Skip to content

What Color Is Your Roof?

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Graham Clayton, who’s going to fill us in on an interesting uni-related aspect of British F1 stock car racing. Enjoy. ”” PL]

By Graham Clayton

In most forms of motorsport, the livery or color scheme of a car is based on either a driver’s personal preference for particular colors, or a range of colors based on the driver’s corporate sponsorships.

But there is one form of motorsport where liveries and color schemes are used to grade drivers, as well as to identify the top drivers. This form of motorsport is British Formula 1 stock car racing, which has been the highest level of British open-wheel oval track racing since the late 1950s. The use of colors to rank drivers was introduced in 1959.

There are 5 main driver grades in BriSCA Formula 1:

•  “C” Grade (aka White Tops)
• “B” Grade (aka Yellow Tops)
• “A” Grade (aka Blue Tops)
• “Star” Grade (aka Red Tops)
• “Super Stars” (Red Tops with flashing lights ”” introduced in 1976)

Drivers must display their designated grade at all times by painting their roof/wing to the appropriate color, to show how drivers are performing relative to each other. There are, however, exceptions to these rules. Drivers who have won an individual title have unique roof colors to distinguish them from the rest of the drivers. The World Champion, for example, has a gold roof, the National Points Champion has a silver roof, the British Champion has a black-and-white checkered roof, and the European Champion has a red-and-yellow checkered roof.

As well as identifying different grades of drivers, the roof colors serve another important function: determining the starting positions for drivers in races. Each grade forms a block of cars lined up two abreast and bumper to bumper, with a two-car-length gap between each grade. The White Tops start at the very front, followed by Yellow, then Blue, the Reds, and the Superstars at the very back. Given the spacings between grades, this effectively means that the White Tops will have a half-lap advantage over the Superstars at the start. Here is a video of a Brisca F1 race from Stoke in July 2014, showing clearly the roof colors and how they determine starting positions.

Drivers pick up grading points for every race in which they compete. At the end of each monthly grading period, a driver’s grading points are used to check whether he is in the right grade. Based on the updated point totals, it is possible for drivers to demoted or promoted in grade. This can create situations where a driver who would ordinarily be graded as a Red Top, for example, could have had a bad month, maybe suffering from car problems, and be downgraded to a Blue Top. Likewise, a Yellow Top driver could have had an exceptionally good month and receive the handicap of being upgraded to a Blue Top.

This is where grades within grades comes into effect. A driver who has been newly promoted to a higher grade will be lined up towards the front of the new grade, and a driver who has been recently demoted down a grade will be lined up at the back of his grading. An example in 2014 is Michael Steward, who started the season as a “C” Grade driver with a White Top. Due to several good performances, he has now been reclassified as a “B” Grade driver, and now starts further back as a Yellow Top driver.

With the better and quicker drivers starting the at the rear, the racing has plenty of action, speed and passing as the Stars and Superstars chase down the front-runners from their three-quarter lap handicap. This is no easy task, because the races can be as short as 16 laps, at an average of just 15 seconds per lap. It all makes for an exciting sport.

•  •  •  •  •

Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

I’ve finally recovered from my post-World Series stupor, so we’re leading with the trusty NFL again. Here we have the single most horrendous-looking NFL polo ever. Retire the trophy — this one wins forever. Say what you will about the Swoosh, but they’ll never be able to top this. And I always thought Apex made terrific designs for the NFL. (Maybe because I got so much free Apex stuff back in the day? Probably.) But after seeing that Super Bowl polo, plus this Niners version, I’ve changed my mind.

Here are the rest of this week’s eBay picks:

• Speaking of ugly designs, is there a Yankees fan anywhere who would wear this? Anyone? Bueller?

• Pretty neat item here: This eBay seller has created a custom-made miniature 1967 Ice Bowl scene, using McFarlane figures for Bart Starr, Donnie Anderson, Jerry Kramer, and head coach Vince Lombardi.

• Now this is a terrific program cover. Utah Stars of the ABA, November 1975.

• The 1970s WHA gave us some truly great logos. Give it up please, for this 1977-1978 Indy Racers pocket schedule, this 1976-1977 Cincinnati Stingers media guide, and this wooden New England Whalers pin.

