The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Grades-January 30, 2016

By David G. Firestone

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS-Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade.

Greg Biffle #16 Kleen Performance Products Ford Fusion-I don’t think I got around to this scheme last year, so I’ll fix that mistake right now. I like the shade of green, and the red looks good too. The interrupted stripe across the side is ugly, and I do not think the black is needed. Also, the liquid design doesn’t make sense. I’ll give it a B+.

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Peak Chevy SS-Bold look, moving away from the Menard’s Template, and, it works. The design scheme looks good, and it has a great color scheme. I give it an A+.

Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SS-Vertical fade looks really good, and has a really good color scheme. A+

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger’s Chevy SS-Same basic scheme as last year, same A+ grade.

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The Driver Suit Blog-Two-Face Tested, Two-Face Approved!

dolphinscoin-10By David G. Firestone

Editor’s Note: I will be traveling to Tucson, Arizona this week, and I’m on the train as you read this. I will have the Friday Feature and Throwback Thursday items next week, but no tracker or grades. In the meantime, here is my Friday Feature for the week.

If you were a kid during the Roman empire, and you were with a friend, and needed something to do, you could play “navia aut caput” or “ship or head.” How it works is that you take a coin, and one picks ship, the other picks head, and then you flip the coin in the air, and whichever side the coin lands on the person who picked that side wins. If you were playing it in England, you were playing “cross and pile.”

That simple game would grow into a bit of dispute resolution that is still used today. While it is used in politics, and business on occasion, coin tossing has become a major part of sports. It’s used in soccer to determine which goal the winning team attacks first. Cricket uses it to determine who bats first and who bowls first. Fencing uses a coin toss at the end of a tied match, where overtime has also ended. But the most well-known usage of a coin toss is in American Football, at the start of the game, to determine who gets the ball first.

Three minutes prior to the game, the team captains meet at midfield, the referee then instructs the visiting team captain to chose heads or tails, which are named for being sides opposite each other. He then flips the coin into the air, and the side that wins can chose to receive, or kick, and to defer their choice until the second half.

The 2004 season was one that Dolphins fans would like to forget. Not only did the Dolphins go 4-12, but they had to deal with Ricky Williams retiring from football. They also had to reschedule two games because of the threat of hurricanes. Their September 26th game was moved from 1 PM to 8:30 PM due to Hurricane Jeanne, and their opening day game was moved from September 12th to September 11th due to Hurricane Ivan. Their opening day game wasn’t great, they lost the game, and lost the coin toss, which was done with this Highland Mint coin.dolphinscoin-1The Highland Mint was founded in the 1980’s, and focuses strictly on sports coins, and custom minting. They make the game coins for the NFL. The game coin from The Super Bowl is taken from the game to the NFL Hall of Fame, so they never end up on the private market. Coins from the regular season make it to the market, and this is one such example.dolphinscoin-9The coin is gold, and has on the head side, a Miami Dolphins helmet, and MIAMI DOLPHINS INAUGURAL SEASON 1966 stamped into the coin. There is also a box for the serial number to be etched, but since this wasn’t one of the limited edition coins that got sold on the collector market, it is blank.dolphinscoin-2 dolphinscoin-3The tails side of the coin has the NFL Kickoff Weekend 2004 logo, and OFFICIAL GAME COIN and OFFICIALLY LICENSED NFL PROPERTIES stamped into the coin.dolphinscoin-4 dolphinscoin-5This is 1 of 2500 coins, and has the serial number 0001 stamped into the edge of the coin, near the bottom of the front.

It has been placed in a plastic holder, and comes in a felt box. It has a tag that comes with the retail coins, but it has the PSA DNA sticker on it, as well as a PSA/DNA lot.dolphinscoin-8I sent Uni-Watch an eBay link for a similar coin, this one from the 2012-2013 Pro Bowl, and they poised the question “[game used coin]…Or would that be pregame-used?” That’s actually an interesting question. It could go either way. The only time this coin was used was during the coin toss, before the kickoff, so you could call it pregame used. On the other hand, this coin did give the Titans the choice of what they wanted to do at the start of the game, and had the game gone into overtime, the coin would have been used a second time, for the same thing, so you could say it was game used.

