By Phil Hecken with Rob Caplette
Back before Paul began his month-long R&R away from Uni Watch, I asked of the readers if they were interested in having any topics covered during Paul’s absence which might not otherwise get much “face time” at UW. Almost immediately, I was approached by Rob Caplette, who posts in the comments as “Inkracer,” and who has quite a passion, as his monicker might indicate, for motorsports. He thought that Indy & NASCAR kind of get the short shrift (and they do) around here, so I asked him what he had in mind, and would it tie into uniforms. He wrote back, “I realize that there doesn’t seem to be a big market for racing in Uni-watch, but since the start of the BFBS entries, I’ve thought it would be interesting to take a look at BFBS in racing, mainly because BFBS in racing isn’t as clear cut.” Intrigued, I told him I know about as much about auto racing as I do about macroeconomics in the global marketplace, which is to say, not much.
I thought it might make for an interesting column, and when he basically offered to write and research the entire article, I agreed. So, dear readers, sit back and join with me as we take a look at the underappreciated sport of auto racing, and one man’s journey to discover whether the evil that is “Black for Black’s Sake” has infiltrated that sport. Here’s Inkracer:
In the previous BFBS entries it has been fairly clear cut, either Black is a team color or it isn’t. Let’s take a look at a Uni-medium where that line is blurred a bit: Auto Racing. What makes BFBS in racing? Is it the colors of the team itself? Is it the colors that the sponsor uses? What about multi-car teams, do they get a BFBS pass, simply because they have one car where black is okay? How about when the team owner made his name in mostly black cars? How does what the Pit Crews wear fall in with BFBS, and how does that affect the cars? Would this be okay when the Pit Crew wears this?
Since this is looking more at what exactly is BFBS in racing, instead of BFBS throughout the history of racing, all of my examples are more recent, with the oldest ones being Dale Sr, and the Newman/Haas IndyCars of the Mario and Michael Andretti years, and the rest of the examples being liveries from the current season. One last note before we dive into the BFBS fun, in the cases where the team spans multiple racing disciplines, I am only looking at the team history in the one area I’m talking about. Penske running a black car in Nascar doesn’t justify running black in IndyCar.
We will start off looking at Dale Sr.’s GM Goodwrench livery. I think that Dale Sr. is a good example of just how difficult it can be to determine Racing BFBS. The Goodwrench is typically written in black text, though I feel that GM Goodwrench’s should colors come more from the “GM” part of their name. From this point of view I’d call it BFBS. But when the mechanics were this it makes sense to run a black car, as the mechanics should be the most recognized people for GM Goodwrench. So black does make sense for the other Man in Black.
Next let’s look at the interesting transformation of the Newman/Haas IndyCars, made famous by Mario and Michael Andretti. The cars started out looking like this then slowly changed to this (eventually going all the way to full black, already pictured), with this in between. While Kmart doesn’t have or use black in their logo, Havoline has always had a history of black liveries. Given Texaco/Havoline’s history of using black in their sponsorship, I would call the Newman/Haas IndyCars (and the Yates and Ganassi Stock Cars) Not BFBS.
Next we turn to this years F1 grid, where there really isn’t too much black, with only 2 teams running black as more than just an accent. But both teams that use black I feel qualify for BFBS. The first team we’ll take a look at is the Virgin Racing. The name comes from the title sponsorship of the Virgin empire. When you’re sponsors colors are red and white, with black used as a highlight, to make black the primary color of your car and driver uniforms is BFBS. The second team is the Renault F1 Team. The team has a history of yellow, blue and light blue. With the recent change to yellow, white, orange, and dark blue. The yellow and blues actually go back a bit further as well. Since the ING sponsorship left the Renault team amid scandal, making the addition of black appropriate, but BFBS none the less.
Turning now to Nascar’s Cup series. Because of the sponsorship explosion that Nascar has undergone, I’m going to stick with the primary liveries. The first car is the Aflac sponsored car of Carl Edwards. Since there is no black in the Aflac logo, and Carl runs both a black and a silver livery, it’s BFBS. The next car, and probably the car with the biggest BFBS infraction in Nascar, if not in all of racing. The FedEx sponsored car of Denny Hamlin (also here, here, and here). The last of the cars that I feel definitely fall into BFBS category is Jeff Gordon’s Dupont and National Guard cars. There are two cars on the maybe BFBS list in Nascar. Jamie McMurray’s Bass Pro Shops car, black is only a highlight color on the Bass Pro Shops logo, but there is a history of black in Bass Pro Shops’ sponsoring history. Mark Martin’s Go Daddy car is the second maybe BFBS car, as what is behind the logo seems to dictate whether Go Daddy uses black or not. Three cars use black and fall into the not BFBS category. They are Ryan Newman’s Army car, Jeff Burton’s Caterpillar car, and Brad Kesolowski and his technically Penske, but actually Verizon Sponsorship.
