Race Weekend Central

Upon Further Review: IndyCar’s Trading Cards Are a Hit

Trading cards have surged in popularity over the last several years. Whether it’s Topps, Panini, or Upper Deck with their various offerings in football, basketball, baseball or hockey, trading card breaks are extremely popular with collectors seeking just that one card.

Motorsports has had a roller coaster ride with trading cards. Several companies produced trading cards about NASCAR and IndyCar racing back in the early ’90s before the hobby resurged, particularly in Formula 1 cards when Topps started their F1 Chrome lineup in 2020.

IndyCar lagged behind in the trading card space. As F1 cards took off with Topps while NASCAR went with Panini, IndyCar had nothing in the trading card space until spring of 2024, save for a limited run of trading cards focused on drivers from the Indianapolis 500’s history. IndyCar soon announced a deal for a trading card set involving autographed cards, foil base card parallels, relics and other limited-numbered cards. The cards would be made by… Parkside Collectibles?

Admittedly, this was a brand that did not seem mainstream. After looking at their website, their main products are focused around women’s soccer. After wondering whether Topps or another brand would have been a better partner, I decided to give the cards a chance by purchasing a couple of hanger boxes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum.

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After opening one pack, the truth of the matter is that the cards are well done. The base set has each driver and car from the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series campaign and every driver from the 2023 Indianapolis 500 as well. After purchasing a hanger box, I decided to go bigger and get a hobby box.

Hobby boxes are more expensive, but they have two guaranteed autographed cards in each box. Hanger boxes are much less likely to have an autographed card in them, but can still have numbered parallel cards in them. Opening the hobby packs was a bit of a challenge, but the experience was a good one.

After purchasing the hobby box from Indy Card Exchange, the card shop and IndyCar both advertised an IndyCar trading card event with Conor Daly, Jack Harvey, Felix Rosenqvist, Christian Lundgaard and Marcus Ericsson signing special autograph cards.

Crowd expectations were a bit uncertain for the event. Each driver had about 200 cards to sign for the one-hour session. Those ran out halfway through the line, which stretched almost all the way across the front of the strip mall where the card shop is located.

Team PR reps at the event were impressed with the turnout, as were the other attendees. In fact, the shop had to find other freebies to hand to attendees in line.

And to make matters sweeter for the attendees, Indy Card Exchange moved a register outside so the IndyCar faithful could purchase either hanger or hobby boxes after seeing their favorite drivers.

Yes, I purchased another hobby box, and yes, it was worth it.

On Wednesday, shop owner Andy Albert said that the shop sold out of hobby boxes at the event. The shop sold 60 hobby boxes and maybe another 30 hanger boxes. Quick arithmetic puts that at around $5,700, not including any additional individual hobby card packs that were sold.

“We’ve requested 10 more cases from Parkside,” Albert said. “We’re getting three. This’ll probably be our last allocation and we’ve already reordered three times.”

The trading card event appeared to be a success, as has the rollout of the trading cards online, but there are issues that need to be addressed. On multiple occasions, I received duplicates of the same card one after the other in some hanger boxes. In the hobby box video above, one can see a Graham Rahal base card and foil base parallel of that same base card just next to it.

That has to change for the next run of cards. As for the parallel cards, the blue cards are out of 99, but there are no specified numbers on them, so a collector doesn’t know if they received the first or the 71st card in the 99-card run. The black parallel cards are out of 10, but the collector knows which of the 10 they have with the numbers on them.

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Given that this was Parkside’s first run with IndyCar, a lack of variety of numbered parallels is understandable, but an increased amount of numbered parallel cards would be a great addition to next year’s run. For a comparison’s sake, Topps has parallels out of one, five, 25, 50, 75, 99, 150, 199, 250, 299 and 399.

After some initial skepticism about the IndyCar trading cards, it’s safe to say that they’re a huge hit with the series’ community. Let’s just hope that there’s enough to go around and that somebody gets that Conor Daly Bounty Card.

About the author

Christopher DeHarde has covered IndyCar racing and the Road to Indy for various outlets since 2014. In addition to open wheel racing, DeHarde has also covered IMSA and various short track racing events around Indiana. Originally from New Orleans, DeHarde moved to the Indianapolis area in 2017 to further pursue a career as a motorsports writer.

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