I find the subject of coins to be interesting, and I’m going to continue this line, when I revisit the Infinite Hero Challenge Coin program in the NHRA next week.

The Driver Suit Blog-Throwback Thursday-Alan Kulwicki-1986

By David G. Firestone

Former Sprint Cup Series champion Alan Kulwicki in his Quincy’s Steak House Ford Thunderbird from 1985 is our feature this week.

Quincy’s Steak House is the feature on the car, with a huge black logo on the yellow hood. The yellow extends to the middle of the C-post, where black takes over, and a large Quincy’s logo, slightly off-center, is the prominent feature. The color scheme is good, and the design scheme is decent, but the door number look odd. They look overdone, with the needless addition of red. Plain black, even with the outline would have worked very well.

I’ve also noticed a couple of things with the Ford Thunderbird in 1986. The grille is much more plain than in 1985, and the headlights have been covered, giving the car a smoother look, and more aerodynamic feel. Also note the small triangle which tells the crew members where to put the jack, something that wasn’t present on the other schemes I’ve done.

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Tracker-January 26-2016

By David G. Firestone

CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #1

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Beechcraft Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, blue top, reverse wave formation across sides, white bottom, with silver accents. B+

TEAM PENSKE #2

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford FusionSame basic scheme as 2015, but Miller has been removed from hood, similar 2014. A+

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford FusionNo Change. A+

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford FusionNo Change. A+

Brad Keselowski #2 Auto Trader Ford FusionNew sponsor for 2016, same as #22 Auto Trader. D-

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3

Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SSSame basic scheme, but the hood logo is slightly larger. B+

Austin Dillon #3 Cheerios Chevy SSNo change. A+

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy SSNo change. A-

STEWART-HAAS RACING #4

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, designed around a Busch throwback can. A+

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Light Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, designed around a Busch Light can. A+

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy John’s Chevy SSNo change. A+

Kevin Harvick #4 Outback Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, mountain design starts near brake duct, instead of at front of car. B+

Kevin Harvick #4 Ditech Chevy SSNo change. A+

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Chevy SS-New scheme for 2016, white background, with the Pegasus wing starting at the side of the front, extending to the door numbers. A+

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #5

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SSNo Change. C+

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

Kasey Kahne #5 Liftmaster Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, geometrical designs on side changed. C

Kasey Kahne #5 Panasonic Toughbook Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2016, blue fade to black, with a couple of wave stripes, and some fade designs on side. A+

Kasey Kahne #5 Quicken Loans Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, red with hockey stick designs on sides, as well as geometrical designs on front and back. C+

TOMMY BALDWIN RACING #7

Alex Bowman #7 Road Rippers Chevy SS-New scheme for 2015, shark motif on front, fades to fire motif and logo on back. F

STEWART-HAAS RACING #10

Danica Patrick #10 Nature’s Bakery Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2016, blue with white lettering on sides, white and black stripe across hood and roof. A+

Danica Patrick #10 TaxAct Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2016, white front, red TaxAct X logo, gray back. A+

Danica Patrick #10 Nature’s Pride Pumpkin Spice Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2016, same basic scheme as Nature’s Pride, but with orange and red color scheme, and some slight redesigns on the side. A+

Danica Patrick #10 Mobil 1 Chevy SS-New scheme for 2016, Bass Pro Shops has left, so the Mobil 1 scheme features a white background, with the Pegasus wing starting at the side of the front, extending to the door numbers. A+

JOE GIBBS RACING #11

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota CamrySlight redesign for 2016, hood logo moved slightly to the right, side stripes wider. A+

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota CamrySlight redesign for 2016, hood logo moved slightly to the right, side stripes wider. A+

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota CamrySlight redesign for 2016, hood logo moved slightly to the right, side stripes wider. A+

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Office Toyota CamrySlight redesign for 2016, hood logo moved slightly to the right, side stripes wider. A+

GERMAIN RACING #13

Casey Mears #13 Geico Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, much more subdued version of the 2015 scheme. A+

Casey Mears #13 Geico Millitary Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, black with camo motif across car. F

