Season 4 ends with a Jeff Purvis Porter Cable press kit from 2000.
For my last Friday Feature on vacation, I present my autographed baseball collection! I’ll be back next week!
Black, gold, orange, and white is a bit of a bold color scheme. That said, the design works very well. The stripes aren’t over done, the logos work well with the color schemes, and the car looks good as a whole. I like the idea of the front suspension and front wing being one in the same. I also see another instance of a useless windshield setup here. All in all, it’s an A scheme.
The late Jason Leffler raced for MBNA in 2000, and has this press kit which is autographed.
She has 22 national event wins, 2 Pro Stock Championships, is a former junior dragster champion, and even has had a Disney Channel movie made about her life. She is the 35th woman to win an NHRA event, the first woman to win a Pro Stock race, and the first woman to win a Pro Stock championship. Yet Erica Enders-Stevens isn’t flashy, or uptight. She remains humble and devoted to racing.
Erica started her racing career in 1992, in the first Junior Dragster season. She would win the second race of her career. After earning 38 wins in Junior Dragster, she moved up to Super Gas, earning a win in Super Gas, at Houston, her home town track. She joined the Pro Stock ranks in 2005 with Cagnazzi Racing. She was the first woman to qualify in the top half of the field, made the final round in Chicago, and won more rounds than every other woman in the history of the category COMBINED!
2011 saw Erica beat Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch in the first round of the Gatornationals, and set a new Pro Stock speed record that same event. At the 2012 Route 66 Nationals, she won her first Pro Stock Wally, and her boyfriend Richie Stevens Jr. proposed to her. 2012 saw her win three more races. 2013 saw her win two races, the last with Cagnazzi Racing.
In 2014, she joined Elite Motorsports, and that could be considered her breakout year. She had 6 wins, the most of her career up to that point, and the most of any woman in the class up to that point. She also won the K&N Horsepower Challenge, and earned her first Pro Stock championship. 2015 would see her win her second Pro Stock Championship, this time winning 9 races, the most of any woman in a single season in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and solidifying her rank as second on the list of most wins by a female driver with 22.
2016 saw a shift in Pro Stock equipment rules, the first since 1982. Elite made the decision to switch from Chevy to Dodge, with disastrous results. While KB Racing thrived, Elite struggled, Erica went from a championship driver, to a driver who struggled to win rounds. Her frustration was visible, but she kept on fighting. 2017 has seen her return to Chevy horsepower, and she has had a career resurgence.
The first championship came in 2014. Her crew rallied around her, and helped her win six races that season. During an event win, and the championship celebration, a crew member was issued these two win hats.The first hat, a yellow event win hat is in great condition.The left side has 2014 on the brim, and the PRO STOCK WINNER patch sewn into it.The back of the hat has an NHRA logo embroidered into it. On driver hats, the track location is on the Velcro closure, but on crew hats, this is left blank.The right side features the official Mello Yello Drag Racing Series slogan “GO ON YELLO embroidered into it.The top of the cap has black eyelets, which are for keeping the wearer cool, and a black squatchee, which is the button on top of the cap.The inside of the cap is in good condition, and the under-brim has GO ON YELLO heat-pressed into it in yellow ink on black material.2014 saw Erica Enders-Stevens win her first Pro Stock championship. Surrounded by crew members and family, she celebrated with her over-sized Wally Championship trophy. During that celebration, one of her crew members wore this white championship hat. The white hat is possibly inspired by John Force’s tendency to wear white hats. I got her to sign it at the Route 66 Nationals
The white hat is in great condition, with Erica signature on the brim in black Sharpie.
Like the race winner’s hat, the left side has 2014 on the brim, but this one has the PRO STOCK CHAMPION patch sewn into it.The back of the cap has an NHRA logo embroidered into it, and CHAMPION embroidered on the Velcro closure.
As with the race winner’s hat, the right side features the official Mello Yello Drag Racing Series slogan “GO ON YELLO embroidered into it.The top of the cap has the black eyelets, and the black squatchee.The inside of the cap is in good condition, and the under-brim has GO ON YELLO heat-pressed into it in yellow ink on black material, same with the yellow hat.Erica Enders-Stevens has had a great career, and has broken ground for women in the NHRA, even when it seems that is no longer possible. Her career is rebounding after a bad season, having won the New England Nationals at Epping, her first event since 2015. She loves what she does, and cares deeply about her craft.
