next. Pro stocks are 1,300 horsepower, the engine has to be made in the same place as the engine, and use 118 octaine racing gas, instead of nitromethane. Because no forced induction can be used in pro stock, such as turbo charges, superchargers, or nitrous oxide, the cars are very technical. While pro stock drivers tend to wear the same basic driver suits, many drivers choose to wear two-piece suits instead of one-piece suits. I’ve never seen that in NASCAR, IndyCar, or F1.

The last class we will cover is pro stock motorcycle. Pro stock motorcycles are rated at around 375 horsepower, are designed to look like their street counterparts, and the handlebars can’t be used to turn the bike. These uniforms are unlike any other uniform in drag racing, in that fire protection is not their major design function. If something goes wrong in pro stock motorcycle, the rider will most likely be thrown from the bike. As such, the riders wear traditional motorcycle leathers, so that if the worst case scenario happens, the rider won’t be skinned alive.

As with all auto racing classes, safety is fluid, it’s constantly changing. After Scott Kalitta was tragically killed in Englishtown in 2008, a controversial decision was made that due to the power and speed that top fuel and funny cars create, they would lessen the length of the race from a quarter mile, or 1,320 feet to 1000 feet. This hasn’t sat well with fans, but has saved lives in the long run. One of the most critical safety features led to the current safety culture. All top fuel and funny car drivers use t-shaped parachutes. These were invented by Bill Simpson after a drag racing accident. This led to him working with NASA as a parachute consultant. As fate would have it, he ran into Pete Conrad, who was a racer when he wasn’t an astronaut. Conrad introduced Simpson to a material used for parachutes called Nomex. Conrad suggested that it would be a great material for driver suits. Simpson agreed, and the rest is history.


The Driver Suit Blog=Paint Scheme Tracker-March 25, 2015

By David G. Firestone


Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SSNo Change-A

Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SSSame basic scheme, but with a new door design.-B+

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/McDonald’s Chevy SS-Special dual scheme for the Daytona 500, black Cessna on the front, fade to red McDonald’s on the back.-A+

Jamie McMurray #1 Sherwin Williams Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, Red, white and blue with a red line down the center, with the top fades blue to white on top, and white to blue on the bottom.-B+


Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford FusionSame basic design as 2014, but with no gold stripe, vintage Miller Crest, or hop designs on the side.-A++

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford FusionNew redesign, similar in design to Joey Logano’s Shell/Pennzoil Ford, black replaces yellow as the primary color.-A+

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford FusionRedesign from last season, follows the Shell/Pennzoil template.-A+

Brad Keselowski #2 Detroit Genuine Parts Ford FusionNew scheme for 2015, blue Penske template on a black background-C-

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Genuine Draft Ford FusionThrowback scheme that ran from 1990-1996-A+

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller High Life Ford FusionBased on the design that Bobby Allison won the 1983 Sprint Cup Championship.-A+


Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SSNo change-A+

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SSNo change-B+

Austin Dillon #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SSNo Change-F

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SSNo Change-A-


Kevin Harvick #4 Budweiser Chevy SSNo change-A

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmie Johns Chevy SSNo change-A

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback SteakhouseNo Change-A

Kevin Harvick #4 Ditech Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, blue, and white is the primary color scheme-A+


Kasey Kahne #5 Great Clips Chevy SSNo Change-D+

Kasey Kahne #5 Time Warner Cable Chevy SSNo Change-C

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SSComplete redesign from last year, black, and dark blue replaces light blue and silver, and the design has been completely revamped.-C+

Kasey Kahne #5 Liftmaster Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, red and white redesign of the Time Warner scheme.-C+

Kasey Kahne #5 Pepsi Chevy SSNo change-B+


Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford Fusion-New team, new sponsor, red, white and blue is the color scheme.-A+


Alex Bowman #7 Nikko/Toy State Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, Red borders a blue design on the sides and hood.-D-


Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Twisted Tea Ford FusionNo Change-A

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Camping World/Medallion Bank Ford Fusion-New sponsor set for 2015, a redesign of the Fresh From Florida #43 scheme.-F

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Medallion Bank Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, same as Camping World Scheme, but with a darker green.-F

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Medallion Bank/Mercury Marine Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, same as Camping World Scheme, but with a red, white and blue as a color scheme.-B+


