The Driver Suit Blog-Introduction to Sports Memorabilia-James Buescher 2010 Race-Worn Gloves

A pair of James Buescher race-worn and autographed gloves from 2010 will be our subject this week.



The Driver Suit Blog-Guy Smith-Bland Name, Great Driver!

smithundershirtBy David G. Firestone

Endurance car racing has had many forms in the US. One of the most noted sanctioning bodies was the American LeMans Series. Founded in 1999 by Don Panoz, owner of Road Atlanta and the brains behind the Petit Le Mans, the American LeMans Series or ALMS was one of the major sports car racing series, in addition to the Grand-Am Road Racing. From 1999 to 2013, American LeMans raced LeMans Prototypes and Grand Touring classes in a number of rovals, and road courses. In 2014, American LeMans and Grand Am merged to create the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which is run by IMSA.

As I mentioned last week, sports car racing doesn’t have the visibility of NASCAR or F1, but they do have a large and dedicated fanbase. Also, while NASCAR tends to have American based drivers, sports car racing attracts drivers from all over the world. One such driver is British driver Guy Smith. While he has a boring name, he has had a great career, winning the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2003 for Team Bentley in the Bentley Speed 8 LeMans Prototype. Prior to racing in sports cars, he raced in the Indy Lights series, then he raced in Champ Car. While racing sports cars, he would alternate between ALMS and Grand Am.

In 2005, Smith signed with Dyson Racing. Together, Smith and Dyson would go on to have a successful partnership for many years. The partnership has 6 wins, 42 podiums, and the 2011 championship. In 2011, the team won a single race, The 2011 Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT, but with 7 podiums in 9 races, they solidly won the championship. During that season, Smith wore this undershirt.smithundershirtThe shirt shows light use, with some very light stains. Guy has signed the front of the shirt and added “Lime Rock 2011”smithundershirtThe thick front collar has a Stand 21 tag sewn into it. The tag has the FIA Certification as well as the Stand 21 logo.smithundershirt-collarThe front has DUNLOP, BP BIOFUELS, THETFORD, MAZDA, DYSON RACING, and CASTROL logos heat-pressed into the white material. Guy has signed the area under the Castrol logo, and added “Lime Rock 2011.”smithundershirt-flogo smithundershirt-sigThe bottom-left side of the shirt features a Stand 21 tag, and sewn into the inside is a wash tag that indicates that the shirt is “50% Aramid 50% Viscose.”smithundershirt-tag1 smithundershirt-tag2The shoulders and sleeves are in a black cloth, as opposed to the white front and back. They have no logos or patterns adornment.smithundershirt-rshoulder smithundershirt-rsleeve-1 smithundershirt-rsleeve2 smithundershirt-lshoulder smithundershirt-lsleeve1 smithundershirt-lsleeve2The back of the shirt is plain white.smithundershirtb smithundershirt-neck smithundershirt-blogoI’m noting something that I noticed. The shirt is 50% Aramid and 50% Viscose. What I find odd is that a racing undershirt would be certified when it is made of material that isn’t known for its fire retardant properties. I had never heard of Viscose prior to this, and from what I’ve been able to find, it’s more of a material used for a t-shirt or shorts, than for a racing shirt. Also, unlike the items I will examine in the coming weeks, this shirt is decently thick, and quite hefty.

It’s also worth noting that the reason there are sponsor logos on the shirt is so the driver doesn’t have to wear his firesuit up while on camera and the sponsors can still get exposure. I will discuss stuff of similar design in the coming weeks. What I’ve noticed is that while it’s practical, it is only being used in NASCAR by Jamie McMurray,

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and Kyle Larson of Ganassi Racing.

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I’m really wondering why this isn’t the standard in NASCAR like it is in Formula 1. It makes logical sense from a comfort perspective, and a sponsor exposure perspective. Every suit is designed with maximum sponsor exposure in mind. I can’t understand why an undershirt wouldn’t receive the same treatment.

Next Week, Formula 1 Month starts!

The Driver Suit Blog-Throwback Thursday-Kenny Irwin Jr.-1997

By David G. Firestone

The late Kenny Irwin Jr. races his Tonka Ford Thunderbird in 1997.

Where do I start with this car? Do I start with the upside-down fade on the door numbers? Do I start with the stripe at the bottom? Do I start with the ugly shades of red and yellow used? I don’t know where to start with this car. A simple red to yellow fade would have worked very well. The needless door number design looks horrid, and adds a color scheme on the bottom. Furthermore, that black and white stripe looks out of place, and it clashes with two logos, Autolite and Raybestos. As you can see, the vinyl wrap era had begun, and this is one of the casualties. Its a horrid look.

