So today I heard a news tidbit about NASCAR die-casts. One of which being the most selling of 2016 was Chase Elliott. Which comes to no surprise considering he was the rookie favorite and winner of rookie of the year. Along with the replacement of Jeff Gordon in the 24. He has become a phenomenal fan favorite. With great power comes great responsibility. For the first time since 2011, a car driven by someone other than Dale Earnhardt Jr has outsold the 88 die-cast in memorabilia sales. The scheme number one on the list to be the top sale was Elliott's basic NAPA 24 scheme. Earnhardt Jr came in second with the Batman scheme from the promotion of the movie "Batman Vs. Superman" back in early 2016. Some fans may see it as a new era of Motorsports to come and others may see it as their beloved driver being pushed out of the spotlight. Taking on the "being pushed out of the spotlight" I disagree. Dale Jr has been NASCAR's most popular driver for 15 years in a row. His fan base adores him as much as they did Dale Sr. until he tragically died at Daytona in 2001. Jr has claimed various accolades since then with the exception of a championship.
Career timelines such as Dale Jr's are no different that those of the likes of a Jeff Gordon. Now I'm not comparing Jr to Gordon obviously, but my point is that a racer no matter if they have championship totals from 0 to 7 their career has a beginning an and end regardless. I'm not to say Dale isn't going to win one until then, but there is always that crowd who wants nothing but the best. We'll always still watch Dale race no matter how long he has left, but it's inevitable that he won't be there forever. Die-cast sales are however the turning point in the discussion.
Along with Dale Jr having been NASCAR's most popular driver for the last 15 years, it could maybe Elliott's turn to take the throne. That isn't a bad thing either. As a young man I look at Chase being younger than me and I always look to see the respect he shows that most people his age do not have. That wins me over as a fan a 100% of the time. So who knows if Chase could go to the most popular driver stage or not.
When Chase Elliott came to the Cup level he had explained time and again he vowed that he wasn't trying to replace Jeff Gordon. Like Gordon who has left his mark in the sport and is not completely gone, he has shown the beginning and the end part for his career and that someone new has come along. Chase's die-cast sales are the thing that prove that in this era we have to move on to new and different things to re-invigorate the sport to transform are interests. I'm nothing but happy as a fan for him and can see the confidence that the sport has someone who can pass the torch down to the next rookie to keep the legacy going. We live in an age where it's evolving to a different level. What are your thoughts?
All photos used with permission by Nascar Media.