Follow by Email

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bill Elliott #94 McDonald's/Batman Forever Thunderbat

    Hello, and welcome to another edition of the NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog~ Your one stop blog for 80's - 90's NASCAR history, as well as Racing Champions 1/64 diecast reviews~ In today's post, we're gonna be going back to 1995, and looking at Bill Elliott's time in the #94 McDonald's/Batman Forever Thunderbird, or as it was so aptly titled the "Thunderbat"~

    This paint scheme ran in three races during the 1995 Winston Cup season, and was an instant favorite with the fans of the movie, as well as the NASCAR community~ I was a big fan of the car, as well as the Batman franchise (though I leaned more towards the earlier stuff), so this car was a must have for my collection as a child, and is still cherished all these years later, though I had to buy another one because I damaged my cars as a kid~ Without further adieu, I give you Bill Elliott's Batman Forever Ford Thunderbat~   

                                               Bill poses for a promo shoot with Batman~
Bill Elliott #94 Batman Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    The new Batman Forever movie was highly anticipated amongst the many legions of diehard Batman fans, as well as highly promoted by the movie company~ As part of a tie-in with McDonald's (Bill's sponsor at the time), it was decided that Elliott would drive the "McDonald's Batman Forever" car in three races during the 1995 season, to help promote the upcoming film~ This was the second time in NASCAR history that a car had been used to promote a movie, with the first being Dale Jarrett's Hardee's/Ghostbusters II Pontiac in 1989~

    Bill's first race in the car came under the lights, in the Coca-Cola 600 @ Charlotte~ He qualified the car in 19th, but he was involved in a solo crash on lap 135, which ended his day, and resulted in a disappointing 39th place finish~ The race was won by Bobby Labonte, and his brother Terry finished runner up~ Michael Waltrip had a surprisingly strong run, leading for nine laps, while finishing in 3rd place~

                                        Elliott and Batman getting friendly with each other~
Bill Elliott #94 Batman Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Elliott next drove the car in the UAW-GM Teamwork 500 @ Pocono, and didn't have a very good qualifying session~ He would start the race in 25th, but was confident he could move to the front during the race~ He was able to move to the front, but never led during the race, and settled for a nice 6th place finish~

    The race was won by Texas Terry Labonte, and I about cried~ I was pulling for Ted Musgrave, who led for 6 laps, but ended up finishing runner up to Labonte~  Ken Schrader, who won the pole for the event, led for 18 laps and finished in 3rd place~ Sterling Marlin came home 4th in the Kodak Chevrolet, and Hut Stricklin finished 5th, giving him back to back top 5 finishes, the only time in his career he ever accomplished the feat~

                                          Bill on track in the Batman Forever Thunderbat~
Bill Elliott #94 Batman Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Bill's final race in the Thunderbat came in the Miller Genuine Draft 400 @ Michigan~ He qualified miserably, and would start the race from 34th place~ He was able to climb twenty positions during the race, to finish in 14th spot, but was never able to lead a lap in the Batmobile~ I wish he could have ended it with a victory, but it just wasn't meant to happen~

    Bobby Labonte again won the race, while Jeff Gordon, who led a race high 80 laps, finished in the runner up spot~ Rusty Wallace came home 3rd in the Miller Genuine Draft Ford, and John Andretti brought amazingly brought the #37 Kmart/Little Caesars Ford to the house in 4th place~ Morgan Shepherd, driving the #21 Citgo Ford rounded out the top 5, with his 5th place finish~

                                        Bill pondering what he'd look like in Robin's tights~ :P
Bill Elliott #94 Batman Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Though his time was up in the Thunderbat, he still had the rest of the season to run in the #94 McDonald's Ford~ He finished the season with 0 wins, 2 poles (Pocono and Phoenix), 4 top 5's, and 11 top 10's, while having led 123 laps, and finishing 8th in the final points standings~ Following this season, Elliott would continue a winless streak that wouldn't end until the 2001 Pennzoil Freedom 400 @ Homestead~

    Jeff Gordon ended up winning the 1995 Winston Cup Championship, beating out runner up Dale Earnhardt by 34 points~ Sterling Marlin was 3rd, 253 back from Gordon, with Mark Martin finishing 4th, 294 out of first~ Rusty Wallace rounded out the top 5 in 5th, 374 points behind Gordon~ A couple of surprises were Morgan Shephard, who finished 11 in the final standings, 996 back.. and Ted Musgrave, who finished in 7th place, 665 behind the Champion, Gordon~

                                    Bill Elliott #94 McDonald's/Batman Forever Thunderbat~
Bill Elliott #94 Batman Forever Thunderbird 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Reece's
                                                           Click pics to enlarge~
Bill Elliott #94 Batman Forever Thunderbird 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Reece's

     Every detail is here in this wonderful Racing Champions replica, down to the smallest of secondary sponsors~ It's cool to see Purolator on any car, for me anyway~ The clear windshield, letting you see into the cockpit of the car, seems to be a first for Racing Champions, as far as I can recall.. lemme know if I'm wrong on that~ As this was a themed car, and not one he drove as a primary for a full season, I am gonna keep this post kinda short, and get more into his racing background and history during an upcoming post using a primary car~

    If you've been collecting Racing Champions for a while, you'll know that there are so many different Bill Elliott cars out there.. it's unreal almost~ This was always one of my favorites that he drove~ It was such a big deal when he ran this car for the first time under the lights at Charlotte, and it's a shame the race had to end the way it did for him~ It was kinda sad when he went winless for so long, but it sure felt great to watch him get some wins again in his twilight years in NASCAR~ Below are some videos of the Batman car, as well as some random Elliott clips~ Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by~ Please share this post on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media site~ :)

                                                        Funny Bill Elliott commercial~

                                                       Batman diecast on Lazy Susan~

                                                        The Batman Forever trailer~

 1995 Coca-Cola 600 *full race* (debut of Batman car)~

No comments:

Post a Comment