The Driver Suit Blog-The Vest Project Part 19-HScott Motorsports Part 1

[Editor’s note: I am on vacation until the end of July, normal operations will resume then.]

By David G. Firestone

Harry Scott Jr. purchased the Phoenix Racing Sprint Cup Series in late 2013. He renamed the team HScott Motorsports. HScott Motorsports raced from 2013 to 2016, with Justin Allgaier, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, Ryan Truex, Bobby Labonte, Michael Annett, and Clint Bowyer as drivers. The team didn’t have that much success on track.

When the team was purchased, Scott ran Finch’s #51 and kept a few of the sponsors, including Springfield Illinois based Brandt Agriculture. In 2014 and 2015, Justin Allgaier raced the Brandt sponsored #51 Chevy SS. The team had a few top 10’s that year. During that time, one pit crew member wore this vest. The vest shows light use.The red collar is unadorned.The cowl has a SIMPSON MTO 24 tag and an XXXL tag present.The right chest features a NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES and a GOODYEAR logo embroidered.The left chest features a HSCOTT MOTORSPORTS logo and a Chevy bow tie logo embroidered into it.The front torso features a BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE logo embroidered, and a classic racing stripe.Inside the front zipper is the Simpson warranty label.The hems don’t have comfort straps, but the right side does have the SFI rating. The shoulder epaulets don’t have adornment on the top, but have SIMPSON logos on the sides. There are standard arm holes present. The back of the vest doesn’t show any real wear.The back of the neck has 51 embroidered into it.The back of the suit has BRANDT.CA, a BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE logo embroidered into it.HScott Motorsports was a team that liked the three-piece pit crew uniforms, another one of which we will examine next week.


The Driver Suit Blog-The Infinite Hero Challenge Coin Program Celebrates 5 Years!

[Editor’s note: I am on vacation until the end of July, normal operations will resume then.]

By David G. Firestone

I’ve discussed Jack Beckman on The Driver Suit Blog many times. He is a great driver, he connects with the fans, and he was kind enough to grant me an interview last year. I’ve been into the Infinite Hero Challenge Coin program since the beginning, and love collecting them. Well, I’m back with another profile of the coins for 2018.
Launched in 2011, The Infinite Hero Foundation “…is to combat the most difficult front line issues – mental and physical – facing returning military heroes and their families.” Military personnel returning from overseas deployment face long term employment, mental and physical problems that the majority of Americans don’t understand. They work with other non-profit veterans groups and give out grants to help service men and women cope with these long term problems.
In April 2014, they started appearing on the side of Jack Beckman’s funny car. The late Terry Chandler, who also sponsors Tommy Johnson Jr.’s Make a Wish Foundation Funny Car, is the financial backer of the car. She pays for Infinite Hero to race on the sides of the car. This also began the NHRA coin program. When Jack Beckman gets into his funny car to race, he carries Infinite Hero Challenge Coins in the pocket of his driver suit. Once the race is over, he will autograph them and sell them at the track and on eBay. They cost $100 with all proceeds going to the Infinite Hero Foundation.

