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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

1991 and 1992 Racing Champions Sears Set Cars

    Starting in 1991, Racing Champions put out special sets of 1/64 cars, that included 13 cars in the 1991 set, and 11 in the 1992 version~ Most of these cars were common drivers, while one car was a special car that was only included in these sets~ These sets are called Sears sets, because they were sold exclusively at Sears stores~ In today's post, I'm gonna be looking back on the old Sears sets, and the included cars~

                                                              The first set from 1991~
1991 Sears Racing Champions #91 Set NASCAR diecast blog

    Each set came with specific cars, and in the 1991 set shown above, we can see A.J. Foyt #14, Sterling Marlin #22, Cale Yarborough #66, Jim Sauter #89, Rusty Wallace #2, 1991 Sears Set car #91, Rick Mast #1, Bobby Hamilton #68, Kenny Wallace #36, Bill Elliott #9, Hut Stricklin #12, Kyle Petty #42, and Richard Petty #43~

    The reason these specific cars were put into this set is no coincidence~ They were selected for this set due to low sales compared to some of the other drivers Racing Champions was producing at the time~ A lot of you may remember 1991 wasn't the best year for Bill Elliott, and the Wallace car didn't sell well due to the dullness of it~ The A.J. Foyt car had been recycled for a couple years at this point, so it made sense to stick the lesser selling cars into one big set~

                                                              The final set from 1992~
1992 Sears Racing Champions #92 Set NASCAR diecast blog

     In the final Sears set to be produced, the first thing you'll notice is, you got shafted out of 2 cars, versus the 1991 set~ Once again we see poor ol' Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace, and Bill Elliott.. but we are welcomed with newcomers J.D. McDuffie #70, Darrell Walrip #17, the 1992 Sears set car #92, Morgan Shepherd #21, Michael Walrtip #30, Ricky Rudd #5, Davey Allison #28, Ernie Irvan #4, and Mark Martin #6~

    J.D.'s car was added due to having a boat load of them left over from making too many after he died~ The same goes for Richard, as far as they just made too many getting ready for his retirement~ This is the first time we see Darrell Waltrip's car in the Racing Champions stable, and I think they figured they'd sell more of them than they did~ It always boggled me that they never produced his #17 Tide car, and then here's Ricky Rudd in the #5 Tide.. what's with that Racing Champions?~

    They tried to fancy up Rusty's car for 1992, but it still flopped~ People don't want to buy a car that doesn't have the accurate sponsorship on it, they just don't.. and I don't blame them~ Michael Waltrip's car, which was one of the coolest looking cars on the track at the time, just wasn't the seller Racing Champions thought it would be, and Davey Allison's car had the same problem as J.D. and Darrell's, it was just too overproduced~

    I really liked these sets for what they were, and if you can find them at a flea market, or yard sale, at a decent price, they're worth picking up still, just for the extra stands you can get out of them~ I buy them, and give the cars to my daughter, and keep the stands for my cars that weren't produced with stands, and buy custom cards for them sometimes~ The last sets I bought, I paid 5 dollars each for, so 5 dollars for 24 stands isn't bad, considering you just can't find the stands for sale anywhere~

                                                        1991 Sears Set Exclusive Ford~
1991 Sears Racing Champions #91 Set NASCAR diecast blog
                                                        Click pics to enlarge~
1991 Sears Racing Champions #91 Set NASCAR diecast blog
                                                                  Rear of the car~
1991 Sears Racing Champions #91 Set NASCAR diecast blog

                                                  1992 Sears Set Exclusive Pontiac~
1992 Sears Racing Champions #92 Set NASCAR diecast blog
                                                             Click pics to enlarge~
1992 Sears Racing Champions #92 Set NASCAR diecast blog
                                                          Rear of the car~
1992 Sears Racing Champions #92 Set NASCAR diecast blog

    The cars basically look the same, with the 1992 car getting Sears logo's on it, whereas the 1991 car doesn't say Sears anywhere on it~ I use the 1991 car's card a lot for cars I have that don't have cards, it works out great for that purpose, whereas the 1992 card says 1992 on it, rendering it useless for such things, unless the car you use it with was from 1992~