Danica Patrick #10 Aspen Dental Chevy SSSame basic design as last year, but the blue ovals on the white are more pronounced.-C

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy Chevy SSNew redesign with more black and less orange.-F

Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy/TaxAct Chevy SS-New sponsor combo for the Sprint Unlimited, front of the car retains traditional GoDaddy design, whereas back quarter panel is TaxAct-C-

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Chevy SS-One race sponsor, will run at Martinsville in March, red, white and black scheme, with diagonal design up the doors.-C-


Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota CamryNew redesign with a much simpler front and more design on the sides.-A+

Denny Hamln #11 FedEx Office Toyota CamrySame redesign as FedEx Express-A+

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota CamrySame redesign as FedEx Express-A+

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota CamrySame redesign as FedEx Express-A+

Denny Hamlin #11 SportClips Toyota CamryNew redesign with a new door design-C-


Casey Mears #13 Geico Chevy SSNo Change.-D-


Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy SSSame color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.-C+

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevy SSSame color scheme as last year, but with a new design on the side.-C+

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil1 Chevy SSNo Change-C+


Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota CamryNo Change-B+

Clint Bowyer #15 Peak Toyota CamryNo Change-B


Greg Biffle #16 Cheez Its Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red with a cheese colored stripe and crackers on the side.-A+

Greg Biffle #16 Clean Harbors Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red white and black design-A-

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford FusionNo change-A-

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Home Defense Ford Fusion-New sponsor, white design with a red and yellow stripe on the bottom, with a net design on the side.-A

Greg Biffle #16 Ortho Bug-B-Gon Ford Fusion-New sponsor, new design, red, black, and white is the primary color scheme.-A+


Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford Fusion-New primary sponsor, blue, and white is the color scheme.-A

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fifth-Third Bank Ford FusionSame color scheme as 2014, but with a new, simpler side design.-A+

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 NOS Ford FusionSame color scheme as 2014, but with an updated design.-B-

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Zest Ford FusionNo Change.-F


Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota CamryNo Change-F-

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry-New design for 2015, with a green background and more emphasis on M&M’s Crispy, as well as a new hood logo.-B-

David Ragan #18 Snickers Xtreme Toyota Camry-New scheme for 2015, brown with a series of fades around the Xtreme logo.-D+


Carl Edwards #19 Stanley Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, yellow, black, and white is the color scheme.-B+

Carl Edwards #19 Aaris Toyota Camry-New team and new sponsor, reddish orange with the Aaris logo used as part of the side stripe.-A

Carl Edwards #19 Comcast Business Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2015, blue, silver and white, with a stripe that starts on the bottom, covers the car number, and takes over the top at the back.

Carl Edwards #19 SportClips Toyota Camry-New sponsor, same design as Denny Hamlin.-C-

Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota CamryNew sponsor for Joe Gibbs, much simpler design.-A+


Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt Toyota Camry-New sponsor, black, green, yellow, and white is the color scheme.-A+

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toyota CamryMuch simpler than the 2014 scheme, with fewer side designs.-A


Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft/Quicklane Ford FusionNo Change-A+


Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change-D

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford FusionThe AAA logo has been straightened up in 2015.-D

Joey Logano #22 Southern California AAA Ford FusionRedesign of the AAA scheme, with Southern California AAA logo in place of the standard AAA logo.-D

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Platnum Ford FusionNo Change-F


J.J. Yeley #23 Dr. Pepper/Maxim Fantasy Sports Toyota Camry-New sponsor for the Daytona 500.  Black on top, white on the bottom, red stripe in between,  Dr Pepper style logo on the door number.-B-

JJ Yeley #23 Dr Pepper Toyota CamrySlight redesign for 2015, car keeps the red on top, new number design, and white on bottom.B-


Jeff Gordon #24 3M Chevy SS-New design for 2015, silver, with red accents and numbers, with a white hood design that extends over the roof and deck-lid.-A+

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta Chevy SSNo Change-A+

Jeff Gordon #24 Pepsi Chevy SS-No Change-A+

Jeff Gordon #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SSMuch simpler redesign, with new hood logo and same color scheme-A+

Jeff Gordon #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SSNo Change-A+

Jeff Gordon #24 Axalta/Fix Auto Chevy SSSame basic Axalta scheme, but with Fix Auto on the side.-A+