STEWART-HAAS RACING #14

Tony Stewart #14 Mobil 1 Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, the Mobil 1 scheme features a white background, with the Pegasus wing starting at the side of the front, extending to the door numbers. A+

Tony Stewart #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevy SSSlight redesign, removal of Bass Pro Shops logo, cleaner rear end of the car. A+

Tony Stewart #14 Rush Truck Stops/Mobil 1 Chevy SSSlight redesign, removal of Bass Pro Shops logo, cleaner rear end of the car. A+

Tony Stewart #14 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SSNo Change. C+

HSCOTT MOTORSPORTS #15

Clint Bowyer #15 Five-Hour Energy Chevy SSNew scheme for 2015, the front stripe has been moved up to the top of the side, and the roof matches with the design. A+

Clint Bowyer #15 Peak Chevy SSNew scheme for 2015, Blue with white geometrical designs on side. A+

ROUSH-FEWNAY RACING #16

Greg Bffle #16 Cheez-its Ford FusionNew scheme for 2015, stripe has been extended down tot he bottom of the car, some slight rearangment of the crackers on the side of the car. A+

Greg Biffle #16 KFC Nashville Hot Ford FusionNew sponsor for 2016, all red with fire designs on quarter panel, and KFC stripes on roof. A+

Greg Biffle #16 Kleen Performance Products Ford FusionNo Change. B+

JOE GIBBS RACING #18

Kyle Busch #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy SSSlight redesign for 2015, stripes are wider, black stripe on bottom gone. F

Kyle Busch #18 Skittles Toyota CamryNo Change. A+

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2016, similar to 2014 scheme, but with vintage characters to celebrate M&M’s 75th anniversary. A+

JOE GIBBS RACING #19

Carl Edwards #19 Stanley Toyota CamryNo Change. B+

Carl Edwards #19 Stanley Toyota CamrySlight redesign for 2016, logos are bigger, outlines are bolder. A

Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2016, green replaces black, box motif replaces stripe motif.  B+

JOE GIBBS RACING #20

Matt Kenseth #20 Dollar General Toytota CamrySlight redesign for 2016, black stripe across bottom now gone. A+

Matt Kenseth #20 DeWalt USA Toyota CamryNo Change. A+

WOOD BROTHERS RACING #21

Ryan Blaney #21 Motorcraft Ford FusionNo Change. A+

TEAM PENSKE #22

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change D

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford FusionNo Change. D

Joey Logano #22 Auto Trader Ford FusionNo Change. D-

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24

Chase Elliott #24 NAPA Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2015, blue with white stripes across side which start at brake duct. A+

Chase Elliott #24 3M Chevy SSNew scheme for 2015, black and white replaces silver, extra geometrical designs on sides. B+

Chase Elliott #24 Kelly Blue Book Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, same basic color scheme but gold has been removed. Scheme has been redesigned into a more haphazardly designed stripe pattern. C+

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #27

Paul Menard #27 Menard’s/Moen Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, black front, extending into Menard’s template, yellow rear. B-

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #31

Ryan Newman #31 Cat Chevy SSSlight redesign for 2016, yellow stripes are narrower, and hood logo is slightly larger. A+

Ryan Newman #31 Granger Chevy SSNo change. B +

FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #34

Chris Buescher #34 Love’s Truck Stops Ford FusionNew scheme for 2016, Front Row Template has been reversed, red replaces back as secondary color. A+

STEWART-HAAS RACING #41

Kurt Busch #41 Monster Energy Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2016, black with yellow and white numbers and lettering. A+

Kurt Busch #41 Haas Automation Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, red front, fades to black rear end.  A+

Kurt Busch #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevy SS-New scheme for 2016, red front, fades to black rear end. A+

CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAM #42

Kyle Larson #42 Target Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, vertical fade from red to white replaces side fade from 2015. A+

RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #43

Aric Almirola #43 Smithfield Ford FusionSlight redesign for 2016, roof numbers turn from yellow to red. B+

RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #44

Brian Scott #44 Twisted Tea Ford FusionAside from the number change, no significant changes for 2016. A

Brian Scott #44 Albertsons’s Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2016, all blue with white hood. A+

