Arriving just ahead of the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500, a new line of trading cards honors auto racing greats of the past and present, while celebrating a popular racing magazine from the past.
“Speedway Stars” Series 1 contains images of some of the greatest drivers in auto racing history, including three-time Indianapolis 500 winners Johnny Rutherford, Dario Franchitti and Wilbur Shaw.
Indianapolis 500 winners Jim Clark, Troy Ruttman, Rodger Ward, Johnnie Parsons, and Bill Cummings can also be found in the first series, along with popular drivers such as World Champion Jochen Rindt, Mel Kenyon, Bobby Marshman, James Hinchcliffe, Eddie Sachs and Tim Richmond.
Each box comes with the 30 base cards in Series 1, and one of ten cards from a special Champions insert “chase card” series.
The fully licensed set is a labor of love for creator Michael Thomsen, a longtime producer of auto racing radio and television programming, and a co-Vice President of the National Indianapolis 500 Collector’s Club.
“I have always loved auto racing history, and this set is a tribute to some of my favorite drivers of the past, who mean so much to myself and fans around the world,” Thomsen said. “I am very honored that so many legendary drivers and their families allowed me to honor them with my debut set.”
Thomsen said he acquired individual licensing with the families of the deceased drivers featured in the set and with the living drivers themselves.
Most of the images used to create the set come from the archives of Racing Pictorial magazine, a popular publication produced from 1959-1986. Many of the negatives and slides in the Racing Pictorial collection have never been seen by the public, something that the man behind the set is aiming to change.
“Like so many fans I grew up reading Racing Pictorial magazine,” Thomsen said. “When I had the opportunity to acquire what remains of the magazine’s photographic archive, I couldn’t pass up the chance to preserve these important historic images.”
Thomsen says the card set will help bring those photos back to life, especially for a new generation of fans. Additional series are in the works.