NASCAR has policies discouraging certain types of dress and body modifications for drivers taking part in sanctioned events, and there is a dress code. However, many may still wonder if NASCAR drivers can have tattoos.
NASCAR drivers can have tattoos, even though NASCAR is strict on what its drivers can and cannot wear during a race for safety reasons. Some drivers have tattoos to commemorate NASCAR drivers or hitting their own famous milestones. Other drivers just have tattoos for their own personal reasons.
In the article below, we’ll look at some of the most distinct tattoos in NASCAR before diving into NASCAR’s dress code for drivers and team members. We’ll also talk about what drivers are allowed to wear when they are not behind the wheel on race day.
Like all sports leagues, NASCAR has no policy forbidding drivers to have tattoos. However, since we often see NASCAR drivers wearing fire retardant suits that cover most of their bodies, it’s tough to decipher which drivers have tattoos and which do not.
If you are lucky enough to catch a driver at a fan event or in street clothes, you may be able to see some artwork on their arms or legs. However, most of us will rarely see NASCAR drivers in regular clothes rather than their racing suits or formal clothing.
NASCAR is beyond lenient regarding not just tattoos, but piercings, hairstyles, and other forms of body modification. Basically, if a body modification does not threaten a driver’s safety, NASCAR allows them leeway to do what they want.
Drivers also are not hesitant to share their tattoos when asked about them. And others have even taken things to social media, challenging fans that, if they attain a specific number of likes or retweets for example, they will promise to get a certain tattoo. Other drivers, and even their teams, will get tattoos if they reach a certain milestone, like securing a big win.
Bubba Wallace was one driver who took to Twitter, promising a tattoo of Richard Petty’s signature on his leg if he received 43,000 retweets in 2019. Fans easily eclipsed the 43,000 retweets, and Wallace soon followed through with his promise. You can find photos of Wallace getting Petty’s signature tattooed on the back of his right leg online.
Ryan Blaney may have some of the most interesting tattoos. A lifelong Star Wars fan, Blaney has a tattoo of Darth Vader on his right quadricep, and it’s believed he has a few more attributed to the legendary film franchise. Blaney, who is close friends with Bubba Wallace, has even visited Galaxy’s Edge with him. In online photos, you can clearly see the Vader tattoo.
Wedding bands are the only appropriate forms of jewelry a NASCAR driver may wear during a race, due to safety concerns. NASCAR drivers may also wear any type of jewelry they desire at pre-race meetings, fan events, and other NASCAR-sanctioned gatherings.
Jewelry has become a hot accessory over the years for NASCAR drivers looking to express themselves in less permanent ways than what tattoos allow. However, unlike tattoos, jewelry could result in safety hazards. Necklaces and chains can get caught during a race or accident and become a choking hazard. It’s for these reasons that F1 banned jewelry too.
If they deem any jewelry accessory as unsafe or potentially unsafe, NASCAR will prohibit their drivers from wearing such accessories during a race. However, before an event, drivers are free to wear jewelry or any type of accessory.
While NASCAR drivers have a lot of leeway with their body modifications and accessories off the track, there are certain items they are required to wear once they strap into their car. These items are for the safety of the driver and the pit crew in case of an accident.
Fire Retardant Suit
You’ve probably noticed that NASCAR drivers dress in their trademark fire retardant suits during the race, qualifying, practice, and testing sessions. These suits will slow down the spread of a fire in the event of a crash. Racing suits are not fireproof, but instead delay burning for 20 to 30 seconds.
The suits also contain special handles at the shoulder should a driver need to be lifted from a burning vehicle. The suits are often comprised of one piece and their sponsors’ logos are often emblazoned on their front and back, which also helps identify the driver outside their car.
Before NASCAR mandated specialized suits, drivers often wore what they wanted, including street clothes consisting of blue jeans and button-up shirts. Tim Flock, who raced in NASCAR’s Grand National Series, popularized the modern racing suit, which gained further traction in the 1960s. The suits also contain an inner-lining that helps keep drivers cool.
NASCAR mandates all drivers wear certified helmets that serve more purposes than just protecting a driver’s head from serious injury. The helmet has a built-in radio, allowing the driver to communicate with their crew chief and spotters. In the event of a crash, drivers can radio back and forth with their team to relay the severity of the situation.
Each NASCAR helmet also has a tinted visor, designed to protect drivers from the sun’s glare during an event. While most NASCAR races occur either during the mid-afternoon or at night, some, like the Coca-Cola 600, take place when the sun can cause visual impairment.
The helmet further helps reduce serious head injuries since it serves as the anchor point for the HANS device, which NASCAR mandated shortly after the 2001 Daytona 500. However, before 2001, NASCAR also required five-point harnesses. They mandated six-point harnesses (from 2007), and, since 2015, seven-point harnesses to further reduce injury during a crash.
Like drivers, NASCAR pit crews must not wear jewelry that contradicts the organization’s safety mandates. Also like the drivers, pit crew members and anyone else handling the car must also wear fire retardant suits, gloves, and certified helmets. NASCAR also mandates the gas man to wear a fire apron.
Before 2002, pit crew members did not have to wear helmets. However, although NASCAR has required helmets, pit crew members are not required to wear visors. Tire changers may wear safety glasses, and it’s common to see them wearing face shields.
NASCAR’s policy allows drivers to wear tattoos and take part in any type of body modification they like. Some drivers have multiple tattoos. However, neither NASCAR drivers nor pit crew members may wear any type of accessory that contradicts the organization’s safety mandates.
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