For those who may have thought die-cast replicas of NASCAR cars had faded away from the height of their popularity in the 1990s and up to about 2005, guess again.
Lionel Racing, which is the Official Die-Cast manufacturer of NASCAR, announced Friday that Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Daytona 500 Race Win die-cast was the best-selling car of 2014.
Not only that, that same car is now the best-selling die-cast in the company’s history.
Wait, there’s more, particularly for members of the Junior Nation:
Six of the top 10 best-selling NASCAR die-casts this year are tied to Earnhardt in one form or other. He earned the No. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10 spots on the top 10 list, several due to special paint schemes for particular races.
“When the NASCAR season kicks off with Dale Jr. winning the Daytona 500, it’s a safe bet that die-cast sales across the board will skyrocket,” Lionel Racing president Howard Hitchcock said in a media release. “His win really set the tone for our year overall – we have had a very good season.”
Among the most notable was Earnhardt’s National Guard/Superman paint scheme, Lionel said.
Austin Dillon bringing back the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet to the Sprint Cup Series for the first time since the death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 ranked fourth-best, preventing Junior from sweeping the top 5 spots.
“The story of the #3 car’s return to Cup competition really resonated with both long-time and new NASCAR fans,” Hitchcock said. “It’s great to see a rising star like Dillon make our top 10 list.”
Also of note, 2014 Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet ranked eighth on the top 10 list.
Here’s the list of this year’s top 10-selling NASCAR die-casts:
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 National Guard/Daytona 500 Win Chevrolet.
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 National Guard Hall of Heroes/Superman Chevrolet.
4. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Automotive Chevrolet.
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 National Guard/Pocono Win Chevrolet/
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 Michael Baker/Pocono Win Chevrolet.
7. Jeff Gordon No. 24 AARP/Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet.
8. Kevin Harvick No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet.
9. Tony Stewart No. 14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet.
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet.
Also, here’s the best-selling drivers of 2014:
1. Earnhardt. 2. Gordon. 3. Harvick. 4. Jimmie Johnson. 5. Austin Dillon. 6. Chase Elliott. 7. Stewart. 8. Kyle Busch. 9. Brad Keselowski. 10. Kyle Larson.
“It’s exciting to see the rising stars of the sport make such an impact on the core fan,” Hitchcock said. “Austin, Chase and Kyle Larson beat out some heavy hitters when it comes to merchandise sales, and that only bodes well for the future of NASCAR.”
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