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Grades-October 22, 2016

By David G. Firestone

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna/Kansas State University/Beechcraft Chevy SS-Same scheme as Beechcraft, same B+ grade.

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Pink Chevy SS-Pinkwashing is an automatic F.

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Fan Mosiac Ford Fusion-The fan mosaic is a good idea, but get rid of the red stripes, and it would look better. The look would be smoother, and it would make the fan photos the thing to focus on. Still, it’s a good design scheme, and a good color scheme, so I’ll give it a B-

Kyle Busch #18 Snickers Halloween Toyota Camry-Brown and orange isn’t the best color scheme, nor is it the worst. The square design would work better if it were toned down. It’s a mediocre scheme that could be better. It earns a C-.

Gray Gaulding #30 Feed The Children Chevy SS-A horrible color scheme is paired with a bad design scheme. It just barely earns a D- for white being the primary color.

Bobby Labonte #32 Can Am Ford Fusion-Black with yellow lettering is a great look, and this is a great scheme that earns an A.

Joey Gase #32 Midwest Transplant Network/JT Concrete Ford Fusion-For some reason, children’s hand prints on the sides of a race car always look good. Add in a good color scheme and you have an A scheme

Landon Cassill #38 FR8 Auctions Ford Fusion-It’s a decent color scheme, but an awful design scheme. The Front Row template works better. I’ll give this scheme a D+, because the color scheme looks decent.

Brian Scott #44 Goody’s Headache Powders Ford Fusion-The shade of blue is really good, and the smooth look earns an A.

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger Pink Chevy SSPinkwashing is an automatic F.

Cole Whitt #55 Becker Auto Trailers Chevy SS-The light blue doesn’t look good on the black with the dark red. The design scheme is good, but the mismatched blue takes it down from an A to a B+.

Jeffery Earnhardt #83 Starter Toyota Camry-Black, red, and silver works well, and the simple and smooth design looks really good, and earns an A.

Reed Sorenson #98 Harrah’s Casino Toyota Camry-Black, white, and silver works very well, and the design scheme is great. All in all, an A scheme to be sure!

The Driver Suit Blog-Paul Gentilozzi…From Owning IndyCar to Racing Jaguars

gentilozzi-1By David G. Firestone

IndyCar fans hate Tony George with a passion that is hard to describe. In fact, George founded the Indy Racing League after getting kicked out of the CART board of directors. This started the IRL/CART civil war known as “The Split.” The Split, which lasted from 1995 to 2009, more or less devalued the sport to the point that the sport not only lost money during the biggest auto racing boom in history, but also lost sponsors, drivers, and fans to NASCAR. Even today, television and attendance numbers are still down.

I’m convinced that some of the damage could have been prevented in 2003, when Gerald Forsythe, Paul Gentilozzi, and Kevin Kalkhoven purchased the assets of CART. They created Open Wheel Racing Series LLC, which later became Champ Car World Series LLC. From 2004 to 2009 they operated the Champ Car World Series, which kept The Split going, and kept draining the sport. Had Tony George bought CART’s assets, the split could have been eliminated, and maybe the sport could be in a better place. Then again, knowing Tony George, that probably wouldn’t have happened.

Gerald Forsythe is the former owner of Forsythe Championship Racing which was a long time team in IndyCar. Kevin Kalkhoven bought the remains of Pac West Racing, and turned it into KV Racing Technologies, which is still opperational today. Paul Gentilozzi is a real-estate magnate who races cars in his spare time. He won the 1994 24 Hours of Daytona with three other drivers in a Nissan 300ZX. He also won the GTS class in the 2002 24 Hours of Daytona in a Jaguar XKR. He raced Jaguar XKRs for many years, with some success.

From 2009 to 2011, Gentilozzi raced a black and green Jaguar XKR. He did not have much success, with a high finish of 9th at Mid Ohio in 2010. One of his pit crew members wore this Jaguar Green helmet during that time.gentilozzi-1The helmet has numerous scratch marks present, and has obviously been repainted, as the old Savage Designs paint job is still visible underneath the green paint. Some of the scratch marks reveal that the helmet was blue.gentilozzi-1 gentilozzi-2 gentilozzi-3 gentilozzi-4 gentilozzi-5

The inside of the helmet has a radio connection, with the earpieces and wires, but no microphone. The straps are all intact as well.gentilozzi-6While Gentilozzi was primarily a sports car racer. He raced LeMans, and Sebring, in addition to IMSA. While IMSA and other sports car racing groups don’t get the same level of coverage as NASCAR or IndyCar, they have good sized fan bases who are very devoted. Next week, we will examine an undershirt from 2011.