The Driver Suit Blog-The Gloves Make The Driver-NASCAR Vs. NHRA

By David G. Firestone

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I wanted to get a more modern pair of NASCAR race-worn gloves. With the Ryan Newman gloves I discussed last week, that opportunity presented itself. I delayed both of these articles after the Daytona 500.

Racing is one of, if not the most dangerous sport in the world. No other sport can see an athlete crushed to death and burned to death at the same time. The dangers of the sport are ever present. However, some types of auto racing require heavier protection than others.

NASCAR and many other classes of auto racing only require an SFI 3.3-5 rating, which protects the wearer from second degree burn for 10 seconds. This is usually enough time for a driver to exit the vehicle, or rescue teams to get to the wrecked car. However the nitro categories of drag racing, top fuel dragster and top fuel funny car, as well as top alcohol dragster and top alcohol funny car require the highest safety rating SFI has, a 20, which protects the wearer from second degree burns for up to 45 seconds.  Let’s look at the differences between the two.For the NASCAR side, we will look at these circa 2019 Ryan Newman race-worn gloves. They are a 5 rated pair of gloves, and are very decorated, with numerous designs and logos, since in-car cameras frequently captures images of them. The material the have is very thin. On the NHRA side, we have a pair of John Hale top fuel funny car gloves from his time with Jim Dunn Racing. These have a 20 rating, have no adornment whatsoever, and are very thick. They are designed for a secondary pair of gloves underneath. When a fuel car explodes or crashes into the wall, it might take a bit of time for the car to stop, or rescue teams to get to the car. As such, the gloves have to protect for as long as possible. When compared between the two, the results are night and day. The NHRA gloves look like super armor compared to the NASCAR gloves. The NASCAR gloves look like cheap dollar store gloves compared to the NHRA gloves. It’s amazing how different the safety ratings make the gloves look and feel. The NASCAR gloves feel like the gloves one wears in winter, whereas the NHRA gloves look like the gloves that are used by cooks to pull chicken baskets out of a deep fryer. Next week, The Vest Project continues.

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