Chase Elliott #25 NAPA Chevy SS-New sponsor and car number for 2015, blue is the primary sponsor, with a yellow design on the side.-B


Jeb Burton #26 Live Deals Ford Fusion-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, will have similar design as JJ Yeley, but with orange, black, and white.-B-

Jeb Burton #26 Maxim Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2015, white with black lettering.-A+


Paul Menard #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menard’s Chevy SSNo change-A

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Serta Chevy SSSame basic scheme as 2014, but with more blue on the sides than last year.-C+

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Peak Chevy SSSome slight changes to the stripes, and roof-F

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Duracel Chevy SSNew scheme for 2015, using a black, yellow, and gold version of the Menard’s template.-A+

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Quaker State Chevy SSNo change-C

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/FVP Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, standard Paul Menard Template with silver designs for FVP. -A


Justin Marks #29 American Born Moonshine Toyota Camry-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, has a wood finished look, with white lettering.-A+


Ron Horniday #30 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevy SS-New team and sponsor for 2015. Two-tone green design with white lettering and yellow accents.-C-


Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SSSame color scheme, but the car as a whole has been redesigned-A+

Ryan Newman #31 Quicken Loans Chevy SSNo change-A

Ryan Newman #31 Granger Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, green, red and white, with some designs on the side.-B+


Go FAS Racing #32 Keen Parts Ford FusionSimpler redesign and a much simpler color scheme.-B+

Go FAS Racing #32 C&J Energy Services Ford FusionSame color scheme, but with a different and much more complex side design-F

Mike Bliss #32 Draft Demons Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red and black diagonal stripes with a fire motif at the bottom.-A

Mike Bliss #32 King Taco Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red, gold and white, with a circular design on the sides, and vintage lettering on the quarter panels and hood.-B+


Ty Dillon #33 Yuengling Brewery Chevy SS-New sponsor, red, white, and blue is the primary color scheme.-A+

Ty Dillon #33 Cheerios Chevy SS-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, based on Austin Dillon’s Cheerios scheme, but with a Kroger’s logo on the hood.-A

Brian Scott #33 White Tail Lodge Chevy SSNo change.-D-


David Ragan #34 KFC Ford FusionRedesign for 2015, all white front, KFC style stripes on the back.-A+

David Ragan #34 CSX Ford FusionSame basic scheme, though the word bubble on the hood has been replaced with a CSX logo. -A+

David Ragan #34 Southern Belle Seafood Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, blue, white, and red, follows the “Front Row Motorsports Template” with a stripe that curves above and around the door number, that separates the colors of the car.-A+


Cole Whitt #35 Speed Stick Gear Ford FusionNo Change-A

Cole Whitt #35 Rinnai Filters Ford FusionSame scheme as 2014, different team.-A+

Cole Whit #35 Sprouts Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, red and blue, with a fruit design on the side.-A+


David Gilliland #38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford FusionNo change-A

David Gilliland #38 MDS Ford FusionSame scheme as 2014, but different team.-A-


Landon Cassill #40 Snap 24-7 Fitness Chevy SSSlight redesign from last year, with the black quarter panel replaced with red.-A+

Landon Cassill #40 Cars For Sale Chevy SSNo Change-C-

Landon Cassill #40 CRC 1-Tank Renew Chevy SSNo Change.-B-

Landon Cassill #40 Percon Chevy SS-All red with Percon logos on the hood and sides.-A+


Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SSSame basic design as 2014, but with some sponsor changes on the quarter panel.-B-

Kyle Larson #42 White Target Chevy SSSame basic design as 2014, but with some sponsor changes on the quarter panel.-B-

Kyle Larson #42 Energizer Eco Advanced Chevy SSNew scheme for 2015, different stripe color, fewer logos on the side.-D


Aric Almoriola #43 Eckrich Ford FusionSame basic design, but with a Nathans logo on the rear.-C+

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford FusionNo change-B+

Aric Almirola #43 Fresh From Florida Ford FusionNo Change.-F

Aric Almirola #43 STP Ford FusionNo Change.-A+


Reed Sorenson #44 Golden Corral Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, same design as 2015 #36.-A

Travis Kvapil #44 Phoenix Warehouse Chevy SSNo Change-F


Michael Annett #46 Pilot/Flying J Chevy SS-New car number and design. White is the primary color, with red and yellow accents on the sides and front.-A+

