Richard Petty impersonation cosplay costume NASCAR 43 pic heavy

Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
edited June 2022 in Costumes & Cosplay

This Richard Petty cosplay and costume build was another challenge from my buddy Eric. His family are all race fans and when not yelling for their team are instead driving for the same. Late in 2021, I shared a, head and hat only, picture of my Kid Rock cosplay and Eric's instant reaction was "Nice, Richard Petty". So the challenge was accepted and I began to plan the build. If you see a finished pic above this paragraph, I will have completed this build. My wife asked me to always post the finished pic at the beginning.

The hat build, which was already completed for my Kid Rock cosplay, can be seen here:

I stress that Petty owns an entire collection of hats and that the 7 or 8 that I saw on Kid Rock were either from Richard Petty's collection or were made in honor of the same. 

The remaining costume elements are the race suit coveralls jumpsuit, the flame retardent undersuit (with logo), the sunglasses with STP logo, sponsors embroidered logo patches, hair and makeup. In some shots adding as much as 15-20 years. 

These modern race suits are extremely customized but were originally just mechanic's coveralls. I have seen many recreations of them but chose to go with an older suit with sponsors from that same time period, near the Winston Cup series days. I started with a blue set of modern coveralls from Key brands:

I used a seam ripper to gently remove the pockets on the chest and steamed and ironed away the remaining imprint of the same. This is a lie, of course, as I rarely do anything gently and I ripped the suit and had to repair it. Be warned, seam rippers are sharp and dangerous, regardless of how innocent they look. Because these Key suits are for mechanics, they are made to go over your daily clothes and are not tighter fitting like the race suits. Richard Petty has always been extremely fit and never claimed an ounce of fat in his lifetime. His suits are custom cut, never baggy. I would not be surprised if they were always tailored, even in his first few years racing. Possibly a family member did these. I turned the suit inside out and had my wife safety pin the extra so I could "take it in". I learned this trick in the eighties when skinny jeans were called "pegged" or "fitted". I also cut off the button on the sleeve and the zippers on the calf. The picture I was emulating showed the sleeves partially rolled up to reveal the firesuit beneath. Remember, when taking in, you must understand how this process affects the crotch and arm pit area almost irreversably. By this I mean: WARNING...DO NOT TRIM OFF THE EXCESS UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE SEWN IT AND WORN IT. Some clothing areas are just not forgiving, at all, so do your reasearch on taking in and never trim off until try ons are done and the fit confirmed. This picture of Petty shows the suit type and some of the sponsors.

I then went shopping to find some thermal undergarments to use in creating the following firesuit (pic of a 10 years later Petty):

On my shopping trip I found no thermals, they were out of season. I did find a pair of men's athletic socks with the same weave. I cut off the tops to use as my sleeve ends and sewed the rest to the top of a white tshirt.

I found the Bell logo online and had it printed in multiple sizes on waterproof paper at our local shipping store. This meant the logo could be sewn on, which would not work if printed on paper.

I had the STP logo printed on sticker paper and placed this on a close matched pair of sunglasses. Then it was time to jump on Ebay and find my pile of embroidered patches. Many of these no longer had their glue backing so I used double sided tailor's sewing tape to apply them.

I grew my moustache and sideburns for this cosplay but had to add some hair over my ears. I used my beard patches from my Revenant cosplay. These are lace back ventilated hair pieces cut from a faux beard. I also had to dye my light brown hair to dark brown.

In oder to age enough to match the more recent Petty pictures (about the last 10 years of his driving), I applied a skin drying cream and began to "make faces" while standing in front of the mirror. I found I could drastically change my neck age appearance by pushing up or pulling down with my tongue. Odd, yes, but it worked. I would estimate about 10 to 20 years jump in age. No matter what age he was, in any picture, he was always fit, so I had to also appear 30 pounds lighter. Much of this was "making faces" and some was pose angle. I had to purposely suck in my gut AND my ribcage while shaping my neck and matching his very large grin. It was not easy. I would propose a girdle for any future attempts on my part.

The following are my finished poses:


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