    If you like collecting Racing Champions cars from this era, these are neat little cars, nothing special, but cool to have in the collection~ Sometimes you can find a good deal on them on Ebay, but most people try to get 30 out of them, and it's not really worth that for 2 cars, if you have all the others~ Besides, Ebay takes the fun out of finally finding that car you've been looking for for so long~ I do it sometimes, but the cars I buy on there, I would never find around where I live in a million years~

    Thanks for stopping by the blog, I hope y'all enjoyed this post on the Sears cars.. it was kinda hard to write about a fictitious car, but it was fun to do in the end, for me~ Since there was no driver, or track featured on this car, I'm just gonna leave you with some random videos~ Enjoy~ :)

                                                            What racing was all about~

                                                            1987 Busch 500 Finish~

                                   Sears Dynaglass Tires & DieHard Batteries commercials~

                                                           Bill Elliott interview- 1994~ 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Chad Little #97 John Deere Pontiac

    I just love cars that come with little fun facts of information, and Chad Little's #97 John Deere Pontiac has a pretty odd story to it~ Did you ever know that Jack Roush fielded Pontiacs?~ Well, he did for 1/2 a season with this car, after he purchased the team from Greg Pollex during the 1997 season~ In this post, I'm only gonna be talking about Chad's time in the Pontiac version of this car~

    Little's first and only season in the John Deere Pontiac came in 1997, driving for Greg Pollex~ The season started off miserably for Chad, as he failed to make the field for the first 2 races of the year~  His first race in the car came in the Pontiac Excitement 400 @ Richmond, where he qualified next to last, and finished in the 34th position~ He improved in the next event, the Primestar 500, with a 19th place finish~ He had an impressive run in the Food City 500 @ Bristol, with an 8th place finish, his best of the season, and his only top 10 during 1997~

                                               Promo shot of Little's John Deere Pontiac~
Chad Little #97 John Deere Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jack Roush

    Following the strong run @ Bristol, Little had a little bad luck for several races, failing to even finish in the top 20 for the next 7 races, and failing to qualify for 3 of those 7 races (Sonoma, Charlotte, and Pocono)~ His next top 20 came in the California 500 Presented by NAPA @ Fontana, where he finished in the 19th spot~ His best qualifying effort of the season came in the Jiffy Lube 300 @ Loudon, where he surprisingly qualified in the 4th position~ Little struggled hardcore in the race however, resulting in a 30th place finish~

    Chad's final run in the car for car owner Greg Pollex came in the Bud at the Glen @ Watkins Glen, where he finished in 42nd place, after his engine expired~ After this race, the team was bought out by Jack Roush, who fielded the car as a Pontiac for the remainder of the season~ A change in scenery didn't do Little much good, as he finished 42nd in his first race with the new team in the DeVilbiss 400 @ Michigan~ He got his first top 20 with the new team the following race @ Bristol, in the Goody's Headache Powder 500, with a 20th place finish~

                                                        Chad Little John Deere hero card~
Chad Little #97 John Deere Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jack Roush

    Chad's best finish of the season driving for Jack Roush came in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 @ Darlington, where he qualified in 37th, and battled his way to an 11th place finish~ He then took a nose dive in the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 @ Richmond, finishing in the 40th position~ This was followed up with a 28th place finish in the CMT 300 @ Loudon~

    The whole rest of the season was plagued with horrid finishes for the most part, with the exceptions of the AC Delco 400 @ Rockingham, where he qualified, and finished in the 16th spot.. and the season finale NAPA 500 @ Atlanta, where he led his only laps of the season (7), and finished in the 18th position~ This was the final race Little ran the car as a Pontiac, as Roush switched him over to Fords for the 1998 season~

                                                     Chad Little #97 John Deere Pontiac~
Chad Little #97 John Deere Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jack Roush
                                                              Click pics to enlarge~
Chad Little #97 John Deere Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jack Roush

    It's a real shame John Deere left the sport, as this paint scheme was one of the most iconic schemes of the late 90's, in my opinion~ Even though Little was normally running in the back of the pack, he was easily visible from any camera shot he was pictured in~ The different tones of green, along with the yellow fenders and bumper are extremely appealing~ Even with the horrible yellow bordered cards that Racing Champions started using, I still easily give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~

