E.V. Day (American, 1967–). Daytona Vortex, 2020, neoprene, filament, metal. On loan from Jimmy and Chandra Johnson.

The Mint Museum debuts Daytona Vortex sculpture commemorating NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson’s 2006 Daytona 500 victory

For Immediate Release 

Charlotte (December 22, 2021)Daytona Vortex by New York-based artist EV Day makes its public debut December 23, 2021 at The Mint Museum in uptown Charlotte. On loan from Jimmie and Chandra Johnson, the sculpture is made from the fire suit Jimmie Johnson wore when he took the win at the 2006 Daytona 500. 

Made from the winning fire suit, monofilament and hardware with a mirrored stainless steel base, Jimmie Johnson commissioned Day to create the sculpture that stands more than 12 feet tall. For decades Day has constructed sculptures that question social structures and perceptions around gender and sexuality, as seen in her Exploded Couture series that includes Transporter, which is on view in the Mint’s permanent collection galleries on Level 4 at Mint Museum Uptown. 

Bold forms and colors found in the sculpture generate notions of speed, technology, and celebratory confetti. The reversed engineering of the suit pays homage to Karuta, the complicated armor worn by samurai warriors. Day also considers Jimmie Johnson’s racing suit in the lineage of space exploration, tracing its fiber genetics to the suit that allowed Major Arthur Murray to become the first pilot to leave the Earth’s atmosphere in 1954.  

“It celebrates the power and heroism of humankind’s innovation,” Day says. “Tectonically the language of the piece highlights the friction between man and machine — softness of the highly tailored fabric to the rigid structure of the hardware. It may seem that these forces are at odds, but they are interdependent on one another,” Day says. 

When Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, chief curator and curator ofcontemporary art at the Mint, learned about the commissioned piece, she knew she wanted to have it on view at the Mint.  

Like TransporterDaytona Vortex is visually stunning and conceptually powerful as it pushes us to rethink ideas around gender, dress, social interactions, expectations and popular culture,” Sudul Edwards says. “It’s also a poignant reconsideration of sports heroes like Jimmie Johnson and the tension that must be maintained between the physical and intellectual, assurances and risk, in order to succeed.” 

Daytona Vortex is on view December 23, 2021-June 5, 2022, in the Gorelick Gallery on Level 3 at Mint Museum Uptown. 

Ticket Information 

The Mint Museum exhibition is free for members and children ages 4 and younger; $15 for adults; $10 for seniors ages 65 and older; $10 for college students with ID; and $6 for youth ages 5–17. Frontline workers and their immediate families receive complimentary admission through December 31, 2021. 

About The Mint Museum  

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations—Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street—the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community. 


Michele Huggins, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications at The Mint Museum 

michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org | 704-564-0826