The 2014 design is quite thick, and has a ridged edge. One side featured “Courage, Honor, Virtue, Heroism,” around a globe design with an Oakley logo. Oakley is a partner with the Infinite Hero Foundation. The other side features an Infinite Hero Foundation logo with purple enamel. The coin was placed in a round, flat plastic container, with black foam braces. The coin lacks the blue enamel that the coin that comes with the glasses coin, and future coins, and has a very plain look. I do like the plain look. Jack used was identical to the one sold in stores. Jack autographed the plastic case. In 2014, this 1/24 scale die cast was produced. It is a full replica of Beckman’s funny car. Valvoline was a primary sponsor, and this was the only season Infinite Hero and Valvoline were together on the car. It’s also the only time that Infinite Hero Challenge appeared on the older Dodge funny car body. In 2015, the current body was introduced, and Pennzoil replaced Valvoline. Jack has autographed the windshield. A redesigned coin of the same size was introduced for 2015. The Oakley logos are gone. One side features a design similar to the globe design, but the globe design has been replaced with an American Flag design. “Courage, Honor, Virtue, Heroism” has been replaced with “Duty, Honor, Innovation, Courage.” The new emblem on the reverse side has one of the across bands removed. The new packaging is an upgrade, with the circular plastic cylinder replaced with an attractive box. It comes with a card that Jack Beckman autographed, and on the reverse it has the Infinite Hero Foundation Pledge. The first one is from The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Phoenix on February 22, 2015, where Jack was eliminated in the first round. The second one is from the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, where Beckman won the event, beating Courtney Force in the final round. Also in 2015, these hero cards were produced. Hero cards are given away at racing events and driver appearances. They have Jack’s picture, and information about the driver, team, and the Infinite Hero Challenge. For 2016, the coins got a major makeover. The Infinite Hero logo is now bigger. The words “Reimagine” and “Recovery” are stamped near the logo, and on the opposite side, a picture of Jack’s funny car replaces the flag motif. It should also be noted that the coin is slightly smaller, because it isn’t as tight in the coin case as the previous version. The Infinite Hero Pledge accompanies the coin. Also changed from 2016, Jack doesn’t sign the box and the pledge, he just signs the pledge. The 2017 Infinite Hero coin is slightly larger than the 2016 coin, and fits snugly in the box. The pledge piece remains unchanged. The coin itself has a plain pewter Infinite Hero Challenge logo on one side, and a blue enameled claw stripe design with a hex nut design on the border. Hero cards are given away at racing events and driver appearances. They have Jack’s picture, and information about the driver, team, and the Infinite Hero Challenge. For 2016-2017, a new card design was introduced. It has updated information, as well as the updated paint scheme introduced at the beginning of the season. Recently, I took a number of selfies with race car drivers, and made them into a book, and got them signed. This is me with Jack Beckman. Hector Arana signed the upper-left corner.This year’s design is done in memory of the late Terry Chandler, who passed away from cancer prior to the 2017 event. The front has a heart design with Chandler’s initials. The back of the coin has the Infinite Hero logo, with blue enamel. Jack also autographed a copy of the Infinite Hero pledge. For 2018, a new Hero card design  was released. Jack Beckman is a great driver, who races for a great sponsor, and supports a great cause. He has been really amazing not just to me, not just to to The Driver Suit Blog, but to the NHRA and their fan base. I’m glad he’s going to be racing for The Infinite Hero Challenge until 2020. As long as he is selling them, I will continue buying the Infinite Hero Challenge Coins, and promoting them on The Driver Suit Blog. I can’t wait to see next year’s coin design.

Next week, The Vest Project continues.

The Driver Suit Blog-The Vest Project Part 18-An ARCA Vest

By David G. Firestone

Until being taken over by NASCAR, ARCA was an alternate group to NASCAR, with their own rules, teams, drivers, and fan bases. Many drivers used ARCA to get to NASCAR, and if their NASCAR careers didn’t work, they had the option to return to ARCA.

Central Merchant Services, Inc sponsored a few teams in ARCA from 2006 to 2009 for S&H Motorsports and Venturini Racing among others. They had some success on track. During that time, one of the pit crews wore this Impact vest. The vest shows very light use.The blue collar is unadorned.The right chest features READYHOSTING.COM, and PILLDEPOT.COM embroidered into it.The left chest features ARCA RE/MAX SERIES, PORK, GLADIATOR GARAGE WORKS, HOOSIER RACE TIRE, and SUNOCO logos embroidered into it.The front torso features a blue CENTRAL MERCHANT SERVICES logo embroidered in the white material. There is blue material below that.Inside the front zipper is the Impact warranty label.The corners have Velcro comfort straps attached. The blue shoulder epaulets are unadorned. The vest has standard arm holes present. The back of the vest doesn’t show that much use.The blue collar is unadorned in the back.The back torso features a blue CENTRAL MERCHANT SERVICES logo embroidered in the white material.It’s sad that ARCA, once an independent stock car racing series with its own identity is going to become just another NASCAR developmental series. Guys like Billy Venturini need ARCA to help their careers, and help keep their identity. I hope the ARCA guys are able to find their places after this is all said and done.

Next Week, we cover a familiar topic.

The Driver Suit Blog-Maxim…Not The Magazine, But A Forgotten Racewear Company

By David G. Firestone

In NASCAR, there are usually two kinds of teams: big and small. The big teams include Stewart-Haas Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Furniture Row Racing. Big teams are multi-car teams that are championship caliber, and have little if any trouble with sponsorship issues. Small teams are teams like Tommy Baldwin, Germain Racing, Premium Motorsports, BK Racing, The Wood Brothers, Go FAS Racing, Circle Sport/TMG, Rick Ware Racing, and Leavine Family Racing. These teams, while they may have more than one team, are often underfunded, have mediocre drivers and on track results.

Interestingly, there is a third group, which could really either be considered big or small, depending how one looks at them. These teams include Richard Childress Racing, JTG Daugherty, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush-Fenway Racing, and Front Row Motorsports. These are all teams that while they have multiple teams and decent sponsorship, they aren’t championship caliber, even though they do often make the playoffs and win races. The have a decent driver or two, and have decent fan bases. One of the most well-known and least appreciated of these teams is Front Row Motorsports.

