January 16, 2004

year when it was first rumored that Winston was bowing out gracefully
from its long-lived NASCAR sponsorship, I got a bit antsy over my wardrobe.
Not that it amounts to much, about 3 pairs of jeans, 45 sets of overalls,
a couple dozen tee shirts…. and about $12,000. worth of NASCAR jackets.
NASCAR “Winston Cup” jackets.

Yes, I’m
one of those “walking billboards”. Not necessarily a fan of
any one driver, a fan of NASCAR. “NASCAR Winston Cup” racing.
Thats how its been since I was knee high to a Goodyear Eagle.

personally detest change. Even if its for the good of something, I still
hate it. When Directv changed around the channel numbers a couple of years
ago, it pissed me off. Just imagine the ESPN, FOX wars…. I walked around
packing iron just for no reason at all because of that debacle. I might
have even cursed once or twice…. or twelve dozen times. Then there was
the TNN thing. The former “The Nashville Network”, that used
to carry racing of all kinds, died a slow death and even took the WOO
with it.

And now,
“change” has personally affected my clothes.

For the past
two months, I’ve been checking eBay for retro-Winston Cup jackets just
to see if I really am sitting on a goldmine, but alas, its all pretty
much just a bunch of rags and zippers according to the prices I’ve seen.
Plus there was just so much of this stuff made that its value could be
regarded more as “emotional” and personal than monetary. So,
time to move on and put my head in gear for my next fashion line – “NEXTEL”.

I’ve waited
quite patiently, and emailed one of the many NASCAR jacket suppliers who
are online, simply asking when the new NEXTEL jackets will be available
for purchase. It seemed to be a mystery. I suppose there was still a boatload
of Winston Cup merchandise floating around that needed to be sold before
any new stuff would be introduced anyhow. If I were NASCAR I would have
not told anyone about NEXTEL and offered an 80% off sale on all Winston
Cup merchandise before dropping the bomb that Winston was leaving. Who
wants obsolete clothes and license plate frames, pillows and throws and
shower curtains, teddy bears and golf balls? Not me, thats for sure.

after all my waiting, the new NEXTEL Cup jackets are available at Nascar.com.
There’s a bland black one with the logo on the front and back and its
about as exciting as wearing a garbage bag with armholes cut out of it.
Inexpensive, but good grief….. totally blah. I have also seen on a few
occasions over the past week, another NEXTEL jacket that keeps getting
moved around the NASCAR Store website. One day its there, the next day
its not. As I type this, its not even listed under NEXTEL merchandise,
but instead listed with all the jackets, and in reality it should be listed
with the parade suits or kids Halloween costumes instead. Its the standard
“uniform jacket” style, of which I have several, but you pretty
much start to go dizzy after looking at it for more than 15 seconds. The
sleeves are banded with black and yellow (NEXTEL’s colors)…. and there
is a huge N E X T E L emblazoned across the chest. Absolutely gross and
I honestly can’t believe my eyes. I think I’d rather wear a Viagra jacket.
In the description, it states that it is the “inaugural” NEXTEL
jacket, so it leads me to believe that there may be a good one in the

all the great designs floating around, you would think that they could
have come up with something that does not closely resemble a giant bumble
bee. In fact, I think if you wore this jacket near a field of clover,
you would be swarmed. No imagination went into the design of this jacket
whatsoever. The paper bag you would have to wear over your head so as
not to be recognized would have more style to it. Some of the jackets
I’ve been seeing during the Speed Channel coverage of the Paris-Dakar
rally are more appealing and I’m just referring to what the locals are
wearing. As an example of a great jacket, check out Dale Jr.’s Chance
2/DMP jacket from ’03. It has some pretty trick looking swooshy things
in white along the torso and upwards from the cuff of the sleeve to the
armpit. It looks like its going fast just hanging in the closet… not
like something that is laying eggs in the walls of your cottage or makes
a jar of honey then goes off to procreate and die.

Until a time
comes where the “2nd inaugural” NEXTEL jacket is released to
the public, I’ll still be sporting my Winston Cup duds and thinking of
the good ‘ole days………..

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