DALLAS-NASCAR fans have always been, well. . . fanatical. That excites Press Pass, a Dallas-based manufacturer and distributor of trading cards, which released its Burning Rubber series of NASCAR driver cards in January.
What makes them unique-and valuable-is the fact that one in 3,840 cards comes with a patch of rubber culled from what once was a winning NASCAR race tire.
``We wanted to bring the race fan a little closer to the sport,'' explained Rod Ulrich, Press Pass marketing manager.
The 2.5X3.5-inch cards feature a picture of a race car along with a drawing of a tire on the front and the car's driver on back. But the company places a small patch of rubber from a real racing tire on one Burning Rubber card per case, Mr. Ulrich said. There are 480 packs of cards in a case; eight cards per pack.
The rubber is included on 400 limited edition cards for each of seven different NASCAR greats, including Sterling Marlin and Jeff Gordon.
Although the retail price for a pack is $2.25, collectors are selling the rare cards at prices typically ranging between $45 and $200, he said, adding seven-time Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt's card has been priced as high as $250.
Those prices will go even higher, he speculated, noting ``the scarcity of the cards isn't out (in the public) yet.''
In 1994, Press Pass created a similar promotion with a special insert card that could be redeemed for lug nuts Rusty Wallace used during a race.