The Driver Suit Blog-My Thoughts On Recent NHRA Safety Issues

By David G. Firestone

The NASCAR and NHRA seasons started up again. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series started their new season with the Winternationals at Ponoma, and The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series had the Advance Auto Parts Clash. The Clash was a pleasure to watch, and I had a great time watching it, and the qualifying for the Daytona 500.

But the NHRA was marred with a decent amount of engine explosions and crashes. On Friday, John Force suffered an engine explosion, and was taken to the hospital for observation. The worst one of the bunch was Brittany Force. On Sunday, during her first elimination round against Terry Haddock, Force suffered a scary crash. While she escaped serious injury, she was taken to a local hospital for observation.

While both are fine, it should be noted that the NHRA made the correct decision to err on the side of caution, and send both to the hospital for observation. The safety culture of racing is always improving, and this is another example. Concussion protocol needs to be in all sports, not just contact ones. Brain damage is a dangerous thing, and the will to compete can and will override the fear of further damage.

The ability of race car drivers to compartmentalize has been well documented. When the driver climbs into the car, every other worry goes out the window. The driver is solely focused on the race. In a situation where a driver has a concussion, whether they realize it or not, that mindset can be dangerous, and maybe even fatal. In some situations, the driver has to be forced out of the car, for their own good.

Let’s go back to 1996, specifically the Save Mart Supermarkets 300 at Sonoma, then Sears Point. Ricky Craven had suffered a wreck at Talladega the previous week. While Craven suffered a concussion, he decided that racing for the championship was more important than being healthy. The original plan for Sears Point was for Craven to race the first lap, and was supposed to be replaced by Ron Horniday Jr. after the first lap. He raced a second lap, and was promptly black flagged, and was replaced. Similarly, in 2014, Angelle Sampey suffered an off-track injury in Las Vegas, and the pain and damage forced her to withdraw from the event, and she missed the rest of the 2014 season.

Auto Racing is one of, if not the most dangerous sports for competitors, and safety should be the main focus. Don’t listen to the fans, do what is best for the drivers. No real race fan wants to see a driver die. IndyCar and F1 have learned this lesson the hard way in the last few years, and I hope that most sanctioning bodies do what they have to to keep from learning the hard way.

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The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Grades-February 10, 2018

By David G. Firestone

Jeffery Earnhardt #00 VRX Racing Simulators Chevy Camaro-I like the blue and silver color scheme, it works well with the white. I don’t like the side designs, I think they are overdone. All things considered, I give it a C.

Danica Patrick #7 GoDaddy/Warriors By Danica Chevy Camaro-The green design is smooth, but I don’t like the black rear. It takes away from the overall look. It’s a minor complaint, and the scheme earns an A-.

Chase Elliott #9 Mountain Dew Chevy Camaro-It’s a great look, with a great color scheme, and it earns an A.

Erik Jones #20 Circle K Toyota Camry-Same basic scheme as last year, same A grade.

Landon Cassill #34 Love’s Truck Stops Ford Fusion-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Chris Buescher #37 Kleenex Chevy Camaro-Another silver, blue, and white color scheme that is over designed to the point of being ridiculous. It just doesn’t look good from a design perspective. The color scheme is good, so I’ll give it a C.

David Ragan #38 Speedco Ford Fusion-The shade of blue and the shade of yellow work very well, and the design works very well too. It’s worth an A.

Justin Marks #51 Keens Buildings Chevy Camaro-The scheme is too over designed, and while the color scheme is decent, it’s just a mess, and it gets a D+.

Kasey Kahne #95 Procore Chevy Camaro-Reversing the black and white does nothing to fix this scheme. F

DJ Kennington #96 Lordco Toyota Camry-Same basic scheme as last year, same C- grade.

The Driver Suit Blog-Artifacts From Medical History

By David G. Firestone

We live in an age where medical science has extended lifespans to unheard of lengths. Many diseases that were death sentences in the past are now curable. Many sick people can get healthy with the right medical treatment. However, we had to come a long way to get where we are, and not all medical companies were on the up and up. While some of these companies have been forgotten, others have been remembered in various different ways.

Bristol-Myers Squibb was formed by Edward Squibb, when he founded a pharmaceutical company in Brooklyn, New York in 1858. Squibb was in favor of higher quality, and was a supplier to the Union Army in the Civil War.