Finishing up with the IndyCar series, let’s start with the cars I would consider BFBS. Starting off we have Simona De Silvestro and her Stargate Resistance sponsorship. From my research for this, it appears that StarGate Resistance is a video game. There is no black in the logo, and in all honesty, the whole car livery doesn’t really make sense to me, it seems that the livery was put together before the sponsorship was in place. Next we have Ryan Hunter-Reay and the interesting case of his Izod and Ethanol sponsorship. He is the poster boy for Izod, who is now the title sponsor for the IndyCar Series. He also inherited the Ethanol sponsorship after a practice wreck killed the driver they originally backed. Despite this backing, he still struggles to find rides each season. Next up is Justin Wilson and his Z-Line sponsorship. Like with Fed EX, Z-Line seems to have added the word “racing” and the color black and called it a new logo. It’s just lazy and complete BFBS, in my opinion. Now onto Rafael Matos, who has sponsorship from HP, McAfee, and the US Air Force. Interestingly Matos last year was sponsored by the Marines and the Air Force, yet there was no black on last years Air Force car. I think there is a better argument to use black on the car last year, as it would have tied the 2 cars together. We close out the definitely BFBS section with Dan Wheldon’s Indy 500 Livery with National Guard sponsorship. The Maybe BFBS list is gets a little interesting. We have a Go Daddy car on the list again. Since Danica joined Andretti’s team, she has a history of black where black may or may not be a color of the sponsor. Personally, I don’t think that black really works for Danica as much as it worked for Dale Sr. Now we turn to the unsponsored cars of Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe. Penske Racing’s logo has been mostly black, but it is currently white on the webpage. Penske does have some history with black cars. Having run the cars black in the IRL race prior to his return to Indy, while he was still racing in CART. The current cars, while primarily unsponsored, have secondary sponsorship from Verizon. So it’s still a tough call on whether they are BFBS.
That’s my opinion. What’s your take?
Thanks Rob, for that in depth look at BFBS in racing. I had no idea it was so pervasive, and I’m sure the readers were equally bereft of that knowledge until just now. What say you readers — the floor is yours.
Collector’s Corner, by Brinke Guthrie
• Check out Brownie on this 1948 Browns Media Guide.
• Ladies & Gentlemen, your 1940 Philadelphia Athletics. (Is that Connie Mack?)
• Whoa, over 200 media guides in one shot.
• Just outstanding NFL posters by Dave Boss. Seller has a few up.
• The hair, the mustache, the white Adidas kicking shoes. This screams “1976 Niners.”
• This looks more like an Elvis sweatshirt than one for Derek Sanderson of the Bruins.
• Lookit these 70’s NFL magnetic standings boards.
• A ’72 Virginia Squires program featuring some rookie named Erving.
• I distinctly recall this ’75 Topps card of Brent Strom and how horrible the artwork was. “Can’t they do better than that???”
