NASCAR collectors have gone over a year without any type of new trading card product. Press Pass went out of business a few days into 2015, and that’s the last we heard of anything. Over the last year when asked whether or not we’d see cards anytime soon, NASCAR would come back with a generic response but never really answered the question. During the 2016 Industry Summit that question was finally answered. Panini will be giving NASCAR a shot on a very limited basis.
It doesn’t surprise me that Panini is the one who will be making NASCAR cards. D.J. Kazmierczak who once was the head of Press Pass, now is the VP of Sales/Product Development at Panini. Plus they have all that sticker money from their big daddy over in Italy. NASCAR driver Chris Buescher kinda left the cat out of the bag before Panini’s announcement when he posted a bunch of sticker autographs he just finished signing on his Instagram account.
You can tell that Panini is really testing the waters with this new deal. They only plan to release four NASCAR products this year. The brands include Prizm, Certified, National Treasures, and a new product called Torque.
Panini is known for churning out one product after another. Lots of cookie cutter stuff. Releasing four products per year is how they should treat some other sports. Trust me. If NASCAR works for them, Panini will turn the printing machines on high. I think initially it will be interesting to see what NASCAR looks like on these brands. Over time, Panini will probably get repetitive though just like they do with everything else. Collectors are so use to the designs Press Pass used, almost anything is going to look different to them now. I hope Panini doesn’t make a mess of things with the NASCAR brand. Starting off with sticker autographs isn’t the best sign. Especially when Press Pass had so much on-card autograph content. People that collect NASCAR have yet to really see any sketch cards or shadowboxes. Too bad Panini isn’t known for either. There are a lot of popular elements which have been used in other sports card products for years that haven’t been seen in NASCAR sets yet. Including some of those things would make for a unique NASCAR product. The key here is to do something different that NASCAR fans haven’t seen before. Treating NASCAR like everything else they make will just end in disaster. Perhaps getting into something digital would be the way to go.
Topps, Upper Deck, and Leaf I bet could’ve made some great looking NASCAR products. Panini was the last company I really wanted to see NASCAR with. But I knew it would be the first company to give it a try after Press Pass went under.
I haven’t opened a Panini product in almost two years. Even though it didn’t qualify for any of their wrapper redemption programs, I decided to try a box of 2014 Elite Football during the National Sports Collectors Convention. Panini should have some of their new NASCAR products ready for the National this year. They would be smart to have them qualify for their promotions too.