In 1887, two friends, William Bristol and John Myers purchased the Clinton Pharmaceutical company of Clinton, New York for $5000($124,600.93 in 2017 dollars). Bristol and Myers first national product was named Sal Hepatica, a laxative mineral salt that, when dissolved in water, reproduced the taste and effects of the natural mineral waters of Bohemia. The new product, was a bestseller by 1903.

As time went on, both companies grew, both in size and in wares. Both companies acquired several smaller companies. Then, in 1989, Bristol-Myers and Squibb merged, with Bristol-Myers becoming the nominal survivor. The company renamed itself Bristol-Myers Squbb. Those two little companies founded in New York have become one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Sal Hepatica was first made in 1887, became nationally recognized in 1903, and was discontinued in 1958. The product consisted of sodium sulfate, baking soda, tartaric acid, common salt, sodium phosphate and traces of lithium carbonate and water. Supposedly, it was meant to replicate the taste and effect of “Bohemian mineral water.” It was originally marketed as a saline laxative, and an alkalinizing agent. It was also claimed it could help with gout, and other stomach, liver, and kidney disorders. This is an early example of a sample set. It was given to doctors to give to patients. It is still in good condition, and comes in an 6.5 inch by 2.5 inch tube. The set consists of a big container and five smaller containers of Sal Hepatica. There is also an information manual.The larger container of Sal Hepatica is roughly 1.5 times the size of the smaller containers. The label also contain more information, and it appears as though it was meant for the doctor to hold on to. It’s about 3 inches high by 1.5 inches across. The package comes with an information manual, containing information that doctors could use to help their patients. For many years, medical companies in the United States went unregulated. There were dozens of small, local drug companies across the country. Some were more unscrupulous than others. One such company was the Dr. E. L. Welbourn Company of Union, Indiana. Dr. E. L. Welbourn graduated college in 1866, and started his practice in 1893. He experimented with vegetable mixtures to cure aliments. In 1900, he started his own drug company. Welbourn continued the company until his death in 1926, and his son continued the company until 1973.

Dr. E. L. Welbourn’s biggest product was Sweet Bugle Elixir was made from Bugle Weed, and was used for teething, colic, diarrhea, bloody flux, cholera, morbus, and burns. This is a small brass printing plate used for a bottle of Sweet Bugle Elixir. I have a number of printing plates from the Dr. E. L. Welbourn Company. This is another Sweet Bugle Elixir label printing plate, this one a slightly larger, and newer. Note the fact that the alcohol content is 28%, or 56 proof. Another Sweet Bugle printing plate, this one is much larger, and has a lot more information than the smaller ones. This printing plate is for a different product, used to treat “lung, fever, pleurisy, coughs, whooping cough, mumps, and measles. The name plate fell off. It is also an older plate where part of it had to be made by hand, one letter at a time. These next two plates are squares printing plate with Dr. E. L. Welbourn’s picture, which was used for advertising materials. This is a bottle label with the product name and symptoms not present. This particular product has 31% ABV or 62 proof. These are printing plates for Dr. E. L. Welbourn’s Queen of the Meadow Tonic. It is meant to treat kidney, stomach, and liver diseases, dropsy, and general debility. It has 34% ABV or 68 proof. Another bottle label printing plate, this time for Rheumatic Aegis, used to treat Rheumatism, Scrotula, Cancer, and all Blood and Kidney diseases. Another unknown product printing plate, presumably for Sweet Bugle Elixir. In addition to teething, colic, diarrhea, bloody flux, cholera, morbus, and burns, this also treats “Infantum, Heart Failure, Cramps, Spasms, Dog, Cat or Rat bites, Sting or bite of any poisonous insect. It also has 28% ABV or 56 proof.(Editors note, these things are a pain in the neck to try to read.)

Another Sweet Bugle printing plate, this one is much larger, and has a lot more information than the smaller ones. Dr. EL Welbourn also produced pills in addition to tonics. These were his “Anti-Bilious Pills,” which were used to treat “Liver and stomach troubles, and were “Warranted Purely Vegetable.” This is for an advertising brochure that was used to promote the product. The Dr. E. L. Welbourn company also produced ointments, such as Dr. E. L. Welbourn’s Pile Ointment, used to treat “piles,” commonly known as hemorrhoids, and Ringworm, Tetter, and Trysipelas. This is a printing plate for a receipt from the Dr. E. L. Welbourn Medicine Company, which has all of their wares listed, and spaces for numbers and prices. This is a printing plate for a label or a box of Dr E. L. Welbourn’s Lung Syrup, which treats “Lung Fever, Pleurisy, Whooping Cough, Coughs, and Colds.” It has 33% ABV or 66 proof. This is a printing plate for either a newspaper ad or a handbill for Dr E. L. Welbourn’s Malarial Fever and Blood Pills. It is large, and has a lot of text about what the pills treat, and why you should buy them. Similar to the previous plate, this is an advertising plate for Dr. E. L. Welbourn’s Anti-Bilious Pills. Yet another advertising printing plate, this one for “Elixir Sweet Bugle.” The last advertising printing plate lists the names and information for all of the products of the Dr. E. L. Welbourn company. The last printing plate is a full box printing plate for bottles of Queen of the Meadow Tonic, which is the largest of the plates, and contains a lot of information about the product.

