The Driver Suit Blog-Ryan Newman’s Non-Race Used Gloves

By David G. Firestone

I cover a lot of topics here on The Driver Suit Blog, but one thing I haven’t touched is the category of signed non-race used gloves. I’ve covered race-used gloves and signed race used gloves before. Drivers will sign most things, so a brand new pair of racing gloves isn’t that strange. From my perspective, I’m into race-used memorabilia, instead of replica items, for obvious reasons.

Nicknamed The Rocket Man, Ryan Newman has done a lot in his NASCAR career. He won the 2008 Daytona 500, the 50th Anniversary of the Daytona 500, the 2013 Brickyard 400,, and the 2002 Winston. He has 18 wins in the Cup Series, 7 wins in the Xfinity Series, and 1 win in the Truck Series. At some point, he autographed a series of Simpson SFI-certified gloves, which are unused, and in great condition, showing no use at all. The right glove has the SFI certification. The glove is signed just below the fingers, and is the duller of the two signatures. The left glove is rather unadorned, but has the brighter of the two signatures. OK, with that done, let’s get to:


One of my favorite chicken recipes is:

Hasselback Fried Chicken

5 Servings


5 medium sized chicken breasts

2 cups flour, sifted, in a bowl

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups breadcrumbs

3 liters oil


1-Preheat the oil to 160°C/380°F.

2-Take each chicken breasts and cut parallel lines almost all of the way through, around 1/2 a cm apart, down the length of each breast.

3-Dip the breasts in the flour, making sure it gets down all the slits, then shake off the excess.

4-Dip them in the eggs and shake off the excess then roll them thoroughly in breadcrumbs.

5-Pick them up cut side up with a pair of tongs, letting them drape over the sides, then dip them in the hot oil, letting them cook to hold their shape before letting go and letting them cook in the hot oil for around 4 minutes, until brown and cooked through.

For the next couple of weeks, I will examine some victory lane caps. Next week, I will look at a couple of Jason Line caps.


The Driver Suit Blog-A Dave Mader Suit of Unknown Use

By David G. Firestone

Hailing from Maylene, Alabama, Dave Mader III was a driver who had some success in the lower echelons of auto racing, but on the national level, didn’t really do much. He beat Mark Martin at the 1978 Snowball derby. He also scored four consecutive championships in the All-American Challenge Series win the 1991 Michigan ARCA 200, and had one top 5, and 9 top 10’s in the Xfinity Series, but his career results are otherwise unremarkable.

Coming off a 1992 where he raced 10 races in the Cup and Xfinity Series, it looked like Dave would have a ride for 1993. While he did race in the NASCAR Southeast Series, he didn’t race in the Cup Series again, though he did race in other series. This Simpson custom made double-layer suit was prepared for Mader sometime in the 1990’s. I’ve noticed something odd about the Winston Cup logo, but more on that later. The suit was worn, as it shows decent use, including stains on the yellow stripes.The collar is a Velcro version, and is black outlined with yellow piping.The standard Simpson warranty label is in the cowl.On the right chest, there is a zippered pocket. On that pocket are a couple of Simpson patches, and DAVE MADER embroidered.On the left chest, there is a NASCAR WINSTON CUP patch circa 1993-1996. The patch is covering something on the suit, but I can’t figure out what it is.The front torso is unadorned, except for the quilt pattern.The black belt is unadorned, except for the white stitching.The legs have white and black stripes up the side that extend to the arm pits. They have no logos, and are boot cuffs.The shoulders have black epaulets, outlined in white piping. The right sleeve is unadorned, except for a small Simpson patch near the cuff. The left sleeve is unadorned. The back of the suit is unadorned, and doesn’t show any wear. It’s rare that I’ve encountered a suit where I can clearly tell it has been used for some time, but not been able to find out anything more than that. Simpson stopped adding flag tags indicating when the suits were made around the mid 1990’s. The Winston Cup Series patch would date it 1993-1996, but since it appears the patch was added at a later date, this doesn’t help much. I’m going to go with what I have already, since I’ve hit the wall in terms of what and where I can search.

Next week, a pair of Ryan Newman autographed gloves.

The Driver Suit Blog-NASCAR Napkin Rings Revisited

By David G. Firestone

The tradition of giving special rings to teams that win championships in sports in the United States dates back to 1922. After winning the World Series, the New York Giants issued the first championship ring, and the trend has caught on. In the 1990’s a new form of this trend came in to wide spread use in NASCAR, the championship napkin ring.