Founded by Bob Jenkins and Jimmy Means in 2005 as a single-car team, the original team merged will Mach 1, and began a two-car operation. Eventually, the team shad as many as three teams, with two full time. Since team owner Bob Jenkins owns over 150 franchises from Yum! Brands, including Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s, as well as Morristown Driver’s Services or MDS, those sponsors frequently appear on the sides of his cars. While the team hasn’t shown much strength on many tracks, they show strength on superspeedways.

Founded some time in the early 2010’s, Maxim Racewear was a small-time operation that provided crew uniforms to lower-end teams, and eventually was found by some teams in the upper echelons of NASCAR, including Front Row Motorsports. The company went out of business around 2015, so information on them is difficult to get. One team they made pit crew uniforms for is Front Row Motorsports, as evidenced by this 2013-2014 example. This mismatched suit shows decent use, with scuff marks and stains.The blue collar has silver accents, and is unadorned.The name NOVAK is written in Sharpie in the cowl.The right chest has NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES,FORD,CSX PLAY IT SAFE, and GOODYEAR logos embroidered into it.The left chest features LOVE’S TRUCK STOPS, FARM RICH, SAFECAR.GOV, DR PEPPER, TACO BELL, LONG JOHN SILVERS, and MDS logos embroidered.The front torso features a FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS logo embroidered into it.Inside the front zipper of the jacket features a Maxim Racewear warranty label.The sides of the jacket have Velcro comfort straps on the back. The shoulder epaulets have FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS embroidered logos, as well as MAXIM RACEWEAR logos present. The right sleeve has NASCAR, FORD RACING, RACING RADIOS,MERIT PRO, and K&N logos on the upper sleeve, and a MAXIM RACEWEAR logo in television position on the end of the sleeve. The left sleeve features SUNOCO, SHERWIN WILLIAMS, SEM, LINCOLN WELDERS, THE PETE STORE, and the SFI certification on the upper sleeve, and a MAXIM RACEWEAR logo in television position at the end of the sleeve. The back of the jacket shows some wear with a few scuff marks and stains.The back of the neck is unadorned.The back torso has @FRONTROWNASCAR, I BREAK FOR TRAINS, and a FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS logo embroidered into it.The pants show decent use, with the tag destroyed, and some scuff marks.In the inside of the pants is written 38 SPARE and some Asian lettering.There is a tag in the waist of the pants, but the pants have been washed some many times, the tag has been destroyed.The black pants have a blue stripe up the sides, and has boot cuffs, though the cuffs do show some wear. The back of the pants show some light wear.Front Row Motorsports is a little team that can, and they have a number of wins in the Cup Series. They have had a lot of talented drivers, and I hope they have a lot of success in the future.

Next Week, The Vest Project continues.

The Driver Suit Blog-The Vest Project Part 17-Revisiting A Team I’ve Already Covered.

By David G. Firestone

Ok, I get that last week’s Friday Feature was a long read. I had been wanting to do something like that for a while. Now that the coins are done, let’s pick up the vest project where we left off. Two years ago, I “finished” the vest project with a Serta vest from BAM Racing. Since then, I have acquired a few more vests, including this one from BAM racing. Since it’s pretty much the same vest, albeit with some minor differences, I’m just going to use the article I did for the Serta vest, update with the changes.

This vest is from The Sprint Cup Series, and is the only vest I’ve come across from the Cup Series. It was from BAM Racing in 2006. BAM stands for Beth Ann Morgenthau, the owner of the team. Their racing team started in 2001 racing Fords part time. In 2002, they switched to Dodge, which they raced until they folded in 2008. Their driver lineup included Ken Schrader, 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, and former Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday. Though they had 3 top 10’s with Schrader over the course of three seasons, 2003, 2004, and 2005, they never scored a top 5, or a win.

2006 would be a forgettable year for BAM Racing. Though they tried to start 33 races out of the 36 race season, they failed to qualify for 8 of them, and the ones that they did qualify for, they failed to even score a top 10. During some of those 24 races, a crew member wore this Simpson vest.  Issued to a crew member named R Benton, the vest shows light use.The collar has no logos on it.The old Simpson warranty label is sewn into the cowl, along with an identification tag stating that the vest is issued to R Benton. The right chest features a NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES logo, a SIMPSON logo, and a GOODYEAR logo present.The left chest features a Dodge logo and an SEM logo.The front torso has a BAM RACING logo embroidered in white and yellow in the blue background material.The bottom hems don’t feature comfort straps. The shoulder epaulets feature Simpson logos, but are otherwise unadorned. The vest has standard arm holes. The back of the vest doesn’t show any real wear.The back of the neck is unadorned, but just below the neck, there is WWW.BAM49RACING.COM embroidered into it.The back torso features a SERTA logo above a BAM RACING logo.The vest project will go on, and I do plan on doing more vests in the coming months. I just hated doing vest after vest after vest. I do learn from these vests, and I do enjoy collecting them.

