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Volume 21 No. 2
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NASCAR toy delivers an impact

Kids are being encouraged to buckle up when they play with NASCAR’s newest toy.

The sport’s licensee, Spin Master, developed a series of collision-friendly toy cars called “NASCAR Bashers” that explode on impact. The toys are the first original line Spin Master has developed, and they encourage the type of crashes inherent to stock car racing that NASCAR has avoided promoting in recent years.

NASCAR Bashers will be available at mass retailers and advertised on TV.
Spin Master officials said they were trying to move away from the circle tracks and traditional model cars that licensees released in the past. The company did research that showed kids typically crashed model cars. That insight led them to develop a toy designed to come apart on impact and that can be put back together like Legos.

“We recognize that’s a sensitive issue in the sport, but kids in their fantasy play, it’s all in their mind,” said Craig Drobis, Spin Master’s director of marketing, who formerly worked for Mattell’s Hot Wheels brand. “We’re not trying to be literal with what’s going on on the track, but we wanted to let kids play the way they play anyway. [NASCAR] had a lot fewer [reservations] than in the past.”

Spin Master this Saturday will roll out an advertising campaign promoting its “Bashers.” Spots will air during kids programming on networks ranging from the Cartoon Network to the Disney Channel. The spots direct kids to a website ( where they enter a sweepstakes that will award someone a ride to school with Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards.

Blake Davidson, NASCAR vice president of licensing and consumer products, said it’s the first time in years that the sport has had a toy promoted on TV. He’s hopeful that, and the product’s availability at mass retailers ranging from Wal-Mart and Target to Toys R Us and Kmart, will help expose the sport to new potential fans.

“There’s a lot of kids who will see this product on the shelf who may have never been to a NASCAR race and think it’s cool and gravitate to it for that reason,” Davidson said. “We hope to pique their interest in the sport.”

In addition to the spot, Spin Master is sponsoring Nationwide Series driver Cole Whitt’s No. 88 car in this fall’s Atlanta and Texas races.

NASCAR Bashers include three different toys: a car that costs $9.99, a hauler that costs $14.99 and a car with a launcher that costs $14.99. The car choices include the No. 99 (Edwards), No. 14 (Tony Stewart), No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson). Their sponsors are featured on the cars.