I’ve talked about NASCAR banquet rings before. They just fascinate me. I’ve understood the significance of championship rings, who doesn’t. But I’ve never seen these kinds of rings before, where they were enlarged, and used at the banquet as napkin rings until I came across these NASCAR example.

These over sized rings were used as napkin rings for team banquets and then the attendees were allowed to keep them. They were awarded for winning a race, and designed in the same style as championship rings.

In 1993, he won the Daytona 500, the race came down to the white flag as Dale Jarrett passed Dale Earnhardt in what became known as “The Dale and Dale Show.” With his father Ned in the broadcast booth calling the race, Dale Jarrett won the race, his second career victory. His first, incidentally, came at Michigan in 1991, while driving by the Wood Brothers. This ring was made for the banquet. It shows some wear on the inside. The top is a traditional design, one side has a picture of Dale Jarrett, his signature and #18. The other side has a picture of the car sandwiched in between INTERSTATE BATTERIES RACING and JOE GIBBS RACE TEAM. The inside shows some wear in the form of spots. In 1994, he won his third race, the Mello Yello 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He won after an engine failure claimed Geoff Bodine and a late crash destroyed the cars of Ricky Rudd and Jeff Gordon. This ring, almost identical in design to the Daytona 500 ring was prepared for the banquet. The only difference is that the #18 in the center of the top of the ring is in yellow, as the race was sponsored by Mello Yello. The small spots on the Daytona 500 ring are present here as well. This next one is from the 1995 Coca Cola 600, which was won by Bobby Labonte. During that race, he started 2nd, led 85 laps, and his brother Terry finish second. It was his first Sprint Cup win, and is done in a gold colored metal, with Labonte’s image, car number and signature on one side, and an image of his car on the other side. It briefly spread to Roush Racing, where, at the 1997 banquet, these rings were issued to Jeff Burton’s crew for his victory in the 1997 Hanes 500 at Martinsville. During that race, he started 10th and led 92 laps. This silver ring with an enameled 99 logo, a Roush Racing logo, car logo and signature on one side, and an Exide Racing Team logo, and crossed checkered flag logo on the other side. In 1997, Texas Motor Speedway hosted their first race, the Interstate Batteries 500. The event saw Dale Jarrett on the pole and Jeff Burton winning the race. This proves my theory that Interstate Batteries was behind the rings. This pewter ring was prepared for the race. I haven’t been able to figure out if this is was used at a banquet, or was sold in the gift shop. But it’s nearly identical design and style is hard to ignore. Since Interstate Batteries was doing this for Joe Gibbs racing before this race, and then this ring was made for that race, there is no doubt in my mind that Interstate Batteries was the driving force behind that.   Above and beyond that, it makes sense that Jeff Burton’s team would do that, since at that time, they were sponsored by Exide Batteries, a competitor to Interstate. Exide had to have found out what Interstate was doing, and once Jeff Burton began winning races, Exide decided to join in the fun. It would also explain why there don’t seem to be any examples of any other teams making these rings besides Joe Gibbs Racing, and Roush Racing. 

Ok, now with that out of the way, let’s stay in 1997, and look at a new design that Bobby Labonte’s team was given. The 1997 Napa 500 at Atlanta was the season finale. Jeff Gordon won the championship over Dale Jarrett by 14 points. Bobby Labonte won the race. It’s the same design as the other rings, except it is made of pewter. The material change is very evident in that it shows scratches and more chips than their brass counterparts.   Pewter didn’t last too long, and they switched back to brass by 1999. By 1999, the rings were redesigned as well. The driver profile hasn’t changed, but on the other side, a new logo design takes over the car logo. The crest of the ring has a bigger #18 and a glaze around it, instead of a cheap enamel.
The silver color returned in 2000, which culminated in Bobby Labonte winning the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship over Dale Earnhardt. One of the four races he won was the 2000 Dura Lube / Kmart 400 at Rockingham. This brand new design was prepared. A new #18 panel was designed, with the sponsor panel unchanged. The crest has been redesigned with car color on the stone area, and bigger lettering on the front. 5 years later, in 2000, Labonte won the won the 2000 Dura Lube / Kmart 400 at Rockingham.  He started third, and led 134 laps.  This napkin ring was made as a response.