Since the days where Dr. Welbourn was making tonics and pills that could cure anything, we now live in an age where medical science is taken much more seriously, and standards are much higher. One of the most prolific companies is Bayer AG. Though they will be forever known for selling medicinal heroin, they are also a major seller of aspirin, at one point, holding the trade mark on the word aspirin, until the seizure of German assets by the Allies in World War I.

While Bayer Aspirin was sold in the US, it was actually made by Sterling Drugs, which acquired the license to sell aspirin in 1918. They manufactured and sold Bayer Aspirin from 1918 until 1994, when Eastman Kodak bought the company. Bayer would purchase back the rights for Bayer Aspirin in the US later that year. There are a lot of Bayer factories in Pennsylvania, and this is from one factory. It is a small display featuring some of the first pills that factory made, on September 14, 1964. They are in a small case, with a printed label indicating that. As a people, we are healthier. We have medical science to thank for that. Can we cure everything? No, but we can cure a lot of things that were once death sentences.

Next week, the topic of swatch cards!

The Driver Suit Blog-Throwback Thursday-1965 #1 Ford GT40 Mk. II

Ken Miles and Bruce McLaren 1965 #1 Ford GT40 Mk. II

The car itself has a rocket-like appearance, and the off-white is a good look. I also like the black stripes, and the black hood. The outlines of the doors give it a spaceship like look, and while I’m not sure it was intentional, it does add to the overall appearance. The car numbers work well with this look. It is an A look for sure.

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Tracker-February 7, 2018

By David G Firestone

STAR COM RACING #00

Jeffery Earnhardt #00 VRX Racing Simulators Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2018, white with silver and blue cutting edge designs. C

CHIP GANASSI RACING #1

Jamie McMurray #1 GearWrench Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, black with green stripes and roof. A

Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, black with blue waves on sides. A

Jamie McMurray #1 DC Solar Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2018, dark blue and white with diagonal stripes. B-

TEAM PENSKE #2

Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford FusionNew scheme for 2018, white and red Penske template. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Discount Tire Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2018, white with black outline. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite Ford FusionNo change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford FusionNo Change. A

Brad Keselowski #2 Auto Trader Ford FusionNo Change. D-

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #3

Austin Dillon#3 Dow Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, black fade to red to black across whole car. A

Austin Dillon #3 AAA Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, all red, with white stripe pattern on sides. A

Austin Dillon #3 American Ethanol Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, green front, black rear, white and black waves on sides. C-

STEWART-HAAS RACING #4

Kevin Harvick #4 Busch Ford FusionNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Mobil 1 Ford FusionNo change. A

Kevin Harvick #4 Jimmy Johns Ford FusionNew scheme for 2018, black and white reversed. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #6

Trevor Bayne #6 Advocare Ford FusionNew scheme for 2018, black with grey, silver and blue stripes. A

Trevor Bayne #6 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford FusionNo change. B-

PREMIUM MOTORSPORTS #7

Danica Patrick #7 GoDaddy/Warriors By Danica Chevy SS-New sponsor for 2018, green with white stripes and black rear. A-

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #9

Chase Elliott #9 NAPA Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2017, blue with white designs on sides. B+

Chase Elliott #9 Hooters Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, orange back and white front, with Y design across sides. B-

Chase Elliott #9 Sun Energy Chevy CamaroNo change. F

Chase Elliott #9 Kelly Blue Book Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, blue with white diagonal side and cutting edge design. C

Chase Elliott #9 Mountain Dew Chevy SSNew scheme for 2018, green with small black stripes on bottom. A

STEWART-HAAS RACING #10

Darrell Wallace Jr. #10 Smithfield Foods Ford FusionNew sponsor for 2018, black and white with slash patterns on sides. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #11