• Always liked the look of the MLB 125th-anniversary logo, as displayed on this ball cap.

• Here’s a 1960s St. Louis (baseball) Cardinals ashtray. Would they even license such a product anymore?

• The listing says this St. Louis (football) Cardinals sticker is from 1970, but I don’t believe that’s accurate. I’m thinking more 1984 or so. And note the helmet is pointing left, not the standard right.

• How cool is this 1950s Boston Bruins Ballantine Beer cardboard schedule sign? Doesn’t say which season it’s for, though.

• Technigraph alert! We can only hope that the Eagles go back to this look, from 1965. Want more Technigraph coolness? Just click, baby.

• Not the kind of fan item you’d wear to the ballpark, but Phillies fans will certainly want to wear this 1970s navy blue tie with red logos to the office.

• Got some LeRoy Neiman-style action goin’ on with this 1969 Patriots/Jets game program.

• • • • •

A Uni Watch tradition: Today is Election Day, which means it’s time for one of my favorite parlor games — seeing how many TV news anchors, reporters, and analysts wear purple. The idea is that purple is a middle ground between the blue Democrats and the red Republicans, and that wearing purple therefore marks the wearer as objective and non-partisan. (I still find it puzzling and amusing that red, which once signified the leftist/socialist end of the political spectrum, now signifies the party of right-wing conservatism, but that’s another issue for another day.)

If you’re watching the returns tonight and spot anyone wearing a purple tie, a purple dress, a purple shirt, or whatever, please get a screen shot and send it this-a-way. Thanks.

• • • • •

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Phil Hecken

Baseball News: With today being Election Day, here’s a great shot from Bruce Menard of Babe Ruth and Joe Louis giving advice to New York Gov. Thomas Dewey regarding his re-election campaign in 1946. … Brandon Roberts noticed that Joe Maddon appeared to be wearing the darker blue 2013 version of the Cubs cap at his intro presser. … Speaking of the Cubs, David Nelson “just noticed that the Cubs’ rebuilding of Wrigley Field has been branded with a name and a logo. Is that a thing teams are doing now? Not sure what the number 1060 has to do with it either.” I think I can help there. … UW friend Todd Radom thinks the Cubs should use this Maddon-esque logo going forward (h/t to Brinke for noticing).

NFL News: Never change, Philly: Here’s a story (and photo) of some Eagles fans wearing ”˜Romo sucks’ and ”˜Eli blows’ jerseys. … Here are the top-selling jerseys among female fans for each state (thanks to Amy Kreis). … Here’s a pretty neat video of a 49ers fan and his collection of game-worn jerseys (from Mike Bailey). … During Sunday’s Brady/Manning Bowl, Pats return man Julian Edelman, who has Jewish ancestry on his father’s side, was wearing a knit cap with a pin showing crossed American and Israeli flags (great spot by Tom Almario). ”¦ The new SB LI host committee logo was shown in yesterday’s Ticker, but here is a clearer version (thanks to Chris Perrenot). … Amusing typo on NBCSN last night (nice grab by Dillon), who adds, “tasty dolphin meat.”

College Football News: Looks like there was a bit of a stretchy situation during the UConn/UCF game this past Saturday (h/t to John Dankosky). … In yesterday’s Ticker, Paul said Arizona QB Anu Solomon tore his No. 12 jersey and switched to a No. 18, leading Paul to wonder why they didn’t have a backup No. 12 jersey for him. But as Rocky De La Rosa and Alex Johnson point out, Solomon actually tore two No. 12 jerseys on consecutive drives before switching to 18. … Arizona State will be wearing their “Desert Fuel” unis this weekend against Notre Dame, and yesterday their equip folks released a pic of the helmets being prepped. … It’s possible the Oklahoma Sooners will debut their home alternate unis against Baylor this weekend. … Here’s another article about newfangled uniforms being used to attract recruits at some of the lower-tier schools. ”¦ Here is an interesting piece on Lehigh football uniform history in preparation of Lehigh’s 150th meeting with Lafayette (from Greg Capece). … Is this possibly a leak of a new road jersey for Oregon? (Thanks to Ryan Janowski.) ”¦ Leo Strawn, Jr. was going through SN’s “Sports brawls you won’t forget,” and No. 14 shows the Cotton Bowl from New Year’s Day, 1960, between Texas and Syracuse. Check out the offset numbers on the side of the Syracuse helmets. Don’t recall seeing those before.