Also in 2000, Bobby Labonte UAW-GM Quality 500, again at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He started 2nd, and led 37 laps. This ring was given at the banquet to the attendees, it is silver, with an enameled Interstate Batteries logo on the top, Labonte’s name and car number on one side, and Interstate Batteries and Joe Gibbs Racing logos on the other side.

Next week, a vintage driver suit.

The Driver Suit Blog-The Goal of All Athletes In Their Respective Sports

By David G. Firestone

Anyone who plays sports, or competes in competitions does so with one goal in mind…winning. They will say they do it because it is fun, or for the love of the game, but they really just want to win. To the victor go the spoils, and the spoils include pride, bragging rights, and the trophies.

Trophies can come in many shapes and sizes. Many older trophies combine form and function, in that they serve every day functions, such as this tea service from 1911. It consists of a tea pot1914-tea-service-2, creamer1914-tea-service-11, and sugar bowl. 1914-tea-service-18It was won by a wrestler for a first place win at an event, and the pot has “1P, alle 83 kg, 1914-tea-service-41914-tea-service-3Hans Van Paini Kilp, V&Us Jyry 1911, 14,15” engraved into it. Kans Val Paini Kilp means Kansainvälinen Paini Kilpailu or international wrestling competition.  The handle of the pot has become detached at the bottom, and evidence of repair work is evident1914-tea-service-6 1914-tea-service-5. The pot also shows signs of age, with numerous scratches, scuffs, and chips.1914-tea-service-7 1914-tea-service-8 1914-tea-service-6 1914-tea-service-10 1914-tea-service-9 The matching sugar bowl is in much the same state, but overall is in good condition.1914-tea-service-16 1914-tea-service-17 1914-tea-service-18 1914-tea-service-19 1914-tea-service-20  The creamer has a dent in it, just under the spout, and shows the same age wear that the tea pot and sugar bowl show.1914-tea-service-11 1914-tea-service-12 1914-tea-service-13 1914-tea-service-14 1914-tea-service-15 The really interesting thing is that I have an original cabinet photo, taken in Helsinki Finland where Hans can be seen with this very tea service.1914-tea-service-21 1914-tea-service-22

This vintage tray from 1915 has a very similar inscription as the tea service, and while I believe that they were won by the same person, I have no proof of this.1915-tray1 1915-tray2 1915-tray3 1915-tray4 1915-tray5 1915-tray6 1915-tray7 1915-tray8 1915-tray9 1915-tray10 1915-tray11 1915-tray12 1915-tray13 1915-tray14 1915-tray15

Albert Elko was the mayor of McKeesport Pennsylvania from 1966-1970, serving only one term. He was not very well liked, having been somewhat corrupt. During his tenure, he gave out these keys to the city.mckeesportkey-1 The key is a large heavy brass key, about 4 inches long, and has two black circles, one on each side. One circle has the city seal, mckeesportkey-3the other has a logo with “Greetings Mayor A Elko” etched into it.mckeesportkey-4 A key to the city is a unique item to have in any form.mckeesportkey-2

Sometimes a trophy can take an unusual form. Such is the case with this treasure chest from the PYC Regatta in 1973, won by Cotton Blossom II.regatta-chest1 Measuring 10 inches long by 7 inches wide, by 6 ½ tall, and made out of wood, this black treasure chest has been painted black, had some decorative elements added to them, and has a plaque stating “Davy Jones Locker Regatta Winner Overall PYC 1973.” regatta-chest5 regatta-chest6The inside has been lined with red felt. regatta-chest7There is a small chip on the back of the lid.regatta-chest3 It is a very appropriate design for a sailing trophy.regatta-chest2 regatta-chest3 regatta-chest4 After a long and successful golf career, Arnold Palmer worked with a number of golf courses, owning Bay Hill, and designing others. His group took the Kings Bay Country Club, which has been founded in 1949, and in 1990 redesigned it to form the Deering Bay Country Club. This crystal trophy was awarded to a “Member-Guest” winner in 2001.deering-bay-1 deering-bay-3 It is 18 inches tall, is in perfect condition, and is very heavy. The lid can be removed, and is in perfect condition.deering-bay-2 deering-bay-4 deering-bay-5 deering-bay-6

Next Week, some NASCAR Napkin Rings.

The Driver Suit Blog-The Goals of All Drivers in Racing

By David G. Firestone

For this week, we will focus on collecting trophies. Drivers race for two things, the love of the sport, and to win. Climbing out of the car in victory lane feels good, and being presented a trophy for winning feels even better. Interestingly, trophies and awards from NASCAR and other racing series are frequently finding their way into private collections, such as mine. It might seem odd that trophies make their way into private collections, but there are a myriad of reasons for this.