Next week, a pit crew suit from an established Cup team, made by a company I have never heard of.

The Driver Suit Blog-An Artifact From One Of The World’s Most Popular Sports

By David G. Firestone

Having grown up in the United States, we never watched Cricket, we watched baseball. Cricket is one of the world’s most popular sports. Its origins can be traced back to the late 1500’s. Like association football, cricket has their own World Cup. Using Wikipedia, I am going to provide an overview of the rules:

During normal play, thirteen players and two umpires are on the field. Two of the players are batsmen and the rest are all eleven members of the fielding team. The other nine players in the batting team are off the field in the pavilion. In the photo, the two batsmen have taken position at each end of the pitch. One of the two umpires is stationed behind the wicket at the bowler’s end of the pitch. The bowler is bowling the ball from his end of the pitch to the batsman at the other end who is called the “striker”. The other batsman at the bowling end is called the “non-striker”. The wicket-keeper, who is a specialist, is positioned behind the striker’s wicket and behind him stands one of the fielders in a position called “first slip”. While the bowler and the first slip are wearing conventional kit only, the two

batsmen and the wicket-keeper are wearing protective gear including safety helmets, padded gloves and leg guards.

While the umpire stands at the bowler’s end of the pitch, his colleague stands in the outfield, usually in or near the fielding position called “square leg”, so that he is in line with the popping crease at the striker’s end of the pitch. The bowling crease is the one on which the wicket is located between the return creases. The bowler intends to hit the wicket with the ball or, at least, to prevent the striker from scoring runs. The striker intends, by using his bat, to defend his wicket and, if possible, to hit the ball away from the pitch in order to score runs.

Some players are skilled in both batting and bowling so are termed all-rounders. Bowlers are also classified according to their style, generally as fast bowlers, medium pace seam bowlers or, spinners. Batsmen are classified according to whether they are right-handed or left-handed.

Of the eleven fielders, three are in shot in the image above. The other eight are elsewhere on the field, their positions determined on a tactical basis by the captain or the bowler. Fielders often change position between deliveries, again as directed by the captain or bowler.

If a fielder is injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him, but the substitute cannot bowl or act as a captain. The substitute leaves the field when the injured player is fit to return. The Laws of Cricket were updated in 2017 to allow substitutes to act as wicket-keepers, a situation that first occurred when Mumbai Indians’ wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan was injured in a match on 18 April 2018.

A bowler reaches his delivery stride by means of a “run-up” and an over is deemed to have begun when the bowler starts his run up for the first delivery of that over, the ball then being “in play”. Fast bowlers, needing momentum, take a lengthy run up while bowlers with a slow delivery take no more than a couple of steps before bowling. The fastest bowlers can deliver the ball at a speed of over 90 mph and they sometimes rely on sheer speed to try and defeat the batsman, who is forced to react very quickly. Other fast bowlers rely on a mixture of speed and guile by making the ball seam or swing (i.e. curve) in flight. This type of delivery can deceive a batsman into miscuing his shot, for example so that the ball just touches the edge of the bat and can then be “caught behind” by the wicket-keeper or a slip fielder. At the other end of the bowling scale is the spin bowler who bowls at a relatively slow pace and relies entirely on guile to deceive the batsman. A spinner will often “buy his wicket” by “tossing one up” (in a slower, steeper parabolic path) to lure the batsman into making a poor shot. The batsman has to be very wary of such deliveries as they are often “flighted” or spun so that the ball will not behave quite as he expects and he could be “trapped” into getting himself out. In between the pacemen and the spinners are the medium paced seamers who rely on persistent accuracy to try and contain the rate of scoring and wear down the batsman’s concentration.

There are ten ways in which a batsman can be dismissed: five relatively common and five extremely rare. The common forms of dismissal are bowled, caught, leg before wicket (lbw), run out and stumped. Rare methods are hit wicket, hit the ball twice, obstructing the field, handled the ball and timed out. The Laws state that the fielding team, usually the bowler in practice, must appeal for a dismissal before the umpire can give his decision. If the batsman is out, the umpire raises a forefinger and says “Out!”; otherwise, he will shake his head and say “Not out”. There is, effectively, an eleventh method of dismissal, retired out, which is not an on-field dismissal as such but rather a retrospective one for which no fielder is credited.

