By Rebecca Gladden
A few weeks ago, speculation began that the Budweiser sponsorship in NASCAR might be moving to Richard Childress Racing in 2011 — specifically, to the No. 29 Cup car driven by Kevin Harvick.
Within hours of hearing that rumor, I came across a picture on Twitter depicting what Harvick's No. 29 Chevy Impala might look like:
The image was so convincing that it looked as if an early picture of the official paint scheme might have leaked out in advance of an official sponsor announcement.
But that was not the case.
The rendering of the Budweiser No. 29 was produced by a talented graphic artist known as "ernhrtfan" on Twitter – real name, Scott Bates of Oklahoma.
Scott's TwitPic page and personal website are full of amazing car designs like the one above. Here's an eye-catching depiction of Jeff Gordon's No. 24 DuPont Chevy titled, "Look ma, no flames!"
While Scott's NASCAR images show a great eye for design and plenty of talent, his renderings are all the more amazing when you know the back story behind them.
That's because Bates creates these spectacular images using his head … literally.
As a disabled Marine Corps vet who subsequently developed multiple sclerosis, Scott no longer has the use of his hands.
"I am catastrophically disabled by MS that finally put me in a wheel chair in 2005," he told me. "I can sit at my desk and function pretty well. I use a hands-free mouse that I control with my head movements to do my design work. I use my computer because I can no longer use my hands."
Along with designing NASCAR cars, Scott makes logos, websites, and other forms of graphic art, including this website which he created for the Special Olympics organization in his town: www.cherokeecountry.net. He did not charge a fee for designing the Special Olympics website and he pays for the web hosting himself.
Bates' spirit of generosity and sense of optimism are truly inspiring when you consider everything he's been through and is still coping with today.
"The multiple sclerosis started in the mid '80's while I was a Marine with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines," Scott said. "Because so little was known about MS, I was misdiagnosed with everything from depression to being called crazy."
After his discharge from the Marine Corps, Scott became an auto tech at a Chevrolet dealership in Norman, Oklahoma, where he worked for ten years until his symptoms made it impossible to continue. "My condition became so bad that I could no longer walk without falling down and suffered from extreme fatigue."
After years of fear and frustration, the diagnosis of MS was finally made. The former physically-fit Marine is now completely disabled and confined to a wheelchair. "I can still stand, but I have no balance and cannot take steps," he said. He is cared for around-the-clock by family members.
As you may have inferred from his Twitter name, Scott is passionate about NASCAR and his favorite drivers, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Jr.
Many of his designs involve the No. 3 and No. 88 cars, though he has done renderings of other Chevys, including those of Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and more. Here is a fantasy image combining Bates' love of the No. 3 Dale Earnhardt car and the Marine Corps:
Remember, Scott's only way of controlling his computer mouse is by moving his head.
Because of his severe physical challenges, Scott gets considerable satisfaction from the sense of independence that designing provides. "I really love doing this work because it is one of the only things I can do by myself without any assistance from anyone."
But there is one thing Scott can't do without help – and that's where you come in.
"My dream is to someday see one of my cars on the track in the Sprint Cup Series," he said. Perhaps it could be a design that benefits charity, like this one featuring the NASCAR Foundation and the Paralyzed Veterans of America:
Check out the original article here: http://insiderracingnews.com/Writers/RG/081310.html
If you're reading this article and are in a position to help get one of Scott's designs on a NASCAR Sprint Cup car, please email me.