Michael Annett #46 Cypress HQ Chevy SSNew team for Cypress in 2015, some slight stripe changes on the quarter panel, and a darker blue.-F


AJ Allmendinger #47 Better Than Bullion Chevy SS-New Sponsor for 2015, all black with a gold stripe running down the side.-A+

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Best Chevy SSSame basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.-B+

AJ Allmendinger #47 Clorox Chevy SSSame basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.-A

AJ Allmendinger #47 House Autry Chevy SS-New primary sponsor for 2015,  Red sides, with blue roof and posts.-A+

AJ  Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Chilli Beans Chevy SS-New sponsor, yellow to orange to yellow fade across whole car.-A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Hungry Jack Chevy SSSame basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.-A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kingsford Chevy SSSame basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.-A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Scott Chevy SSSame basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.-A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Bush’s Grilling Beans Chevy SSSame basic scheme, some logos have changed on the side.-A

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger Chevy SSNo change-A


Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SSNew design, bears a resemblance to the old Kobalt tools scheme from 2009.-C-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Kobalt Chevy SSNew design, redesigned version of the current Lowe’s scheme.-C-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Pro Services Chevy SS-New design for 2015, same as current Lowe’s scheme, but with PRO SERVICES written on hood and quarter panels.-C-


Justin Allgaier #51 Brandt Chevy SSSame primary design, but the door number has reversed colors.-A+


Brian Vickers #55 Aaron’s Toyota CamrySame basic design as last year, the nose has been changed, the main blue is slightly darker, and the gold has been replaced with light blue-A+

Brett Moffitt #55 Aaron’s 60th Anniversary Toyota Camry-New scheme for 2015, colors are reversed, new logo on the hood.-A+

Brian Vickers #55 Janssen Toyota Camry-Blue, yellow, and orange with a wave pattern across the side.-A+


Brian Scott #62 Shore Lodge Chevy SS-New sponsor for the Daytona 500, Black with white lettering and silver designs.-B-


Mike Wallace #66 Crazy Vapors/X8 Energy Gum Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2015, Hood has Crazy Vapors green stripe design, side has X8 abstract design.-F


Martin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Chevy SSNo Change-A+


Johnny Sauter #83 Dustless Blasting Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2015, green stripes up the hood and roof, white design with Dr Pepper style door numbers.-B-

Matt Dibenedetto #83 Burger King Toyota CamrySlight redesign for 2015, black takes over as primary color, Dr. Pepper design around door numbers.-B-


Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SSNo Change-B+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SSNo major changes,except a Nationwide logo replaces the National Guard logo.-D-

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SSSame basic design but blue has replaced white as the primary color.-B

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Mountain Dew Dewshine Chevy SS-New scheme for 2015, green background with gold lettering and white front bumper.-A+


Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Ford FusionRedesign of last year’s scheme, another example of logo as a stripe pattern.-A

Michael McDowell #95 K-Love Ford FusionTemplate has been redesigned, and the city outline on the rear quarterpanel has been removed.-A


Josh Wise #98 Phoenix Construction Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2015, all white with red lettering, and red and black numbers-A+

Josh Wise #98 Mike Curb 200th Start Ford Fusion-Same as Phoenix Warehouse, but with a different quarter panel and hood design.-A+king,draft demons, mike bliss, southern belle seafood, phoenix warehouse, brian scott, white tail, miller genuine draft, miller high life,mds, king taco, fix auto, crc 1-tank renew, lowe’s pro services, fvp, mercury marine, zest, nos, dewshine, janseen, mike curb, percon, southern california aaa

The Driver Suit Blog-My Thoughts on the NCAA Tournament

By David G. Firestone

We are in the midst of March Madness, the NCAA Basketball tournament. The big story in sports is the tournament, and if Kentucky can go undefeated for the season. As of right now they are 35-0 and if they win, they will be 40-0. Can I ask a real question? Why do we still think college sports are anything except a cash grab for the schools and the NCAA.

It’s general knowledge by now that the NCAA is a cartel. They were formed to prevent injuries in football in 1905, but have since become the overseer of all of the top collegiate sports in the country. They regulate themselves and police themselves with little outside interference. Basically the foxes have been guarding the hen house since the beginning. They want the outside world to believe that they take the regulation seriously.

