From the Editor's Desk: Every now and then, we at The Podium Finish like to let our racing fans know about the latest happenings in the sport and that includes the collectables industry.

Whether you're a hardcore or new NASCAR fan, we are honored to have Michelle Fannin of Lionel NASCAR Collectables write an informational article about the newest line of die-casts that's hitting specialty stores real soon! Enjoy. - Rob Tiongson

When it comes to NASCAR die-cast, it sometimes seems like there’s not much new under the sun.

Today, the team at Lionel NASCAR Collectables (LNC) produces and distributes the die-cast of almost every car that takes the track.

However, flip back a few pages in the history books of NASCAR, and you’ll be surprised to find that the die-cast of several very important cars were never made.

That’s why the group at LNC is excited about NASCAR Classics - a brand-new line of NASCAR die-cast that pays homage to the sport’s roots, while giving long-time collectors exactly what they’ve been craving.

NASCAR Classics is a series of die-cast cars which recalls an era of unbreakable men, fast cars and scores that were settled on dusty ovals and white-hot asphalt.

The premier issue in this historic line is the No. 96 Cardinal Tractor Ford Torino – the car Dale Earnhardt drove to his first top 10 finish in 1978. 

In order to get the details of the car exactly right, LNC worked closely with Will Cronkrite, the owner of the car and also Earnhardt’s crew chief for the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Earnhardt took the wheel in an unexpected turn of events.

The car’s original driver had to be scratched after a run-in with Charlotte law enforcement. So, at the time, Cronkrite was afraid his new car would never even see the track.

“The television news was announcing that we didn’t have a driver,” said Cronkrite. “The news gentleman didn’t get those words out of his mouth before Dale called me on the telephone and said, ‘Can I drive that car?’”

Earnhardt drove Cronkrite’s Ford to a 17th place finish. He then went on to race the No. 96 three more times that year.

The tale of the No. 96 Cardinal Tractor die-cast is just one of the stories that the new NASCAR Classics line will bring to life.  LNC plans to introduce six NASCAR Classics die-cast per quarter.  A range of drivers will be featured and the era spans the 1940s to the late 1980s.

To find out more, be sure to follow Lionel NASCAR on Facebook and Twitter, and check out the NASCAR Classics page on the LNC site.

About the author: Michelle Fannin is the marketing/social media manager for Lionel NASCAR Collectables – the official die-cast of NASCAR.  She writes about NASCAR and NASCAR die-cast for LNC’s corporate blog and social media sites.