Basketball News: Great Shorpy yesterday, as it featured a fantastic photo of “‘Congressional pages — Senate basketball.’ Looking forward to tomorrow’s big game” (from Charles Rogers). … The New Mexico Lobos have “much cleaner” uniforms this year (according to Rob Montoya). … The Portland Trail Blazers will be debuting their sleeved “Rip City” jerseys tonight.

Hockey News: During last evening’s Rangers/Blues game, Rangers D Dylan McIlrath’s jersey was ripped during a fight. Ryan Dowgin says it was repaired before the ensuing five-minute penalty was up. The rip was also screen-grabbed by Alan Kreit. … Blues C Jori Lehtera has his name engraved on his skates. Adds Tyler Kulasza, “Blues announcer Darren Pang said they are custom-made in Finland for him and a few other Finnish players. Jori’s dad flew into NYC for the game and brought him another 80 blades (Jori only brought over 80 over at the start of the season) and he is taking the original 80 back to get sharpened by the maker. Jori doesn’t allow the Blues equipment manager to sharpen the blades.”

Soccer News: “I’m a season ticket holder for NYCFC and received an email invite to this event on November 13,” writes John Childers. “It looks to be the uniform reveal that has been rumored for some months now. The graphic shows Villa wearing a top with an NYCFC badge and a shoulder patch with the new MLS logo (in NYCFC colors).” … Another new MLS club, Orlando FC, will be revealing its new kit tomorrow. Orlando and NYC both offered teasers of the new kits yesterday. … Sunderland was forced to wear a one-off third kit against Crystal Palace since both its regular kit (red/white stripes) and the change kit (blue) clashed with Palace’s red and blue (from Yusuke Toyoda. Also from Yusuke, half-half scarves are really grinding the gears of Premier League fans.

Grab Bag: Cycling governing body Union Cycliste Internationale isn’t happy about all the yellow on the kit of new Dutch team LottoNL. According to submitter Sean Clancy, most teams stay away from the color because many stage races use a yellow jersey to signify the race leader. … Sigh. Apparently, Baskin-Robbins is celebrating G.I. Joevember in an, um, interesting way! Here’s more on that (from Lindsay Resnick).

• • • • •

My thanks to everyone who sent kind words and thoughts my way yesterday regarding my mom’s hip-replacement surgery. The procedure went off without a hitch, and she spent most of yesterday resting comfortably in the hospital, where the staff members all said she looks way younger than 90. (They’re right.) She’ll begin some physical today and go home on Thursday.

I’ll be spending a good chunk of today at the hospital, and then I’ll head back to Brooklyn this afternoon. Big thanks to Phil (who was on Ticker duty yesterday) and Garrett (who’s on duty today) for keeping things running smoothly in my absence — you guys rule.

Comments (65)

    Sorry, gang — for some reason this entry was initially posted with the “Comments are disallowed” setting. Not sure how that happened, but it’s now fixed. Comment away!

    That Boston/Ballantine schedule appears to match up with the Bruins’ 1959-60 schedule according to link (at least from January 9th onward); however, there’s a game listed on h-r for March 3, with the Black Hawks at Boston, that’s not on the schedule card. Wonder if it was an omission on the card, or if the game was rescheduled from earlier in the season.

    I understand why the UCI wouldn’t like the yellow jerseys on Lotto, but I’m not sure how many stage races other than the Tour de France use yellow for the leader, the Vuelta uses red and the Giro uses pink, don’t know if they’d give the same scrutiny to teams who would choose to adopt those colors.

    Add in that most races aren’t stage races to begin with.

    The team can always swap to another color for the TdF or other stage races that use a yellow leader’s jersey. That’s not uncommon.

    Wait, was it Phil, or Garrett? Paul comments at the end that Garrett is doing it today, but the byline on the ticker says Phil.

    Ah, well, there are more important things to worry about (like Paul’s mom’s health – good to hear she’s doing well).