But this non-profit group cares a lot about profits. The NCAA takes in billions of dollars, pays no taxes, and has insane rules concerning how the players are treated. An athlete on scholarship may only be given, under NCAA rules, room and board, and tuition. The athletes are basically make the schools and NCAA money, but they get nothing. Their names and likenesses are used by the NCAA for profit, but the students get no compensation. They are trying to get to the professional leagues, but only 1% of them ever will. The schools can’t even give the athletes things they need. There was a case where an NCAA hockey player had his watch stolen out of his locker. The coach bought him a new one, and both were suspended for a rule violation.

I’ve already stated my opinions on their penalty enforcement, so I won’t repeat myself. I’m just sick of this hypocritical approach to finances in college sports. I don’t watch college sports, I never have and I never will, until the NCAA changes its rules.

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Grades-March 21, 2015

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Medallion Bank Ford Fusion– Green, yellow, and blue is horrible, and the design is even worse. F

Sam Hornish Jr. #9 Medallion Bank/Mercury Marine Ford Fusion-The design is bad, but the color scheme is amazing, and it brings the scheme up to a B-

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 NOS Ford Fusion-Good color scheme, but I think the car as a whole is over designed, so I’ll give it a B-

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Zest Ford Fusion-Terrible color scheme, awful design, F

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/FVP Chevy SS– I like the Menard’s template, and the color scheme works very well, so I’ll give it an A+

Landon Cassill #40 CRC 1-Tank Renew Chevy SSDecent color scheme, but the design is a bit overdone. If it didn’t have the yellow stripes on the back I would like it more, but this is a decent scheme, worth a B-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Pro Services Chevy SSThis appears to be inspired by the 2010 paint scheme, but that was horrible. It is over designed, and it just looks bad, C-, and I cant’ help but say how disappointed I am for this scheme. C-

Brian Vickers #55 Janssen Toyota Camry-Great scheme and great design earns an A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Mountain Dew Dewshine Chevy SS– Great scheme and great design earns an A+A+

Josh Wise #98 Mike Curb 200th Start Ford Fusion– A+

The Driver Suit Blog-The Weekend Warrior…An Incredible Assett to Racing.

56-NorthamBy David G. Firestone

We’ve talked a lot about many subjects, but let’s get back to…DRIVER SUITS! Yes I know, it’s been a while, but we’re getting back to business! Let’s get started. A lot of race car drivers aren’t full time professionals, but are weekend warriors who race for the love of the sport. Some are be involved in the auto industry, some aren’t. For some, they left the sport and started a business. Nort Northam is one of those people. He is a consignment auto dealer who is also a racer.

He likes to race in endurance racing, and he raced in the 1988 Sunbank 24 at Daytona, now the Rolex 24. Racing a Porsche 911 with Karl Durkheimer, Monte Shelton, and Jim Torres, he started 67th on the grid and finished 33rd. During that race, and for a few races after that, he wore this single-layer driver suit. The suit shows heavy use, with stains and scuff marks.56-Northam 56-Northamb

The suit was made by PBI and has a collar behind the Velcro-shut collar.56-Northam-collar The front has had a patch removed on the left side, and has a SUNBANK 24 AT DAYTONA patch and has NORT NORTHAM embroidered in chain-stitched lettering.56-Northam-rchest 56-Northam-lchestThe belt us unadorned,56-Northam-beltthe legs have a lot of wear on them.56-Northam-legsThe shoulders have safety straps on them. They are cloth strips designed to help pull an incapacitated driver from a damaged race car. They are black so they are visible on the yellow background. It doesn’t look elegant, but it does the job.56-Northam-rshoulder 56-Northam-lshoulder

The sleeves have the same stripe design as the front, and have white cuffs.56-Northam-rsleeve1 56-Northam-rsleeve2 56-Northam-lsleeve1 56-Northam-lsleeve2

The back design has some white material designed to give some slack to the suit. As the suit doesn’t have arm gussets so this is the next best thing.56-Northamb 56-Northam-neck 56-Northam-btorso

The weekend warriors are an essential part to the motorsports industry. While many racing part companies work with the top teams, they also sell to the weekend warriors who race at local tracks, and the occasional regional event. Next week, we will discuss the driver suit as fashion.