One reason for this is that after their racing career ends, drivers will sometimes need to make some money, and will sell them. Other times, they are sold to raise money for charity. Sometimes it is because they need more space. After a driver passes away, the family will sell off the trophies, because they don’t have the same meaning to the rest of the family. In any event, these artifacts are unique items to collect, and are as unique as the drivers who won them.

Drivers have been awarded everything from surfboards, wine bottles, and guitars, to grandfather clocks, and gas pumps. The grandfather clock is given out to winners at Martinsville was started in 1964. The story goes that track founder Henry Clay Earles was talking with Curtis Turner, and in the course of conversation, Turner mentioned he did not have the room for trophies, and had to give some away, so he decided to award a trophy with a legitimate function, and as luck would have it, Ridgeway Clocks had a factory 3 miles away from the track. Earles gave the first grandfather clock to Fred Lorenzen when he won the 1964 Old Dominion 500, and the rest is history.

Interestingly, giving trophies that had everyday functions is a lot more common than most people realize. This example is a silver footed tray.  It was awarded to the winner of the Oilzum Motor Oil Trophy Race at Onteora Speedway in Olive New York.  The name of the winner, and when the race was run has been lost to history.  It is 21 inches long, and 17.5 inches wide. It looks as though it could have been used for a tea service or as a serving tray for food at a party. It has some scratches across the front, but for a trophy as old as it is, it is still in very good condition.

Award and function combine again in this 4 inch tall silver mug given to the winner of something called the SCCA Rallye on December 1, 1957. It has not fared as well as the tray, showing rust spots and discoloration.

Like many national racing sanctioning bodies, The Sports Car Club Of America or SCCA has several regions that have their own racing. Other sanctioning bodies that have regions are NASCAR, and the NHRA, to name a few. While some drivers go on to national success, many drivers come to be great in one specific region.

The Southern Indiana is one of 115 regions, which are divided in to nine divisions. One such region is the Southern Indiana Region, which holds events in Southern Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. One driver who raced in a number of events was a driver named Walter Scott. Racing from at least 1960 to 1995, Scott won a number of different awards and trophies, which survive in my collection, including this small bowl. The bowl is for a 10th place finish for an unnamed event or series in 1960, and is in great condition. For another unnamed event or series in 1962 , Scott finished 10th. He was awarded this small bowl as a result. Walter Scott was a navigator for a driver in something called the “Thimsen’s Terrible Rallye” in 1965. The duo finished 2nd. This trophy was awarded to him for that 2nd place finish. For a third place finish in an unnamed Rallye in 1970, Scott was awarded this small bowl. It has some scratches. 1973 had Walter Scott perform well, and winning this small Thimsen Memorial Trophy for Rallyist Of the Year, which has some small scratches and dings. That same year, Scott won a small bowl for finishing 7th in something called the SIR Concourse, which shows some scratches. Walter Scott was still going in 1988, where he won this large trophy for the 1988 Year End Award for finishing 6th place. It doesn’t show any damage. In 1995, the Southern Indiana Region celebrated 40 years. Walter Scott had been a member for 35 years, and was awarded this plaque clock to commemorate his long time with the SIR. In 1996, Walter Scott competed in a Rallye called the “Tulips and Other Spring Flowers,” where he finished first in his class. He was awarded this small plaque as a result. It is in great condition. The checkered flag is synonymous with racing. While no one is really sure when the checkered flag was first used, photographic evidence dates it to at least 1906. The origin of the design is also lost to history as well. Since it is so iconic, the checkered flag is used as a trophy in many forms of racing. This example is from the Doylestown Quarter Midget Race Club which is based in Honeybrook Pennsylvania. It is 24 inches square and has the wooden pole still attached. A patch on the front states that this was awarded to the “FEATURE WINNER, DQMRA.” The awarding of small trophies was and is very popular, and this is an example. It is a 6.25 inch tall chalice awarded to The Best Beginner of the 1966 Rusters Run. It shows some staining from age, but it is in great condition This small wine goblet was awarded El Paisano Rally Race in 1969. It is about 6 inches tall, and like the Ruster’s Run chalice, it shows some stains but is in overall good condition. There is something to be said for a traditional trophy. This example is a trophy from Springfield Ozark Dragway, which was for many years, a mainstay of the NHRA. This huge trophy was awarded in the 1960’s to an event winner, and is over 24 inches tall! The term “pole position” comes from horse racing, where the fastest qualifying horse would be placed on the inside part of the course, next to the pole. Though Qualifying takes several different forms, all drivers want the pole position.