    Phil was on Ticker duty yesterday (i.e., dealing with all the incoming emails, cobbling together the info, etc.), to create today’s Ticker.

    Garrett is on Ticker duty today, to create tomorrow’s Ticker.

    Mike will be on Ticker duty tomorrow (as he is on most Wednesdays), to create Thursday’s Ticker.

    I will be on Ticker duty on Thursday, to create Friday’s Ticker.

    And so on.

    The 1060 Project for Wrigley reminds me of The Blues Brothers. In the movie, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) falsifies the renewal on his car registration to 1060 West Addison (link) which leads to a humorous scene when the neo-Nazis try to track them down (link).

    Can a scene like that ever occur again in a movie? (And all those Blue Oyster Bar scenes in the Police Academy series). Now we would just punch in the address on our smart phones and the resulting map will show the name of the establishment, giving away the joke.

    I like it, too. Sorry, Brinke.

    Though I certainly agree that “….We can only hope that the Eagles go back to this look…”

    Hey, Greg Capece, thanks for the link to Lehigh football unis through the ages.

    “… The Brown and White reverted to its striping roots in 1893, beginning a 40-year run where for the most part, thin white stripes on brown sleeves and stockings were the look of choice for Lehigh football squads…”

    And a great run it was. There don’t seem to be many brown schools, but neither of the two I know about (Brown, Tufts) has been as conspicuously brown-proud as Lehigh. I’m too much of a Northeast provincial and would be interested in learning about other brownies across the country.

    I daresay you’re incorrect as regards Tufts, Connie. At least as of late, they’ve started to embrace their inner brown:


    Found it interesting that the Lehigh link name-checks QB Kim McQuilken, who had a cup of coffee with the Washington teams in both the NFL and USFL.

    And count me among those who love the Super Bowl XXIX polo.

    I thought this was really interesting.

    As most of us who follow the beautiful game know, many players keep match worn shirts, international caps, etc from their career as mementos.

    John Terry, the Chelsea/former England captain, has decided on a different tact. He kept every captain’s armband he’s ever worn (he’s captained Chelsea over 500 times and England 34 times, so it’s quite a few).

    He posted a picture on Instagram-


    I thought it an unique idea.

    Why does soccer need a new armband every game? If the guy has done it 500 times, can’t they just sew one onto his jersey, if he’s a sure bet to be captain again?

    You don’t need a new armband. But you still get fresh uniforms and game balls for every match.

    They could sew the armband onto the jersey but it would be inconvenient if the captain is subbed off or sent off. You’d need a seamstress on the bench. Also, velcro was invented.

    I think I spy the knickers of a teammate’s wife in that pile.

    I’m a long-time (read: pre-Abramovich) Chelsea fan, and think John Terry’s been an absolutely great player, but gawd what an insufferable, egomaniacal prick he comes across as doing shit like that (among numerous other things).

    The ticker submission for the “New” road jersey for Oregon is probably not going to be worn on the field. The photo looks like it was taken at the bookstore on campus or some other store close to Eugene. It is just the “Platinum Player Jersey” being sold at the bookstore.


    They did the same thing with a black version earlier in the fall.

    Canada stuck with the more traditional (carry over from the UK) colours for it’s two major parties. Liberal party – red and Conservative Party – blue. The NDP (New Democratic Party) which is further left of the Liberal party went with orange, the Bloc Quebecois with light blue, and the Green Party with green of course.

    Looking at online articles for the U.S. party colours. From what I have read so far the Republican – red, Democrat – blue only dates back to the 2000 election. Hard to believe it’s been only 14 years; seems longer – maybe because of the media bombardment over that time.

    Indeed – most networks up to 2000 used blue for the incumbent party, red for the challenging party. So Ronald Reagan painted the map red in 1980 and then painted the country blue in 1984, for example. Democrats were blue on most network maps in 2000 simply because the incumbent president was a Democrat. Republicans should have been blue in 2004 and again in 2008, and then back to red in 2012.