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #48

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Chevy SSSlight redesign for 2016, stripes are narrower, and hood logo is slightly forward. C-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Chevy SSSlight redesign for 2016, stripes are narrower, and hood logo is slightly forward. C-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Pro ServicesSlight redesign for 2016, stripes are narrower, and hood logo is slightly forward. C-

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevy SS-New scheme for 2016, designed to look like Superman’s suit. A+

FURNITURE ROW RACING #78

Marin Truex Jr. #78 Furniture Row Toyota CamryOther than the switch from Chevy to Toyota, there are no major changes. A+

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 TaxSlayer Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2016, red top and front, white bottom and back, gold designs separate the two. A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide Chevy SSNew scheme for 2015, reminiscent of old Mountain Dew/Amp Energy scheme. A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Axalta Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2016, red top, fade to yellow bottom, across whole car. A+

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide/Batman Chevy SS-New scheme for 2016, designed to look like Batman’s armor. A+

CIRCLE SPORT/LEAVINE FAMILY RACING #95

Ty Dillon #95 Cheerios Chevy SSNew sponsor and manufacturer for 2016 for Leavine Family Racing, after having merged with Circle Sport, and aligned with RCR. Aside from the new number, and a larger Kroger’s logo, no change. A+

Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Chevy SSNew scheme for 2016, looks similar in design to the 2014, with a black, red, and white color scheme. B+

The Driver Suit Blog-My Thoughts On Getting Ready To Travel

By David G. Firestone

The worst part of a vacation is coming home. The second worst part, at least to me, is packing and getting ready. I do not like waiting to the last minute to do anything. We booked the tickets back in October, and the majority of stuff that I’ve had to do I’ve gotten done since then. At this point, all I need to do is pack a suitcase, pack my laptop, and go to Union Station. Other than that, I’ve gotten everything done.

As I write this, my thoughts turn to those on the East Coast, who have had their lives affected by Winter Storm Jonas. Winter sucks, we can all agree on that. The cold and snow can get to be too much. Many people, my parents included travel south for the winter. On Friday, I’m going to go visit them. I’m not worried about the train trip down, I’m more concerned about the plane ride home. I haven’t gotten on an airplane in 11 years, and I’m really worried about it. It’s going to be at least three hours I’m in the air, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle it. I’m hoping that booze will alleviate my stress…

While I will miss the Rolex 24 at Daytona, I will DVR whatever I can of the race. I’m not an endurance racing fan per se, but it’s the beginning of the racing season. I’m waiting for the racing season to begin and I can hardly wait!

I have Throwback Thursday and Friday Feature articles ready to go, I’m not going to worry about the Tracker and Grades until I get home. I may or may not do a My Thoughts On, but it really depends on a few things. I will also do a couple of things down in Tucson that I will write about when I get home. Stay tuned.

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Grades-January 23, 2016

By David G. Firestone

Brad Keselowski #2 Auto Trader Ford Fusion-Same scheme as Joey Logano, same D- grade.

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Chevy SS-Same scheme as Tony Stewart’s, same A+ grade.

Danica Patrick #10 Mobil 1 Chevy SS—Same basic scheme as Tony Stewart’s, same A+ grade.

Greg Biffle #16 KFC Nashville Hot Ford Fusion-KFC has a really good shade of red, and the whole design works well. I also like the flame motif at the back, and the stripes on the roof. All in all, I can’t give it any lower than an A+.

Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota Camry-The black car was bold look, but the shade of green here could use some tweaking. The box motif is a bit overdone as well. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, it’s a B+ scheme.

Joey Logano #22 Auto Trader Ford Fusion-Same scheme as last year, same D- grade.

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevy SS-The Superman motif is really good, and it’s really well done. I like the detail in the suit too. It’s worth an A+.

Brian Scott #44 Albertsons’s Ford Fusion-It’s a simple, yet attractive scheme with a great color scheme. I give it an A+.

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Bass Pro Shops Chevy SS-Of all the schemes I have seen so far, this is the worst of them all. Orange can be a great color when used right, but this is just too much! The yellow clashes with it, the black works, and the camo looks out of place. It’s just a mess, and I give it an F.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Nationwide/Batman Chevy SS-New scheme for 2016, designed to look like Batman’s armor. A+

Ty Dillon #95 Cheerios Chevy SS-Same basic scheme as last year, same A+ grade.

