Bob Bexon Player's Forsythe Racing IndyCar Suit
Bob Bexon Player's Forsythe Racing IndyCar Suit
Bob Bexon Player's Forsythe Racing IndyCar Suit

Bob Bexon Player's Forsythe Racing IndyCar Suit

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This suit was give to Bob Bexton,who spent nearly 30 years at Imperial Tobacco starting as a salesman and ending as president and CEO.

Bexon, who was senior vice-president of marketing and sales at Imperial's U.S. affiliate, the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., had a deal with Australian Barry Green for a one-car CART team (with Dario Franchitti aboard) to promote Kool cigarettes.

Although it's never been clear whether Green approached Bexon about Tracy's availability, or vice-versa, the end result was that Green's budget was doubled, Tracy climbed into a second car and the famous Team Kool Green was born.

Imperial Tobacco that had bankrolled the career of Jacques Villeneuve in his pursuit of the CART series title and the Indianapolis 500 in 1995 as well as his world championship run in 1997. With anti-tobacco legislation looming, Imperial was looking for a way to go out in a blaze of glory and Tracy's championship in 2003 proved to be "the final job," as Bexon termed it.

The passage of the federal government's Tobacco Act, which banned cigarette advertising and sponsorship promotions as of Oct. 1, 2003, meant Tracy had to finish his championship season "light," meaning his car did not have Player's decals on it.

It was up to an emotional Bexon to make the official announcement that it was all over.

"It is with sadness, yet also with considerable pride, that we announce" Imperial's withdrawal from racing, Bexon said at a reception prior to the 2003 Molson Indy Toronto.

It marked the end of 42 years of involvement in Canadian motorsport, going back to 1961 and Canada's first international racing event, the Player's 200, which was held at Mosport. And Imperial Tobacco supported racers, not just races.

In addition to Tracy and Jacques Villeneuve, Player's supported the careers of Gilles Villeneuve, Claude Bourbonnais, Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani, Bill Brack, David Empringham, the late Greg Moore, Lee Bentham, Bertrand Godin and Andrew Bordin, among others.

"It's pretentious to think that if we are not involved (in racing), the world will come to an end," Bexon said. "But I would rather stay in racing, if I had the choice. I, personally, will miss this very much."

This is a very unique item marking one of the greatest and longest collaborations in motorsports history.

The suit comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.