News & Views » Cover

HotRods In The Summertime

NASCAR, Swimsuits and Life


Stock car racing is hot. Forget sexy drivers and media hype, I'm talking straight up about the Fahrenheit factor. You sit in the stands for hours with no cover in sight, roasting between the summer sun and the sizzling asphalt below. The cars blast past you a couple hundred times or so, blistering your face with searing gusts and fumes every time. Soon, you find yourself offering the beer concession guy $100 if he'll let you climb into the cooler filled with ice. You pour a cold one all over yourself when the checkered flag flies and it wasn't even your driver that won. Ain't it fun?When the race is over, the best thing you can do is find some cool water to chill in. A lake, a pool, a Wet Willy, whatever, it doesn't matter. And you're gonna need to make a pit stop for some swimming digs. That trusty tee of yours with your most favorite driver splashed all over it, well, it now stinks to high heaven of sweat and stale Bud. Matter of fact, so do you. Do yourself a favor and check out these poolside fashion "do's" from Belk and your buddies in NASCAR's Busch Series.

Don't worry, there aren't any Speedo's. (Come on, you knew this thing was going to be eat up with puns.)

Lance Norick and Kevin Grubb share driving responsibilities for the #26 Dr. Pepper Dodge owned by Carroll Racing. Along with his Dr. Pepper Racing tee, Lance is sporting a Polo board short in plaid with shark detailing. ($45) Kevin is all about some Tommy Bahama with his green tee ($24.99) and TB board short in a multi-colored print. ($64.99) Both teammates are wearing Captiva flip-flops by Sperry. ($34.99) And they've topped it all off with snazzy sunglasses. Just call them the Jake and Elwood of the Busch Series.

Kevin Grubb began his racing career the same way lots of NASCAR drivers have -- racing go-karts. In 1997 this 24-year-old Virginian made his Busch Series debut. He's competed the full season for three years running, racking up 10 Top 5 and 29 Top 10 finishes in 146 races.

Though Lance Norick is new to the NASCAR Busch Series, he's been competing in the fast lane for over 22 years. He began racing motorcycles at age 12 in his home state of Oklahoma and went pro at 18 in the AMA Supercross Series. He began competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1996 and was successful enough to become one of just 19 competitors to have won $1 million in the NCTS.

As a gas man and engine specialist, Jeff Clark is usually all covered up in a fire-retardant pit crew suit, so you may not recognize him even though he's an important part of every NASCAR Winston Cup Series Race. Check out the red color of his white-banded Polo board short ($45) to get a clue as to which team he's on.

Yep, Jeff can be found in the pit box of the red car with #8 on the side and Bud on the hood. This Harley-lovin' dude has been engine specialist and gas man for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team for four years, but has been in racing for over 12. His start in NASCAR came when he was hired as a jackman by Robert Yates for Davey Allison.

When he's not scrambling over the wall to help keep a four-wheeled vehicle running fast, he likes to tear up the asphalt on his Harley Davidson Road King.

Next time you're complaining about the summer heat out at Lowe's Motor Speedway, just think about Jeff and the rest of those muscular guys in those hot suits and helmets. No wonder he likes to keep it to a bare minimum on days off. But he's got to at least put on a helmet if he's gonna ride that thing.

It's Jason Jarrett showing all-American style in red, white, and blue duds by Ralph Lauren's Chaps line. Jason likes playing golf and fishing, so he's chosen the board short in red with navy and white outline ($29.50) because it wears well and looks great. The hooded zip-front windbreaker in white and navy will come in handy once the sun goes down. ($49.50) The black flip-flop is Pipeline by OP. ($24.95) All clothes courtesy of Belk, with hairdo inspired by the Backstreet Boys.

If this Hickory, NC, native's last name rings a bell, you must have watched at least part of one NASCAR race in your life. His father, Dale, and grandfather, Ned, both earned NASCAR Winston Cup Championships and Jason is hard at work to keep the family tradition going.

As driver of the #67 Damon RV/Biomet Chevrolet for ML Motorsports, Jason is competing in the full 2003 ARCA RE/MAX Series. After joining ML Motorsports in 2001 he earned a second place finish in the final ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings and was named Rookie-of-the-Year. Jarrett earned a third place finish in points in the 2002 season, with 8 top-five and 14 top-ten finishes.

When he chooses to wear clothes, coverboy Shane Hmiel likes to stand out, so these brightly colored digs by Nautica were a great fit. The Nautica board short is an explosion of red, orange, navy and green. ($45) It's topped off with a super-comfy hooded terrycloth shirt in red w/orange horizontal stripe. ($69.50) The sandal is Ecco Receptor in black and taupe. ($60)

Calling all sponsors: looking for a great deal? A driver with talent, looks, and charm? A young(er) Dale Jr.? Well, meet Shane Hmiel.

In spite of some sponsorship snags, Hmiel and his Innovative Motorsports #48 are only 110 points out of first place for the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Championship. That's thanks to eight consecutive finishes in the top 15, including back-to-back 3rd place finishes at Texas and Talladega.

If worse comes to worst, Hmiel could raise racing money moonlighting for J. Crew. Hopefully it won't come to that and he, deBidart and the rest of their Bad News Bears will find a sponsor in the market for a solid ride to the Busch Series Championship.

Brian Vickers likes to hang with proven winners -- from his racing team, Hendrick Motorsports, to his summer style that's all Tommy Hilfiger. He's wearing a dressed up version of the classic white tee by Hilfiger that features navy and red details and front pocket with logo. ($24) The board short is navy with blue. . .uh, is there a macho way to say "flowers"? ($45)

The clear slide is the Varsity design, also by Tommy Hilfiger. ($29)

Now before he heads out to the lake will somebody please get this fair-skinned young'un some sunscreen?

Would you ever guess by looking at this fresh-faced kid that he's a seasoned and successful racecar driver? Well, look past the Opie facade and check out the statistics. He won three World Karting Association national championships by age 14. In 1999, while driving in the Allison Legacy Cars Series, Motorsports Magazine named him the "Rising Star of the Year." In 2002, at age 17, he became the youngest driver in USAR ProCup Series history to earn a win and ended the season as "Rookie of the Year." He ran a partial NASCAR Busch Series schedule in 2001 and 2002 before landing a dream deal to drive the full 2003 season behind the wheel of the #5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

What were you doing at 19?

Kasey Kahne of the #38 Great Clips Ford teams up with Polo for summer style that can't lose. He's pictured in a classic Polo short-sleeved T-shirt in navy ($49.50) and Polo board short in green with navy Polo logo. ($39.50) The oyster slides are by Sperry. ($60)

Kasey may look like something off Dawson's Creek, but don't be fooled. The 23-year-old started tearing up local dirt tracks in his home state of Washington when he was 14 and has more than 46 main event wins under his belt already.

While other teenagers were trying to borrow mom and dad's car, he racked up an impressive record in mini-sprint then full-sized sprint racing, eventually landing a US Auto Club deal with the same Steve Lewis that had backed Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart on their way to stardom. Kasey rose to the occasion and won USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year, the USAC Midget Series Championship and Driver of the Year. He even became the only driver since Jeff Gordon to win the "Night before the 500" (Midget event) twice in a row.

He left open-wheel racing for NASCAR in 2002, signing with Robert Yates for a limited Busch run. Now he's driving a full Busch schedule in the #38 Great Clips Ford for Akins Motorsports.

Which brings us to his best summertime accessory: a stylish and aerodynamic haircut.

Add a comment