    It's still hard for me to believe that Jack Roush eventually booted Chad from this ride, in favor of Kurt Busch, while keeping Kevin Lepage~ I think Busch should have gotten Lepage's ride, and Little should have had more time in this car, but that's just not how it turned out, and it's a damn shame~ I do have the Ford version of this car as well, and will be posting it at a later date~ Below are some videos featuring Chad, enjoy them and thanks so much for stopping by the ol' blog~ :D

                                               Top 5 Chad Little crashes~ NascarNixon~

                                                     Chad Little spin~ 1997 CMT 300~

                                          1999 Diehard 500~ Little involved in the big one~

                                             2000 Winston No Bull Sprint~ Little kills it~

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rodney Combs #89 Evinrude Outboards Pontiac

    Rodney Combs was a heck of a dirt track racer, as well as a 2 time ASA National Tour Champion~ His venture into the Winston Cup series went about as bad as it could have gone, and today, I'm gonna be writing about his tenure in the Mueller Brothers #89 Evinrude Outboards Pontiac~

    His first start in the car was in the 1989 Daytona 500, where he qualified 30th, and finished in the 37th position, due to a crash on lap 72~ He then drove several races for Ken Allen, in the #34 Allen's Auto Glass Buick~ Combs returned to the #89 Evinrude car for the Miller High Life 400 @ Michigan, qualifying 35th, and finishing in 40th, due to engine troubles~

    Following a 1 race deal with Lake Speed @ Darlington, Combs was back in the Evinrude car for the All Pro Auto Parts 500 @ Charlotte, where he qualified 31st, and finished 32nd, again due to engine malfunctions~ In the Autoworks 500 @ Phoenix, Combs qualified in 40th place, and finished in 27th, his highest finish of the season for Mueller Brothers Racing~ In his last race of the 1989 season, Combs qualified 32nd in the Atlanta Journal 500, and finished in 41st, due to oil line issues~

                                                           Rodney Combs promo card~
Rodney Combs #89 Evinrude Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jim Sauter

    The start of the 1990 season didn't fare any better for Combs, who failed to make the field for the Daytona 500~ In his first start of the season, he qualified 39th in the Coca-Cola 600 @ Charlotte, and finished 33rd due to engine issues~ In the Miller Genuine Draft 400 @ Michigan, Combs started and finished the race in the 40th position, due to a bad piston~

    He didn't race again until the next Michigan race, the Champions Spark Plug 400, where he qualified 23rd, but due to oil line issues, finished in 34th~ He qualified 31st for the Checker 500 @ Phoenix, and finished a season best 27th~ In the final race of the season, the Atlanta Journal 500, Rodney qualified 38th, and finished in 30th place, in what would be his final career Cup start~

                                                  Rodney Combs #89 Evinrude Pontiac~
Rodney Combs #89 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR die-cast blog BGN
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Rodney Combs #89 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR die-cast blog BGN

    I did a post a while back on Jim Sauter's version of this car, and while both of them look similar, there are a few differences between them~ The #89 on this version is red, where on the Sauter car, the numbers are pink~ Rodney's version also has the silver coned rims, which I always think is a plus~ I probably have a stronger connection to Sauter's version, because that's the one I had when I was young~ I never had the Combs version back then~

    As I said with the Sauter car, I love the white stripe along the bottom of the car, and that blue color is one of the coolest looking colors on a Racing Champions car, in my opinion~ The Pontiac cars were always pretty crude back then, but this is a fairly decent one~ Overall, I give the Evinrude car an A- on the Racing Champions quality scale~ Could have been an A+, but Combs is looking like a total creeper on the card, so that knocks a few points off~

    I have to admit, there are a lot of older drivers that I miss being in the sport, but Rodney Combs just isn't one of them~ He was always so boring, and he never amounted to much even in the BGN series, and he had decent rides back then~ Even though I don't really miss him, I do enjoy his old Racing Champions cars, especially the Lance Crackers one~ Below are some videos featuring Rodney during his time in NASCAR~ Thanks for stopping by the blog~ :D

                                         1996 Hummingbird Fishfinder 500k Combs crash~

                                                       Rougemont 1994 Combs crash~

                                                   Rodney Combs interview IRP 1995~

                                                  Rare footage of Combs leading a race~