Next week I’ll discuss my baseball memorabilia collection.
The stripes up the sides are a bit overdone, but they work with the color scheme. I do like the red background near where the driver sits. Is the split down the middle of LIDTKE supposed to be like that, or is that a mistake caused by the body panel design? I’m going to guess its part of the design. It’s a C scheme.
Andy Santerre and Kenny Wallace split driving duties in 2000 for Lance Snacks. This press kit is of similar vintage.
An annual summer tradition of mine is to use all of my vacation time in July. Another annual tradition is to go to the NHRA Route 66 Nationals. I’m a drag racing fan, and I love to attend the Route 66 Nationals every year. It’s fun to go from Chicago to Joliet and watch drag racing. One of the NHRA’s main selling points is that “every ticket is a pit pass.” In NASCAR, IndyCar, and Formula 1, pit passes are two things: extra and expensive. In the NHRA, everyone can see the cars up close, and meet the drivers.
When racing comes to town, drivers will do a number of signings in the area. Normally, my schedule doesn’t allow me to do these, but this year I had the opportunity to do a John Force and Robert Hight signing at an Advance Auto Parts in Chicago. The team brought a show car, gave out Monster samples,and I got to meet 16 time Funny Car champion John Force and Robert Hight, and got two signed hero cards. On Saturday, my long time buddy Matt and I went to Route 66. There were quite a few classic race cars there,
and the racing was spectacular. Matt had never been to a racing event before, so I had to show him the ropes. I did get him some autographs. I was very into getting autographs this year, because I had made a book of my racing selfies, and I tried to get every driver I met. I wound up getting a lot of them including Hector Arana, Jack Beckman, Antron Brown, John Force, Robert Hight, Clay Millican and Leah Pritcett. I also got Gary “Mr Norms” Dyer, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen, Connie Kaletta, and Arnie “The Farmer” Bestwick.I bought a championship cap from a crew member of Erica Enders-Stevens when she won the 2014 Pro Stock championship. I was fortunate enough to get her to autograph it…but more on that last week. I also brought a Riley’s Kids pit crew shirt, and got it siged by Andrew Hines, Clay Millican, Matt Hagan, Robert Hight, John Force, and Ed Krawiec. While I was getting the Leah Pritchett autograph, John Schnatter, better known as Papa John, founder of Papa John Pizza started signing autographs, and I got one, and a selfie with him! I also got a selife with Matt Hagan on Saturday.Drag racing artist Kenny Youngblood was giving out custom prints, so I got one of the legendary Chi-Town Hustler. I also have an older Cruz Pedregon print from a few years ago.I also got an Infinite Hero challenge coin, this one has some significance behind it, since Terry Chandler, who funds Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. passed away from brain cancer on the 4th. I’ve never discussed this on The Driver Suit Blog, but I’m not a fan of slanted logos on the sides of Funny Cars, but when it comes to Cruz Pedregon’s Snap On Funny Car that was raced at Route 66, I can’t help but be impressed. The logo is angled so that when the body is raised, the logo is perfectly visible. It does look cool.As for the racing action, it was great like always! Then again, a terrible day at a drag racing event beats a great day anywhere else! I had a great meal to boot! Saturday was a lot of fun!Sunday came, and I returned to Route 66, this time with Vananrd, another long time friend of mine. The racing was great, and the pit area was fun too. I did get to meet Coutrney Force, and get a selfie, as well as Jack Beckman and Jim Campbell. I had a great time watching the racing with great friends, and that’s what being a racing fan is all about.
Next week, I’ll examine the Erica Enders-Stevens caps a bit more closely.
The paint scheme itself is really good. The dark red with the white stripe design works very well, and looks great. The car itself is kind of odd. Did Hot Wheels design it? It looks like something that would be sold as a Hot Wheels car. This actually looks like many future tempts to streamline top fuel dragsters. These attempts came back to haunt many who drove them. This paint scheme earns an A.
Parnelli Jones’ son PJ had an uneventful racing career, and this press kit comes from 2000.