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota CamryNo change. B-

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota CamryNo change. B-

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota CamryNo change. B-

Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Office Toyota CamryNo change. B-

TEAM PENSKE #12

Ryan Blaney #12 Duracel/Menard’s Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, yellow with narrow stripes. A

Ryan Blaney #12 Dex Imaging Ford Fusion-New scheme for 2018, Penske template, white front, red rear. A

Ryan Blaney #12 PPG Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2018, blue front, white rear, horizontal paint drip motif across car. A

GERMAIN RACING #13

Ty Dillon #13 Twisted Tea Chevy CamaroNo change. A

Ty Dillon #13 Geico Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, similar scheme to 2017, but some cutting edge designs replace stripe on sides. C

Ty Dillon #13 Geico Millitary Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, similar scheme t0 2017, but with some changes to the front. F

STEWART-HAAS RACING #14

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush’s Truck Stops Ford FusionNew scheme for 2018, yellow front, red stripe, black rear. A

ROUSH-FENWAY RACING #17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fastenal Ford FusionNew scheme for 2018, blue with white and black diagonal stripes across sides. A

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #17 Fifth-Third Bank Ford FusionNo change. B-

JOE GIBBS RACING #18

Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota CamryNo change. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #19

Daniel Suarez #19 Stanley Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2017, yellow with a series of gray and black cutting edge designs on sides. D-

Daniel Suarez #19 Arris Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2018, orange replaces silver on quarter panel. A

Daniel Suarez #19 Peak Toyota CamryNo change. A

Daniel Suarez #19 Arris Ruckus Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2018, solid orange with white and black numbers and letters. A

JOE GIBBS RACING #20

Erik Jones #20 DeWalt Toyota CamryNo change. A

Erik Jones #20 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota Camry-New sponsor for 2018, black with red bottom. A

Erik Jones #20 Circle K Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2018, slightly different design, with shorter stripes, and logo adjustments. A

WOOD BROTHER RACING #21

Paul Menard #21 Motorcraft Ford FusionNo change. A

Paul Menard #21 Menard’s Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2018, same as #12. A

TEAM PENSKE #22

Joey Logano #22 AAA Ford FusionNo change. D

Joey Logano #22 Auto Trader Ford FusionNo Change. D-

Joey Logano #22 Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change. A

Joey Logano #22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford FusionNo change. D

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #24

William Byron #24 Axalta Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2017, blue with flame motif across whole car. A

William Byron #24 Liberty University Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2017, blue with red flames on front. A

RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING #31

Ryan Newman #31 Granger Chevy CamaroNo change. A

Ryan Newman #31 Caterpillar Chevy CamaroNo change. B-

Ryan Newman #31 Liberty National Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2018, green front, rear and roof, blue sides. F

Ryan Newman #31 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2018, red top, yellow stripes, black bottom. C-

GO FAS RACING #32

Matt DiBenedetto #32 Keen Parts/Corvette Parts Ford FusionNew scheme for 2017, red, with slight wave formation across sides. A

FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #34

Michael McDowell #34 Love’s Truck Stops/Speedco Ford FusionNo change. A

Michael McDowell #34 K-Love Ford FusionNo change. A

Landon Cassill #34 Love’s Truck Stops Ford FusionNo change. A

JTG DAUGHERTY RACING #37

Chris Buescher #37 Kleenex Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, blue with silver and white cutting edge designs. C

FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS #38

David Ragan #38 Shriner’s Children’s Hospital Ford FusionNew scheme for 2018, blue with black and white stripe, and red bottom. A

CHIP GANASSI RACING #42

Kyle Larson #42 Credit One Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, blue with white and lighter blue stripes. A

Kyle Larson #42 DC Solar Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2018, same design as #1, but with colors reversed. B-

RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS #43

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Click N Close Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2017, dark blue with Click N Close. A

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 Air Force Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, same as 2017, but with black stripe across bottom. A

Darrell Wallace Jr. #43 STP Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, red sides, blue hood and roof, with some silver designs on borders. A-

JTG DAUGHERTY RACING #47

AJ Allmendinger #47 Kroger Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, white with blue and red stripes on sides. B-

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #48

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, black with gray outlines. A

Justin Marks #51 Keens Buildings Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2018, black with orange, gray, and white designs on sides. D+

BEARD MOTORSPORTS #62

Brendan Gaughan #62 Beard Oil/South Point Chevy Camaro-New sponsor for 2018, white front, yellow curve, black rear. A