Michael McDowell #95 Thrivent Financial Chevy SS-Bit of a downgrade from last year, the old template, which I really liked, was good, but the new scheme looks forced, and the color change doesn’t help. Still, it’s not horrible, and it’s worth a B+

The Driver Suit Blog-Pit Crew Mix and Match Suit

7-annettBy David G. Firestone

You hear of a football player who also played baseball in college. John Elway and Deon Sanders were examples. What you don’t hear that often is a championship hockey player turned race car driver. However, Michael Annett is just that. A former Waterloo Black Hawks 2004 Clark Cup Championship hockey player, Michael Annett was too small to play hockey, so he started racing. He raced in the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series, though he didn’t win in either. He did score 7 top 5’s and 34 top 10’s in six years in the Xfinity Series, and a top 5, and 2 top 10’s in the Truck Series, before joining the Sprint Cup in 2014, for Tommy Baldwin Racing.

In 2014, Annett’s first season in the Sprint Cup, Annett and Tommy Baldwin Racing did not have much success. In 36 starts, he didn’t even score a top 10, and only led 5 laps, while driving the Pilot/Flying J Chevy SS. During that season, two members of his over the wall the pit crew wore each part of this two piece suit.7-annett 7-annett-pantThe jacket has some light wear on it. The pants have some wear on the cuffs.7-annettThe right chest has a SPRINT CUP SERIES logo, and a GOODYEAR logo embroidered into it.7-annett-rchestThe left chest has Chevy Bowtie, that was just recently used in NASCAR, SUNOCO, and TOMMY BALDWIN RACING logos embroidered into it.7-annett-lchestThe front of the jacket has a large PILOT logo embroidered into it.7-annett-flogoThe warranty tag is located under the zipper, and has the name SIMMONS written into it in blue Sharpie.7-annett-tag1 7-annett-tag2

The right shoulder has a PILOT logo on the epaulet, and an IMPACT! logo is present as well.7-annett-rshoulderThe right sleeve has an IMPACT logo, and logos for ALLSTATE PETERBUILT, MULTIPRENS USA INC., and POWERLIFT embroidered into it. PILOT television logos are present at the end of the sleeves.7-annett-rsleeve1 7-annett-rsleeve2The left shoulder is identical to the right shoulder.7-annett-lshoulderWith the addition of a NASCAR logo, the left sleeve is nearly identical to the right sleeve.7-annett-lsleeve1 7-annett-lsleeve2The back of the jacket shows some light wear.7-annettbThe back of the neck has the car #7, and PILOTFLYINGJ.COM, and MICHAELANNETT, with Twitter and Facebook logos embroidered into it.7-annett-neckThe back logo is a FLYING J logo, which is embroidered into the suit, and shows some wear on it.7-annett-blogoThe set comes with a set of pants. The pants were issued to a crew member named HOUSTON. They show some wear, but are in good condition, aside from the cuffs.7-annett-pant 7-annett-pant-bThe warranty tag is in the back of the waist, and has the name HOUSTON written in Sharpie on it.7-annett-pant-tag1 7-annett-pant-tag2The right leg has a FLYING J logo embroidered into it in television position.7-annett-pant-rlogoThe right cuff has some slight wear on it, and the cuffs have elastic loops on them.7-annett-pant-rcuff1 7-annett-pant-rcuff2The left leg has a design identical to the right leg.7-annett-pant-llogoThe left cuff shows a little more wear than the right cuff.7-annett-pant-lcuff1 7-annett-pant-lcuff2The dangers pit crews face while working on cars are very real, and equipment like this can save the lives of crew members involved in fire-related accidents.

Editor’s note: Next week, I will be away, visiting my parents in Tuscon, Arizona. I’m taking Amtrak down there, and flying home. This will mark the first time in 11 years I have been on an airplane, and I’m nervous. As for The Driver Suit Blog, I will have two Friday Feature articles ready to go, as well as two Throwback Thursday articles. The tracker, and paint scheme grades will wait until I get home. Also, I will have something special planned during the trip, which I think you all will enjoy! See you then!