    The purple thing increasingly bugs me. Not because I’m against purple per se, but because there’s an even simpler, more obvious solution: Make your colorful accessories both red and blue. I mean, really, does any man who owns any ties at all not have at least one with both red and blue stripes? And, get this: A red, white, and blue tie would not only show “balance” between partisan symbols, it would also reflect the national colors of the United States. True fact! I know this is obscure knowledge that only a few history geeks still remember, but here’s what the actual American flag looks like:


    Note the presence of both red and blue in roughly equal proportion, and no purple. If only we could somehow let the newsmedia know in time for tonight’s broadcasts.

    The links to the “silver” roof and the “black-and-white checkered” roof in the lede go to the same exact picture.

    The look of those vehicles reminds me of sprint car racing.

    Why yes, they would license smoking-related products like that Redbirds ashtray in this day and age:



    And who says that Phillies tie is not something you’d wear to the ballpark?

    Interesting paragraph in link:

    On the one hand, football is akin to a secular religion for many Americans. It’s a tribal way of organizing life, complete with special garments, a sense of identity and weekly rituals. Football has its own annual holidays: the Iron Bowl in late November for Alabama, the Michigan-Ohio State game for the industrial Midwest and the Thanksgiving games and Super Bowl for the entire country.

    Liked the Indianapolis Racers pocket schedule (compliments of AMC) in Collector’s Corner.

    It begs the question, which was worse, the World Hockey Association or American Motors Corporation? I would have to go with AMC.

    From the description, there’s about an 87% chance of Total Suckage with the new home unis. I’m already in mourning. As if Election Day wasn’t stressful enough!

    I’m nervous about this. I liked that the Twins had stuck with the same design for so long. I thought of it as sort of a modern day classic. Certainly not iconic on the level of the Yankees, Tigers, Cards, Dodgers, etc., but much better than the teams that are constantly tinkering/overhauling (Brewers, Rangers, Astros, Padres, Angels to name a few). I guess I’ll withhold judgement until I’ve seen them (I like the new road unis they’ve worn the last few years) but I’m highly skeptical.

    Interesting entry. I’ve little to know knowledge of British Formula 1 Stock, so all new to me, though other international series have similar colour schemes.

    Part of me always wished NASCAR would have some sort of team colouring somewhere on the car. I’ve heard suggestions of colours on the spoilers based on manufacturer or even team (i.e. Hendrick gets red spoilers, Roush-Fenway in blue, Gibbs gets green, etc.) I’ve also heard fans bring up coloured rims in a similar manner. Similarly, I love it when the Roushians all have Fastenal schemes at the Coke 600 every year (though some are a bit gaudy).

    The yellow roof letters for chasers and the “winner” stickers we see above the side window is about the extent that I think we’ll ever get.

    Half and half scarves?

    THIS is what’s really pissing off football (soccer) fans over here now. Football tourists wearing these monstrosities:


    Glad to hear your mom’s surgery was successful, Paul. Here’s hoping for a smooth recovery, too!

    I apologise for the incorrect links in my BRISCA article. Here are examples of the four “individual” roof colours:

    2013 World Champion (Gold roof) — Tom Harris


    2011 National Points Champion (Silver roof) — Craig Finniken


    2009 British Champion (Black and White chequered roof) — Andy Smith


    2013 — European Champion (Red and Yellow chequered roof) — Ryan Harrison


    If a driver holds two individual titles at the same time, he is allowed to paint his wing in a combination of both colour schemes. Here is an example featuring 2011 World Champion and British Champion Paul Harrison. The wing is predominantly gold for the World Title victory, but there are two bands of black and white chequer for his British Championship victory as well:


    Finally, I would like to thank Paul for giving me the OK to do this article when I mentioned it to him, and for putting it up on the site.

    The Ice Bowl McFarlane setup is pretty neat, but the yard marker is upside down: the “40” should be facing the other direction, towards the crowd. D’oh!

    Just saw on link that the Mets are switching to white pinstripes as primary home uni next year, and adding a new alternate road cap. The link appears to be all blue (crown & bill) with a gray crest outlined in orange. Also a new BP cap with Mr. Met logo and orange front panel.

    Not shown or stated whether the white home alts will be switched to off-white; may be dropped altogether since they’re not included link. But, with respect to the pins, let me be the first to say, I called it. :)

Comments are closed.