Lionel Racing: NASCAR Classics

There was a time when racers were tougher than the cars they drove. When drivers had scores to settle on the white-hot asphalt and sometimes beyond it. These pioneers raced to live and lived to race and it is their competitive spirit that has made NASCAR what it is today.

The NASCAR Classics die-cast line honors these motorsports heroes with historic die-cast cars that have never before been available to collectors. Spanning the era from the early 1940s to the late 1990s, NASCAR Classics die-cast are detailed, authentic, and they each capture an important moment from the sport’s storied past.

Lionel Racing introduced the first die-cast in this line in 2011. Each year, at least one of the NASCAR Classics cars makes it onto Lionel Racing’s annual best-sellers list.

NASCAR Classics are offered in 1:24 scale and also in 1:64 scale if that tool is available.

The first release in the NASCAR Classics die-cast line was Dale Earnhardt’s No. 96 Cardinal Tractor Ford Torino, which he raced for the first time in 1978 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was the first Ford Earnhardt ever raced and also the car he drove to his first top 10 in NASCAR’s premier series.

For one race only, the 1986 Coca-Cola 600, The King Richard Petty drove this No. 6 STP Monte Carlo, owned by D.K. Ulrich. Petty landed the ride after crashing his own car in practice; a circumstance which led NASCAR to institute the back-up car policy which remains in effect today.

In a career that saw 49 wins and two track championships, Tiny Lund became the stuff of NASCAR legend – and so did this 1940 No. 55 Ford Coupe. Lund raced this Ford in 109 starts, making it synonymous with the larger-than-life driver.

In a career that saw 49 wins and two track championships, Tiny Lund became the stuff of NASCAR legend – and so did this 1940 No. 55 Ford Coupe. Lund raced this Ford in 109 starts, making it synonymous with the larger-than-life driver.

This 1940 No. 94 Smith’s Auto Parts Ford Coupe is the car Louise Smith drove in the NASCAR Grand National Series™ in 1949 and 1950 at Daytona Beach and Langhorne. She wasn’t just the driver of this machine, she was the owner as well.

Tim Flock still holds the record for the highest career win percentage – with 40 victories out of 189 starts. He’s also the current record-holder for the most pole positions in a single championship season, with 19 poles total. This 1940 No. 91 Ford Coupe, known as “The Black Phantom,” was one of Flock’s first rides.

On May 7, 1989 at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt debuted this No. 3 Goodwrench Chevrolet Lumina. This car was Chevy's first made-for-racing model since 1983. Earnhardt won four races in the Lumina that year and finished second in the standings.

This 1982 No. 2 J.D. Stacy Buick is the car that gave Tim Richmond his first top-five finish on April 4, 1982. The race was the CRC Chemicals Rebel 500 at Darlington Speedway, and the result proved Richmond had what it took to compete with the big boys of NASCAR.

Darrell Waltrip got behind the wheel of this 1983 No. 11 Pepsi Challenger Chevrolet at Talladega on May 1, 1983. On lap 70, he got caught up in a scary crash that ended his day. Waltrip never raced this car again.

At Charlotte Motor Speedway in both the spring and fall races, Waltrip wheeled this No. 17 Mountain Dew Pontiac Ventura to two impressive finishes. In the fall race, Waltrip led 152 of 200 laps earning one win in the only two outings of this Mountain Dew car.

This No. 8 Eddleman’s Garage Ford is a car Ralph Earnhardt built and drove to incredible racing success. Sponsored by the garage where Earnhardt perfected his engine-building skills for moonshiners like Junior Johnson, this die-cast car is a relic from the era that made NASCAR what it is today.

Owned by Harry Ranier, Buddy Baker’s “Gray Ghost” won a total of five races – including its infamous victory in the 1980 Daytona 500 which Baker won from the pole.

When Dale Earnhardt got behind the wheel of James Miller’s No. 8 1956 Ford Victoria in 1971, it was only the second car he had ever raced. On the dirt tracks of North and South Carolina, Earnhardt put this Ford through its paces trying to prove himself as a driver who was worth the risk.

In his first full season driving in NASCAR’s premier series and his first ever Daytona 500 start, Mark Martin drove this No. 02 Apache Stove Buick for owner Bud Reeder.

In 1976 and 1977, Janet Guthrie broke new ground in NASCAR’s premier series in this No. 68 Kelly Girl Chevrolet. In 1976 at Charlotte, she became the first woman to earn a starting spot in a superspeedway Cup race. She finished 15th.

A racing pioneer, Ray Fox wheeled his 1940 Ford on the modified circuit with other NASCAR forefathers. This 1940 “Fox Special” No. 7 Ford, was one of the first cars Fox raced on the hard-packed sands of Florida more than 60 years ago.

Wendell Scott reigned victorious at 128 races before scoring the victory for which he is most remembered – the only NASCAR win ever by an African-American driver. This 1940 Ford die-cast re-creates one of the cars Scott drove on dirt tracks throughout the Southeast when he was just getting started.

This “X” A&R Amusement 1940 Ford is one of the cars which gave Rex White his start in the racing world. White raced this Ford in the NASCAR Modified series at Darlington Raceway in 1955. He went on to win 28 races and clinch the 1960 championship in the NASCAR Grand National Series.

In 1979, Benny Parsons scored a career first in this No. 27 Chevrolet Monte Carlo owned by M.C. Anderson. The race was the Los Angeles Times 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway and Parsons led 56 laps before powering to the win in the NASCAR Cup Series season finale. The victory was his first at the California track.