In 1979, Busch Beer started sponsoring the pole award in the Winston Cup Series, with the pole award winners would race in the Busch Clash, before the Daytona 500. The Busch Clash lasted from 1979 until 1997, when it became the Budweiser Shootout in 2001, to 2012. The sponsorship spread to the Xfinity Series and the Truck Series as well. Anheuser-Busch dropped the sponsorship in 2012, and Molson took over. In the Cup and Xfinity Series, the pole award is sponsored by Coors Light. In the Truck Series, the pole award is sponsored by Keystone Light. With the new sponsor came these small flags given to the drivers and crew members of the pole winners.  In 2018, Coors left, and Busch replaced them.

This version was given to pole award winners who are under 21. The flag is 19 inches long, and 12 inches wide, is only printed on one side, and is in good condition. In 2015, nobody in the Cup series under 21 won the pole award. In the Xfinity Series, Erik Jones won pole awards at Fontana, Texas, and Bristol. Darrell Wallace Jr. won the pole at the Dover. Finally, Ben Rhodes won the pole at Road America. In the Truck Series, Erik Jones won the pole at Kansas, Texas, Gateway, Iowa, Pocono,and Phoenix. Bobby Pierce won the pole at Eldora, and Cole Custer won the pole at Martinsville. This flag was given to one of their race teams at some point.

This flag was from 2015 at Dover, and would have been awarded to Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, or Ryan Blaney. It’s the same size as the under 21 flag, The flag is 19 inches long, and 12 inches wide, is only printed on one side, and is in good condition. These pole award flags are small when compared to a full-sized checkered flag, this one from the 2010 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Miami Grand Prix.The IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge has two different classes, “Grand Sport” and “Street Tuner.” Grand Sport or GS features large displacement 6, 8, 10, or 12 cylinder engine sports cars. GS also features small displacement 4-cylinder forced induction sports cars. Street Tuner, or ST features smaller 4-cylinder, 5-cylinder or 6-cylinder sedans, hatchbacks, coupes or convertibles. Though some minor modifications are allowed, for the most part, these cars are identical to their showroom counterparts. These cars aren’t specially built race cars, but the cars that you or I might drive to work in.

Regardless of if drivers are racing professionally for a well-paying, championship caliber team, or a weekend warrior racing for personal glory, there is one thing that they all want in the end. It’s also the most iconic item in auto racing, the checkered flag. As I stated in my Uni-Watch Flag column: “The most iconic flag in motor sports is universally used to indicate that the race has ended. Its exact origins are unknown, but the first picture of a checkered flag being used to end a race was at the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup on Long Island. NASCAR and IndyCar checkered flags carry the Sunoco logo.”

The tradition of the Sunoco logo on the checkered flag was actually started by Unocal. From 1948 to 2003, Unocal was the official fuel sponsor of NASCAR. As such, their logos appeared on the checkered flags during the 1980’s. It was around that same time that the race used flags would be customized with the name of the event, and presented to the driver, a process that continues to this day. One such example is this 2010 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Miami Grand Prix flag.

The second race of the 2010 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge was the Miami Grand Prix on March 6, 2010. During that 91 lap race, the #61 Roush Performance Mustang, driven by Billy Johnson, and Jack Roush Jr., won the overall event in GS, and the #25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 driven by Derek Whitis won ST. As Roush and Johnson were the overall winners, they were presented with this customized Sunoco race winner flag.

The flag shows a heavy amount of use, including numerous stains all over, and some light snagging. The flag features the Sunoco logo on the front. Traditionally, flags are designed so that the pattern starts on the left side, and this flag is no different. The white stripe is the area where the flag pole is inserted. After the race, when the stains occurred, blue and yellow letters were heat-pressed onto the flag, which read “GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI CSTCC SERIES MARCH 6 2010.” The flag is meant to be displayed with the front only showing, because the back of the flag has the Sunoco logo reversed. The staining present on the front, is clearly visible on the reverse.Every driver who races wants to be the first one to see that black and white checkered flag. It’s the one hope of all drivers.

Next week, we keep the trophy theme going.