Uni Watch News Ticker: First up today is Gibby Davis (now residing in Bangkok!), who recently spent 6 months in Australia and got himself hooked on Aussie Rules (AFL), saw this special guernsey that the Essendon Bombers are planning to wear and thought we’d be interested. Seems to be a PSA uni. … Terry Duroncelet found this ‘Bama logo on Chris Creamer’s site, and noticed that the ‘e’ in “Crimson Tide” was missing. Terry sent the link “to prove my clame.” (sic) … Interesting question from Walter Young (the “FormerDirtDart”) who noticed this sale and asks, “Is this a sign we will be seeing new batting practice jerseys for the 2011 season?” … Still more on those out-of-state license plates from Zane Tuck who notes some that North Carolina offers: Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Purdue, Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech. There’s also a whole mess of NASCAR tags (for individual drivers). … Benji Cauthren saw the link in yesterday’s post about potential new uniforms for the UNC football team. “I think this has been covered by you before (several months back). The helmet and uniforms were some prototypes sent by the NIKE people to Butch Davis and the team and may not even see the light of day this season or ever. I think someone snapped a photo of them and put it on Twitter a while back and people started buzzing about it. But I think the coach admitted NIKE sent them to see what they thought of them, and also to show off to recruits to get them excited. As you’ll see from Friday’s media day, the traditional look is still the primary uniform.” … John Muir simply states, “Romo’s Bitch.” … Yancy Yeater discovered the MM Bolding site and reminds us, “Don’t know if you guys have ever stumbled along this AFL program page but there are some doozies on there.” … Darin Nelson saw yesterday’s link to the ASICS page and points out they have a tab for Ichiro content, from there they have a really cool history of the cleats he has worn throughout his career. … In case you were wondering who was outfitting ND football this year (thanks to Alex Putelo). … Nolan Regan notes “Just a simple showing of what Sam’s Army will be wearing (last night), along with the “new” Nike ball.” … Chris Cruz says the US Swimming Nationals were held last week and the Pan Pacific Championships will be held later this month in my hometown of Irvine, CA and he took a few photos that you might be interested in. A shop was set up for the events and the The International Swimming Hall of Fame had some swimsuits from the the 60s and 70s on display. Other than the massive size and texture differences, the main thing you’ll notice is the amazingly colorful and thematic patterns of each of the suits. You’ll also see some great embroidery and you’ll notice no logo creep (there are Speedo logos on the frames, but not as part of the suits themselves). * US and Canada Olympics suits; * US Olympic suits (closer view); * Japan Olympics suit; * US-Japan Friendship meet suit. These unis are in stark contrast to the very plain black suits that all the athletes wear today. These days the only color on any of the athletes comes from their swim caps. * Michael Phelps with a black suit, black cap, and logo creep; * Colored swim caps; Here are photos of the backs of the shirts (interesting font choice): * Phelps (8); Lochte (1); and Coughlin (5). …Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: apparently Texas Tech has white helmets. Full story here. … Jim Wooley contacted Rob Ullman a while back about arranging for him to do up a sports commission. Here’s a quick background story: “When my wife and I started dating back in the early 90’s, she wanted to get me a special birthday present but really hardly knew a lot about me with the exception of me being a huge hockey fan and followed the Winnipeg Jets. She somehow tracked down a jersey for me (and an authentic one at that). She mentioned this to some friends beforehand and they suggested that, the morning of my birthday she come out of the bedroom wearing nothing but the jersey –which she thought about but didn’t thinking that for some reason I would be more excited about the jersey and not what was underneath! Anyway, I sent Rob some photos of my wife and a description and he did up a commission. Here’s the finished product.” Jim concludes, “Rob is fantastic to work with.” … James Huening adds, “I came across this Derrick Rose/adidas ad. He appears to be wearing a replica jersey (cuz obviously they wouldn’t have enough logos visible if he was wearing a game jersey). I’m wondering if that’s something adidas does with all their NBA guys.” … Marty Hick writes, “You know I love croquet. Check out this old National Geographic cover. I love that the guy with the yellow tie is using the yellow mallet.” … Fans may have been hoping for a possible Expos throwback in Washington yesterday — and they kinda sorta did, as the Nats added the Hawk’s name to their “ring of honor.” Nice to see the Nats acknowleding a franchise that, ya know, they actually have roots to. … Proving what we already knew, Bill Pintsak sends along an article on Clothes Aid Recruiting For Illini Football. … The “other” Mike Hersh points out Navy is testing new uniforms. … Matt Koppelman notes that Riddell has won a patent infringement suit against Schutt. … Manchester United formally unveiled their away shirts reports Patrick Runge, “and, hoo boy, are they UGLY!” … And finally, Terry Duroncelet just wanted to say that the “stirrups arrived yesterday, and they. Are. Awesome. Thanks Comrade Marshall.” He continues, “And to prove that the Revolution reaches across all ages, here’s a picture of myself. Can you guess my age?” I’ll bite — 25?
Had a great time at the Mets game yesterday — thanks Paul (and great to meet ya Dan). I must be some kind of a good luck charm for the Amazins, because I’ve been to exactly three games at
Citi Field Shea, and EACH TIME the Mets have shut out their opponents — last night Big Pelf outdueled Ubaldo Jimenez in a surprisingly long (time-wise) 1-0 victory. And the Mets wore their home caps at home for the first time in like forever too. Great evening. Good times, good times.
Tomorrow, Paul will have an ESPN column (and he tells me it’s a doozy), so he’s going to have the lede to whet our appetites for the mothership piece. Looking forward to that.
Have a great Wednesday everyone.
He’s going to actually say he got beat up by a girl? — Danica Patrick