FURNITURE ROW RACING #78

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Bass Pro Shops/5-Hour Energy Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2018 black with orange designs on sides. C-

Martin Truex Jr. #78 5-Hour Energy/Bass Pro Shops Toyota CamryNew scheme for 2018 black with red designs on sides. C-

Martin Truex Jr. #78 Auto Owner’s Insurance Toyota CamryNo change. A

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS #88

Alex Bowman #88 Nationwide Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2017, blue with white designs on sides. B+

Alex Bowman #88 Axalta Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, black with blue,red,white,and yellow cutting edge designs across sides. F

RICKY BENTON RACING #92

David Gilliland #92 Carquest/Black’s Tire Ford Fusion-New sponsor for 2018, white with black and blue wave on sides, black roof. C-

LEAVINE FAMILY RACING #95

Kasey Kahne #95 Procore Chevy CamaroNew scheme for 2018, black, white, and orange with cutting edge designs across whole car. F

Kasey Kahne #95 Procore Chevy Camaro-New scheme for 2018, same as earlier scheme, white and black reversed.F

GAUNT BROS RACING #96

DJ Kennington #96 Lordco Toyota CamryNo change. C-

The Driver Suit Blog-My Thoughts On Some News Stories

By David G. Firestone

Got a few news items I want to discuss this week. First, I need to discuss the NHRA Summernationals situation. I discussed the shuttering of Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. Last week. I even got a statement from Cruz Pedregon. At the time, he thought that there wouldn’t be an event added to the NHRA schedule for 2018. I thought that it might be too soon to add to the 2018 schedule.

Within hours of that being posted, it was announced that the NHRA would be adding the Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va., to the schedule on June 8-10. So instead of a week off after Route 66, the teams will travel to Virginia Motorsports Park. The drive from Route 66 to North Dinwiddie, Virgina is about 13 hours, and since many teams are headquartered in Indiana, they could stop at the shop and refill parts and equipment. Virginia has hosted NHRA national events before, so it isn’t that difficult. The one thing I’m wondering is how well the teams can adapt to a track that they haven’t raced on since 2009.

Moving on to IndyCar, I learned recently that IndyCar is testing a windshield. With the new car being debuted this year, safety is the focus, and the windshield is 20 years overdue. The less of a driver that is exposed, the safer the car is. This new test is a major step in the right direction. I’m glad this has finally been addressed

The next thing is there was a news story that Formula 1 has decided to eliminate the so-called grid girls. Grid girls would stand at each spot on the grid, wear a sexy outfit representing the host country, and hold signs indicating which spot on the grid they are. According to Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1: “While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

It’s nice to see that Formula 1 finally figured out that in 2018, women are more than sex objects. With women becoming more involved and having more success in auto racing, it’s time to start treating them as racers as opposed to bikini models. Granted that racing is a male-dominated sport, but more and more women are getting involved. It’s only a matter of time until a woman races in Formula 1, and I’m glad they joined the rest of the racing world.

Finally, I have to take Dodge to task for their ill-advised commercial at the Super Bowl. Who in their right mind thought that using Martin Luther King Jr., one of America’s greatest citizens, to sell trucks was a good idea? It came across as tasteless, and given King’s thoughts on capitalism, it’s amazing to me that this even made it past the idea stage.

What really amazes me here is that King’s family, who is very protective of King’s speeches and trademarks, allowed this to happen. Documentaries and historical museums can’t get to use King’s speeches because the family has a tight grip, but a freaking Dodge commercial can? Why in the world did this happen? Dodge should be ashamed, and King’s family needs to focus on his legacy, not profit off of it.

The Driver Suit Blog-Paint Scheme Grades-February 3, 2018

By David G. Firestone

Ryan Blaney #12 PPG Ford Fusion-The color scheme looks good and the paint drip motif works well. All in all, a great scheme.A

Clint Bowyer #14 Rush’s Truck Stops Ford Fusion-The removal of the white works very well, and the rest of the color scheme works very well too. Not a bad look at all.A

Daniel Suarez #19 Arris Ruckus Toyota Camry-The smooth look, combined with a great shade of orange, and good logos will always earn an A.

Erik Jones #20 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota Camry-The vertical black fade to red works very well, and the smooth look and great color scheme earns an A.

Michael McDowell #34 Love’s Truck Stops/Speedco Ford Fusion-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.

Michael McDowell #34 K-Love Ford Fusion-Same scheme as last year, same A grade.