It looks like the best keep secret in NASCAR trading cards was too good of a secret. Panini America will no longer produce Panini Instant NASCAR trading cards for at least this year. Why do I say that, well we are a few weeks in to the 2018 season and no new on demand cards have been offered. Panini America will still produce NASCAR trading cards but will cease the on demand printing for at least this season.
What They Are:
One of my favorite NASCAR trading card collectibles during the last two NASCAR seasons was the weekly Panini Instant trading cards. Each week during the 2017 NASCAR season trading cards were offered for sale for only 24 hours via the Panini America web site. These featured the past week’s Monster Cup race winner. The 3 offerings each week were a green, black and red striped version. The green version was numbered 1 of 10 and the Black version was a 1 of 1. Each version’s print run is labeled on the back of the card. My favorite version each week was the red one. The red version was the base version and the print run was determined by the number of cards ordered in those 24 hours which lead to some very low print runs.
The 2016 Panini Instant set was produced only during the 2016 NASCAR chase which resulted in a 15-card set. This was the first-time Panini Instant cards were produced for NASCAR. The versions are differentiated by the stripe under the driver’s name on the card front. The back of each card also states the print run. The 2016 set was finished off by a Tony Stewart retirement card (#14) with a red base card print run of only 70 cards. The last card (#15) in the 2016 set features the 2016 champion Jimmie Johnson which had a red base print run of only 94 cards.
Panini Instant returned to NASCAR in 2017 in a big way by offering cards during the whole season starting with card #1 featuring the 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch. The offerings where the same as the year before with a red, green edge numbered to 10 and a black edge 1 of 1 version. The 2017 set is comprised of all the 2017 race winners which included notable first time Monster Cup winners Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (63), Austin Dillon (57) and Ryan Blaney (84). The 2017 set wraps up with the 2017 champion Martin Truex Jr. (61) and a Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s (84) retirement card.
Why They Will Be Missed:
I think these are very collectible for a few different reasons and these weekly offerings will be missed. These cards appealed to collectors who may collect a specific driver and they enjoy collecting cards celebrating each win. They also offered cards of drivers that have decided to retire and offered a last card to honor them and their contribution to the sport that a collector could remember them by. One thing is for sure that compared to the other NASCAR Trading card products these print runs are small in comparison.
One thing I will miss is not being able to get that NASCAR Panini Instant card when one of the new young drivers get their first Monster Energy Cup win. If your disappointed in the decisions to stop making Panini Instant NASCAR trading cards, let Panini America know via social media.