INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — It all started with a silk foulard fedora.
Townsend Bell proudly rocked the Robert Graham hat around Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year, earning the clothing line immeasurable free publicity. The colors of the fedora happened to match his firesuit, and Bell was a legitimate fan of the label.
A year later, the driver has partnered with Robert Graham for his Indianapolis 500 effort and the relationship is clearly sticking with the clothier's motto of "out with the old, in with the bold."
When KV Racing Technology rolls out Bell's car Sunday when IMS opens for 500 preparations, it will be boldly designed with the Robert Graham logos and color splash. That includes the cockpit, which most teams traditionally leave a solid color. But Bell's will be awash in bright reds, oranges, purples and blues.
The same look has been created for the shirts the KV Racing crew will wear, as well as Bell's firesuit. But Bell's fedora has been replaced by a Robert Graham-logoed checkered driving cap, and the crew shirts aren't traditional for the designer: The backs are adorned with the faces of several previous Indy 500 winners.
"We wanted to pay homage to all of the past winners, so we created this remarkable collage," said founder and co-chairman Robert Stock. "In the pictures, on the actual shirt, you'll see Al Unser Jr., Al Unser Sr., Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, all of these Indianapolis greats."