SPORTS

Landon Cassill goes vintage with T-shirt for NASCAR fans

Cedar Rapids native uses his first car as inspiration for shirt; shirt goes viral on Twitter

Mock-up of throwback Landon Cassill t-shirt. (Photo via Landon Cassill)
Mock-up of throwback Landon Cassill t-shirt. (Photo via Landon Cassill)

Everyone loves vintage stuff, right?

Vintage cars, hats, shirts and memorabilia exist as a passionate niche culture — especially in sports — and Cedar Rapids native Landon Cassill gave his fans something of their own on Wednesday.

Cassill released a T-shirt Wednesday in the vein of the driver shirts from the late-1980s with loud colors and script writing, featuring the caricature of car at its center inspired by his first car, a Ford Festiva. It’s a limited run of shirts that won’t be reprinted, and is something Cassill hopes inspires the nostalgic section of NASCAR fans.

“It’s cool because it looks similar to the car I drove when I went to (Cedar Rapids) Jefferson High School,” Cassill said. “I kind of wanted a throwback, and it came about pretty quickly. A buddy from Enemy To Fashion designed the shirt, and his inspiration was a late-80s, bubble-gum-pop look to it. He wanted an old car to put on it, and I gave him a picture of my high school car. It’s hilarious. It has some historical meaning or value to it, I guess.

“And to be able to sell shirts on my website, you have to fit certain parameters if it’s not going to be an officially licensed product. It’s kind of a fun way to have a non-licensed product that still gets my name out there for fans.”

The shirts went up for sale Wednesday afternoon, and immediately Cassill had dozens of orders.

But before anyone could even order a shirt, the mock-up went viral across the NASCAR Twittershpere. Fans used Photoshop to put the design for Cassill’s shirt onto famous people — including President Barack Obama and Kanye West — and other racecar drivers, such as Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton. Cassill said he hadn’t heard from Gordon — at whom he tweeted the photoshopped picture — and said, “I haven’t checked to see if I got blocked or anything,” through a laugh.

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The web campaign was met with laughs and lots of retweets by the 26-year-old NASCAR driver.

“It’s fun; I love seeing my fans embrace that kind of thing,” Cassill said. “I love Internet culture. I think it’s hilarious. I like to see that even though a lot of people think NASCAR and NASCAR fans are outdated, obviously they’re pretty well-with it to participate in things like this.”

Cassill said the shirts will likely sell out “in a day or two” with the rate at which they’re selling so far, and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

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If the first edition of a vintage Landon Cassill shirt is a success, he said there could be more to come — all with the same general idea: to keep it limited and exclusive, and give his fans something special they can look back on later with a laugh and a smile.

“I’ve got a couple ideas for the next one,” Cassill said. “I don’t know if they’ll go viral or how many more times they can be Photoshopped onto other people without making people mad. But we’ve got some ideas. I like the idea of doing a very short order and one-time run of the shirts. I think that’s important because people like that sense of urgency.

“There’s going to be a lot of people who look back on this shirt a few days from now and feel like they missed out. Those are going to be the people who are ready to buy next time we do a shirt. I hope there’s people that are really interested in collecting every run of shirts I make.”

Fans can purchase the shirt here. The $38 package — a head-nod to his car number — includes the shirt, a signed hero card, a sticker and sunglasses.

l Comments: (319) 368-8884; jeremiah.davis@thegazette.com

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