Batsmen take turns to bat via a batting order which is decided beforehand by the team captain and presented to the umpires, though the order remains flexible, when the captain officially nominates the team. Substitute batsmen are not allowed.

A skilled batsman can use a wide array of “shots” or “strokes” in both defensive and attacking mode. The idea is to hit the ball to best effect with the flat surface of the bat’s blade. If the ball touches the side of the bat it is called an “edge”. The batsman does not have to play a shot and can allow the ball to go through to the wicketkeeper. Equally, he does not have to attempt a run when he hits the ball with his bat. Batsmen do not always seek to hit the ball as hard as possible, and a good player can score runs just by making a deft stroke with a turn of the wrists or by simply “blocking” the ball but directing it away from fielders so that he has time to take a run. A wide variety of shots are played, the batsman’s repertoire including strokes named according to the style of swing and the direction aimed: e.g., “cut”, “drive”, “hook”, “pull”.

The batsman on strike (i.e. the “striker”) must prevent the ball hitting the wicket, and try to score runs by hitting the ball with his bat so that he and his partner have time to run from one end of the pitch to the other before the fielding side can return the ball. To register a run, both runners must touch the ground behind the crease with either their bats or their bodies (the batsmen carry their bats as they run). Each completed run increments the score of both the team and the striker.

One form of cricket is Twenty20 cricket, aka Twenty-20, and abbreviated to T20. In a Twenty20 game the two teams have a single innings each, which is restricted to a maximum of 20 overs. The England and Wales Cricket Board created Twenty20 in 2002, and it has grown in popularity, spawning its own World Cup, like the ones played in 2009. I have a couple of match-used coins from the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, including this one, from the South Africa vs. Pakistan semi-final, where Pakistan won with 149/4 over South Africa’s 142/5.  The coin, slightly larger than an American quarter, is in great condition.

The specially made coin is not sold as a replica, and comes in a customized box, with an International Cricket Council logo. The box is about 4 inches square. The coin itself is slightly larger than an American quarter, though much smaller than an NFL toss coin. The heads and tails are marked. The heads side features a 2009 ICC Twenty20 logo, with England 2009. The tails section features an ICC logo, with a 100th anniversary commemoration. The coin comes with an ICC COA.I also have a second coin, from a Group B competition between England and the Netherlands. This was one of the early matches, where The Netherlands won 163/6 over England’s 162/5. The coin is identical, no serial numbers are on these coins, and the only difference is the COA. Next week, I resume the vest project.

The Driver Suit Blog-The Best Way To Spend A Weekend

By David G. Firestone

A bad day at an NHRA Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series event beats a good day doing most anything else. Fortunately, last Saturday was not a bad day at all. Since NASCAR has moved their Chicagoland event to July, the Route 66 Nationals were moved to the first weekend in June. The weather was great, not too hot, and enough of a breeze. I love drag racing, and the Route 66 Nationals is the NHRA’s stop on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour. I go with friends from work, and every year, we have a great time.

We arrived, and spent a lot of time wandering around the midway. We picked up a number of hero cards, and watched the crews work on these 11,000 horsepower engines. After a while, I got in line at the Toyota pavilion, and got autographs and selfies with Cruz Pedregon, Del Worsham, JR Todd, Shawn Langdon, Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, Richie Crampton, and Noah Gragson. I then got in line for the Mello Yello autograph session, and got Deric Kramer, TJ Zizzo, Don Garlits, Barry Dyer, Larry Reyes, Jeg Coughlin Sr., and Ron Colson. In walking around the pits, I also got Angie Smith to sign a hero card, Tony Schumacher to sign my book, and Ron Capps to sign my book and my championship hat.

Once the professional categorizes got underway, the racing was great. The roar of the engines and the scent of burnt rubber and nitromethane added to the allure of seeing some of the greatest drag racers on the planet. Enjoying a great Saturday watching drag racing is always fun.

Also, since I have interviewed Jack Beckman, I purchased an Infinite Hero Challenge Coin. This year’s design is done in memory of the late Terry Chandler, who passed away from cancer prior to the 2017 event. The front has a heart design with Chandler’s initials. The back of the coin has the Infinite Hero logo, with blue enamel. Jack also autographed a copy of the Infinite Hero pledge. I also came across this Cruz Pedregon race-used visor. It’s a Simpson visor, which shows a number of scratches, and scuff marks, and Cruz has autographed the visor with the inscription “2X FC CHAMP!.” After getting my coin and my visor, we decided to head back home. It was a great day, but then any day watching racing is a great day!

Next week, gonna go off-topic with something off beat.